You hear about people getting pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and you look at them and think, “Why would someone drive after drinking?”
You never think you would ever be in that situation, but, if you are reading this, it is probably because you have been accused of DUI in Maryland. If so, you’ve realized that being arrested for DUI and/or DWI can happen to anyone. Whether you were not actually impaired or the police officer made mistakes during the arrest procedure, you will be subject to an aggressive prosecution and serious punishments upon conviction. That’s why choosing the right Maryland DUI attorney to defend you is critical.
The penalties people usually worry about after a DUI arrest in Maryland are hefty fines, imprisonment, and driver’s license suspension. Granted, not being able to drive can significantly impact your day-to-day life; however, those penalties are not the only measures that may be taken against a convicted DUI offender in Maryland. Effective October 1, 2016 if you are convicted of a DUI in Maryland you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a minimum of 6 months (for a first time DUI conviction), 1 year (for a second DUI conviction) or 3 years (for a 3rd of subsequent conviction).
What is an Ignition Interlock System?
According to Maryland Transportation Code Annotated § 27-107, an ignition interlock system is defined as a device that “connects a motor vehicle ignition system to a breath analyzer that measures a driver’s blood alcohol level,” with the purpose of preventing the vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level is over the calibrated setting on the device. You won’t be able to drive if the breath analyzer reads an unacceptable alcohol level.
Ignition Interlock Requirement
In addition to any other appropriate penalties for offenders who violate section § 21-902, effective October 1, 2016, the installation of an ignition interlock device is required for all drivers convicted of DUI in Maryland and may be imposed for drivers convicted of driving while impaired. Ignition Interlock systems are mandated for the following convictions:
- Driving While Under the Influence § 21-902 (a)
- Driving While Impaired while transporting a minor child under the age of 16 § 21-902(b) (2)
- Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while under the influence § 21-902
The installation of an ignition interlock device may also be a condition of probation in some instances. If you are ordered to use an ignition interlock device, you may have to do so for a maximum of three years and may not operate any vehicle not equipped with an interlock ignition system.
Furthermore, you will be responsible for paying the costs associated with buying or leasing, maintaining and monitoring the system, as well as arranging the semiannual monitoring of the system by an entity approved by the Administration.
Crimes Relating to the Ignition Interlock Devices
Having to use an ignition interlock system can be frustrating, but is necessary if ordered by the court. Should a person try to get around the system in any of the following ways, they may face additional penalties:
- Asking another (sober) person to start the vehicle;
- Starting the vehicle for a person required to use the device;
- Tampering with or circumventing the device, or attempting to do so; and
- Providing a vehicle without an ignition interlock system to a person required to use a vehicle equipped with one.
Avoiding Unnecessary Penalties
The installation of an ignition interlock device can have significant adverse effects on a person’s social and professional life. What if the system malfunctions? What if it is calibrated incorrectly and does not allow the car to start? What will your friends and family think? These questions and many more may be running through your head and an experienced Maryland DUI and DWI defense attorney can answer these questions and build a strong defense on your behalf.
The aggressive attorneys with Alpert Schreyer have successfully helped over 1,000 clients avoid unlawful DUI convictions and unnecessary penalties. We will investigate the details of your DUI arrest to determine whether an ignition interlock device is, in fact, excessive, or if it may be a viable option for reducing your charges. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at (866) 444-6363.