The use of ignition interlock devices in DUI and DWI cases has increased across the country. Under a recent law, Maryland has increased the use of the Ignition Interlock Program for those facing driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) charges. The Ignition Interlock Program is monitored by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).
WHAT IS AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE?
An ignition interlock device is basically a breathalyzer that connects to your vehicle’s ignition system. The driver blows into the mouthpiece, and the device measures the driver’s breath alcohol content (BrAC) and prevents a vehicle’s ignition from starting if the driver’s BrAC is over a calibrated setting. In Maryland, the calibrated setting is .025%. The device may also ask for a random test while the vehicle is being driven. These retests can be taken while the vehicle is in motion.
VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION IN THE IGNITION INTERLOCK PROGRAM
A driver can elect to participate in the Maryland Ignition Interlock Program rather than have his or her license suspended. Drivers who choose to participate in the program will be enrolled for:
- 180 days if their BrAC was greater than .08% and less than .15%
- 1 year for a BrAC of .15% or higher
- 1 year for refusal to take a breathalyzer test
REQUIRED PARTICIPATION IN THE IGNITION INTERLOCK PROGRAM
Drivers are required to participate in Maryland’s program for the following convictions:
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while impaired while transporting a minor under the age of 16
- Driving while impaired with an initial breathalyzer test refusal
- If there is a homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle involving a DUI or DWI
In addition, drivers under the age of 21 who violated Maryland’s zero-tolerance alcohol policy will be required to participate in the program.
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE IN THE IGNITION INTERLOCK PROGRAM?
Within 30 days of being ordered to participate in the program or opting in, you must take your vehicle to an MVA authorized provider to have the ignition interlock device installed. You are responsible for the cost of the installation. The provider will then give you instructions on how to use the device. You will have to return to the provider every 30 days to have the device calibrated and the data downloaded.
WHAT IF I VIOLATE THE TERMS OF THE IGNITION INTERLOCK PROGRAM?
Participants who are found to have violated any of the Program conditions may be removed from the I Program, and the MVA will impose the full period of license suspension.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED MARYLAND DUI ATTORNEY
If you’ve been arrested for DUI or DWI and are wondering if you should participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, you should contact a lawyer for advice. The experienced lawyers at Alpert Schreyer are here to help you get the best outcome in your case. Contact us online or call us at (301) 321-7277 to schedule a free consultation.