Last year, a police officer in Maryland lost his life when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver. In reaction to this occurrence, the legislature successfully set out to increase the drunk driving laws and requirements for offenders. This past May, Governor Hogan signed the Drunk Driving Reduction Act into law for the state of Maryland and the law officially went into effect on October 1, 2016. The law is also known as “Noah’s Law” after the police officer who was killed.
What does this new law mean for drivers in Maryland? It means that there will be stricter requirements regarding ignition interlock devices for DUI offenders, as well as longer periods of immediate driver’s license suspension if you refuse or fail a chemical alcohol test.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Requirements
If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), causing life-threatening or fatal injuries during a DUI, or driving while impaired (DWI) with a child in the car, you will be subject to the new IID requirements. These requirements include:
- First conviction – Six months
- Second conviction – One year
- Third and additional convictions – Three years
- Conviction after a refusal – One year
While you are in the IID program, you will only be allowed to drive vehicles that are outfitted with a state-approved device on the ignition. This device will take a breath sample that must be alcohol-free before the car will start and will require samples as you drive. The offender will be responsible for the costs of installing and maintaining the IID. To be discharged from the IID program, you must avoid any violations for the three final months.
If you refuse or fail a chemical test for alcohol, you will now immediately be subject to the following periods of driver’s license suspension (regardless of conviction):
- Test Refusal – 270 days (previously 120 days)
- BAC of 0.08 to 0.14 – 180 days (previously 45 days)
- BAC of 0.15 or higher – 180 days (previously 90 days)