Noah’s law is named after former Montgomery County police officer Noah Leotta. Officer Leotta was 24 years old when he was working a DUI special task force in Montgomery County Maryland on December 3, 2015. Officer Leotta was in the process of stopping another vehicle and returning to his police car when he was struck and killed by Luis Gustavo Reluzco.
Mr. Reluzco had been drinking and smoking marijuana prior to the accident that killed Noah Leotta. Because of this accident that killed officer Noah Leotta, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2015. The Act, was named in Noah’s honor and intended to reduce drunk driving fatalities as well as DUI and DWI incidents throughout Maryland.
The teeth of the Act expanded the Maryland Ignition Interlock Program. The law was codified under Senate Bill 945 and signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on May 19th 2016. Noah’s law took effect on October 1st 2016.
The law requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for convicted drunk drivers in situations where they were found guilty of driving under the influence, driving while impaired while transporting a minor under the age of 16, or homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while driving under the influence or driving while impaired.
In addition, it requires the length of time a driver’s license is suspended if they refuse to submit to a breath or blood test as well as if the driver takes a test and returns a result of .15 or higher.
What Does Noah’s Law Say?
Under Senate bill 945 the Maryland legislature stated that the motor vehicle administration is required to order an individual to participate in the ignition interlock system program for specified periods of time if they’re convicted of DUI or related offences. In addition, it increases the suspension for the driver’s license of a person who has refused or has certain blood alcohol content results after a test he’s given.
It also increase the advice of rights that a police officer must give to individuals who have been arrested for drunk driving. The language enacted by the legislature can be found in Maryland Transportation article 16-205.
How has Noah’s law changed the administrative penalties?
Under Maryland’s previous administrative penalties if an individual took a breath test and blew a .08 -.14 for a first offense their license would have been suspended for 45 days. Under Noah’s law, the suspension increases to 180 days.
Previously for a first offense if an individual or driver returned a blood alcohol content of .15 or above their driver’s license privilege would have been suspended for 90 days. Noah’s law increases that suspension to 180 days as of October 1st 2016.
If a driver suspected of drunk driving refuse to take a test under the previous law their license and privilege would been have been suspended for 120 days, but now under Noah’s Law their license and privileges are suspended for 270 days for a first offense.
For a second or subsequent offense of a blood alcohol content of .08 -.14 for the previous suspension would have lasted for 90 days, but the new suspension is 180 days. For a second or subsequent drunk driving arrest with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or more, the previous law would have suspended driver’s license 180 days but now increases to 270 days for a second or subsequent offense.
Previously before Noah’s law, if a driver refused to take a test for a second or subsequent offense their license would have been suspended for one year but now under Noah’s law the suspension is 2 years for a second or subsequent offense.
While the statistics have not been released yet since October 1st 2016, there has been a slight decrease in the total number of crashes in Maryland from 2011 to 2015. However, there was an increase in impaired driving fatal crashes from 2014 to 2015 where it reached a peak of 160 deaths in Maryland.
Most of the impaired driving crashes from 2011 to 2015 were in the Baltimore metropolitan area accounting for 46.2% of all crashes. The Washington Metro Area came in second with 35% of the drunk driving crashes and 18.8% were in other areas throughout Maryland. A staggering figure in Maryland is that one out of two impaired drivers were between the ages of 21 and 39 years old.
Maryland, like all other states have been battling drunk driving and impaired driving for years. With stiffer penalties and increased patrols by law enforcement, Maryland General Assembly as well as policymakers like MADD are fighting to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the Maryland roads.
How a DUI lawyer Can Help
Noah’s law is intended to reduce the number of drunk driving and driving while impaired incidents throughout Maryland. It will be interesting to see if the enhanced penalties and requirement of the ignition interlock will deter individuals from getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink or ingesting an illegal substance.
The consequence of losing your license or having your license suspended can be devastating on your ability to work and take care of your family. If you have been arrested for drunk driving and are concerned about the administrative penalties you may face, including Noah’s law, then you need a DUI lawyer by your side advising and guiding you as to the best course of action.
The outcome of a motor vehicle administration suspension and your appearance before a judge or jury may have long-term negative consequences on your life. This is why it is so important and essential that you hire a lawyer to protect and defend your rights and your driver’s license after a drunk driving arrest.