This past session of the Maryland Legislature passed several bills which seriously impact one’s driving privilege and license. Maryland is already a comparatively tough state in regard to drunk driving. The new bills have been signed by Governor Hogan and became law on October 1, 2016. The legislature wants citizens who are arrested for alcohol or drug related violations to take the breath or blood tests. Previously, the sanction was fairly stiff for a refusal. A first refusal mandated a 120 day license suspension. Now the suspension has taken a giant leap to 270 days. A second refusal previously mandated a one year suspension. That has ballooned to two years.
The ignition interlock system was an option for a refusal. It had to be installed for one year for a refusal. The one year interlock as an alternative was standard. However, now a second refusal mandates two years of the interlock. A breath or blood test showing a .08 to .15 reading required a 45 day suspension. That has now leaped to 180 days. A reading of over .15 mandated a 90 day suspension. That now is 270 days. The interlock is still an option for these readings, and the time for its installment has been modified to 180 days for the .08 to .15 reading and 270 days for above .15.
Perhaps the greatest change in these laws is reflected in the imposition of the interlock for any conviction of driving while under the influence or driving while impaired. The interlock is also mandated for homicide by automobile, while the driver was impaired or under the influence. First offenders are required to have the interlock for 6 months. Second offenders are required to have same for one year. For a third or subsequent offender, the requirement is a staggering three years. So our advice at Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell is don’t drink and drive, and don’t do drugs. If you are charged, call us. We’re here to help you. It’s now more critical than ever to have competent representation for these offenses, both at trial and at the Administrative Law hearings.