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Maryland Imposes Stricter Administrative Penalties for Drunk Driving

Noah's Law

Maryland Imposing Stricter Administrative Penalties for Drunk Driving – October 1, 2016

Starting October 1, 2016, Maryland will impose stricter administrative penalties if you are stopped and suspected of drinking and driving. Under ‘Noah’s Law’ named after Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta who was fatally struck and killed on December 3, 2015 by a drunk driver while on a DUI task force in Rockville, Maryland.

The new penalties will include longer periods of suspension or require driver’s that refuse to take a breath or blood test to participate in the Maryland Ignition Interlock Program.

Noah’s Law in Maryland

Under Noah’s Law and Maryland Transportation Article § 16-205 and § 16-205.1 the penalties increase if you are stopped or detained and the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you have been driving or attempting to drive while under the influence or impaired by alcohol, drugs, or controlled dangerous substance.

What is a test?

A test can be either a breath test or a blood test.

Why did the police office take my license?

If you refuse to submit with a test (breath of blood test), or you submitted to a test and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, then your Maryland driver’s license will be confiscated by the police officer. You will be issued an Order of Suspension, if you are eligible, and a temporary license will be issued. That temporary license will be valid for 45 days.

What happens if I refuse to take the breath test?

Refusal to take a breath or blood test in Maryland

If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, your privilege to drive will be suspended for 270 days for a 1st offense and 2 years for a 2nd or subsequent offense.

What happens if I take the breath test?

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Noah’s law

Test Results 0.08 but Less Than 0.15

If you take the breath or blood test and your alcohol concentration is at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 then your privilege to drive will be suspended for 180 days. You also have the right to request a MVA hearing for the purpose of requesting a modification of your suspension or a restricted license. There are no enhanced penalties for a 2nd or subsequent offense.

What happens if I kill someone in an accident?

Death and Test Result of 0.08 but Less Than 0.15

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in the death of another person and your alcohol concentration is at least 0.08 but less than 0.15, then your privilege to drive will be suspended for 6 months for a 1st offense and 1 year for a 2nd or subsequent offense.

What if I blow 0.15 or higher?

Test Result of 0.15 or higher

If your test result is an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, your privilege to drive will be suspended for 180 for a 1st offense. If your test result is 0.15 and it is your second or subsequent offense, then your privilege to drive will be suspended for 270 days. If you take a test and your result is 0.15 or higher, then  you will not be eligible for a modification of your suspension or an issuance of a restricted license, unless you participate in then Ignition Interlock Program under Maryland Transportation Article §16-404.1.

Death with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher

If you are involved in an accident that results in the death of another and your alcohol concentration is 0.15 or higher, then your privilege to drive will be suspended for 1 year for a 1st offense and your license will be revoked for a 2nd or subsequent offense.

Refusal to Take a Breath or Blood Test

What if I refuse to take the breath or blood test?

If you refuse to take the breath or blood test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 270 days for a 1st offense and 2 years for a second or subsequent offense.  You will also be ineligible for a modification of your suspension or an issuance of a restricted license, unless you participate in then Ignition Interlock Program under Maryland Transportation Article §16-404.1.

CDL and the Administrative Penalties for Drunk Driving in Maryland

What if I have a CDL but not driving a Commercial Vehicle when stopped for drunk driving?

If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and were driving a non-commercial motor vehicle when you were stopped, and you refuse to submit to a test, your CDL or privilege shall be disqualified for 1 year for a 1st offense or for life if your CDL or privilege has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year under Maryland Transportation Article §16-812 (a) or (b), a federal law, or any other state’s law.

What if I am driving a commercial motor vehicle?

If you were operating a commercial motor vehicle and your test result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or if you refuse to submit to a test, your commercial driver’s license or privilege shall be disqualified for a period of 1 year for a 1st offense, 3 years for a 1st offense committed while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, and disqualified for life if your commercial driver’s license has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year and/or you have incurred 2 offenses of Maryland Transportation Article §16-812 (a) or (b), a federal law, or any substantially similar offense(s) under any other state’s law.

What else can happen if I refuse to take the test?

If you are convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense under Maryland Transportation Article §21-902, and the Judge or jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly refused to take a test of breath arising out of the same circumstances, an additional criminal penalty of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months, or both, may be imposed under Maryland Transportation Article §27-101 (x).

Can the Judge make the participate in the Ignition Interlock (“blow and go”) Program?

If you are convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense under Maryland Transportation Article §21-902 (b) or (c), and the Judge or jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly refused to take a test of breath arising out of the same circumstances, the Court shall require you, under Maryland Transportation Article §27-107.1, to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for 1 year pursuant to Maryland Transportation Article §16-404.1.

 

Action 1st Offense 2nd or Subsequent Offense
Alcohol Concentration 0.07 or less No adiminstrative action No administrative action
Refuse to submit to a test 270 day suspension – ineligible for suspension modification or restricted license 2 year suspension – ineligible for suspension modification or restricted license
Alcohol Concentration at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 180 day suspension – eligible for suspension modification or restricted license 180 day suspension – eligible for suspension modification or restricted license
Alcohol Concentration at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 resulting in death of another 6 month suspension – eligible for suspension modification or restricted license 1 year suspension – eligible for suspension modification or restricted license
Alcohol Concentration of 0.15 or more 180 day suspension – ineligible for suspension modification or restricted license 270 day suspension – ineligible for suspension modification or restricted license
Alcohol Concentration of 0.15 or more resulting in death of another 1 year suspension – ineligible for suspension modification or restricted license revoked license – ineligible for suspension modification or restricted license

MVA Hearings

Can I request a MVA Hearing?

You may request an Administrative Hearing at any time within 30 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to show cause why your driver’s license or privilege should not be suspended. You must request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to ensure that your privilege to drive is not suspended prior to your hearing.

How do I request an MVA Hearing?

Your request for a hearing must be made in writing. You may use the “Hearing Request” form if available. Send your request to:

Office of Administrative Hearings
11101 Gilroy Rd.
Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301.

How much do I have to pay for a MVA hearing?

You must include a check or money order for $150.00, which is the required filing fee, made payable to the “Maryland State Treasurer.” Your request for a hearing will be invalid if submitted without the required $150.00 filing fee or applicable fee waiver.

What if I don’t request a hearing?

Your driver’s license or privilege will be suspended on the 46th day after the Order of Suspension if you do not request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension or, if eligible, you do not elect within 30 days of the Order of Suspension to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program.

Can I start my suspension early?

In order to receive credit for the suspension, you must surrender your driver’s license or certify that you no longer have the license in your possession. If you submit a valid hearing request, a suspension will not be imposed unless a decision is rendered against you, or if you fail to appear for the hearing.

How Do I participate in the Ignition Interlock Program?

Instead of requesting a hearing or upon the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, you may elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program if the following conditions are met:

  1. Your driver’s license is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused; and
  2. Within 30 days of the date of this Order of Suspension you
    1. elect in writing to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for 1 year if your test resulted in an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more or you refused the test or 6 months if your test resulted in an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15; and
    2. surrender a valid Maryland driver’s license or sign a statement certifying that the license is no longer in your possession.

An Ignition Interlock Election form is located on the reverse side of the driver’s copy of the Order of Suspension that you received from the police officer.

Attorney Randolph Rice is the owner of the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, a Maryland DUI/DWI defense attorney. If you have questions about your drunk driving arrest or the Administrative penalties, call the office at 410.288.2900 for immediate legal help.

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