Thursday, March 19, 2015

Proposed Drunk Driving Bill in Maryland Would Include Stiffer Penalties

             Legislation has been proposed in the Maryland General Assembly that would toughen restrictions for people convicted of driving under the influence (DUI).  Several committee members (14 of 22) have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.  If the bill were to pass, it would require all those drivers convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or more to use an ignition interlock device in order to start their vehicles.  Current Maryland law only requires drivers convicted of a DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or more to use the breathalyzer device before starting their car.

             Unfortunately, this bill was on the list of legislation to be voted on Tuesday night, but “was removed without explanation.”  In order for the bill to pass, it would need to pass out of committee, which seems less likely at this point.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advocates thought the bill had a strong chance of passing because of the support of so many members as co-sponsors. 

             A drunk driving law with such tough penalties is quite common.  Twenty-one other states include mandatory use of ignition interlock devices for all drivers convicted of a DUI, regardless of the BAC.  Maryland’s Judiciary Committee Chairman Delegate Joseph F. Vallario Jr. believes the state “does not…need to toughen the state’s ignition-lock program.”  Vallario thinks, “We’ve done enough with that…We have one of the best [ignition-lock] programs in the country, and we think it works well.”

              If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI it is important that you consult an experienced Maryland DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal. 

            If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 or visit us on the web at

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