Criminal Attorneys Aren't Just for Criminals

What Maryland's Noah's Law Means For People Convicted Of DUIs

by Eva Holmes

In December 2015, a Maryland police officer was killed when a drunk driver ran into him while he was standing on the side of the road after making a traffic stop. Since then, the state government passed a billed called Noah's Law that requires anyone convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles. Here's more information about this development and what it means for defendants in DUI cases.

First-Time Convictions Included

In the past, IIDs were only required for people who had been convicted of driving under the influence if their blood alcohol level was over 0.15. Additionally, people could opt to have an IID installed on their vehicles as a way of avoiding having their licenses suspended or revoked because of a DUI.

However, the new law—which goes into effect on October 1, 2016—requires all drivers convicted of driving under the influence to have these devices placed in their vehicles, regardless of whether it's the first time they've been convicted or the fifth. People who refuse to chemical testing will also be required to install IIDs.

The length of time a person is required to participate in the program will vary according to the number of convictions, however. First-time offenders will only be sentenced to use an IID for 6 months, while second-time offenders must be in the program a minimum of 1 year. Third and subsequent offenses require defendants to have IIDs for 3 years.

People who refuse to take a breathalyzer or chemical test would have their licenses suspended for 270 days instead of the current 120 days. The only way to avoid the suspension is to register for the ignition interlock device program.

Other people who may be required to enter the IID program include individuals who drive while impaired with minor children in the vehicle and those who cause life-threatening injuries or death in accidents.

You are Required to Pay

If the court sentences you to having the device installed in your vehicle, you will be responsible for paying all costs associated with it. Exact prices vary depending on the provider you contract with, but you can expect to pay up to $150 for installation and up to $80 per month for maintenance. You will also be required to pay to have your license updated to reflect that you can only drive vehicles with IIDs installed.

Every vehicle you drive must be outfitted with this device or you'll have to restrict yourself to only driving one car or truck. This means that if you drive for a living (e.g. truck driver), your ability to do your job may be negatively impacted.

States are increasingly finding ways to increase the severity of punishment levied against people who face drunk driving charges. The only way around these consequences is to avoid being convicted or negotiate an alternative charge with the prosecutor. For assistance with handling a DUI case, contact a DUI charge attorney.