What is Worse Than a Maryland Aggravated DUI?

maryland aggravated DUIDrunk driving is always bad, but laws distinguish between a simple DUI and drunk driving that is much more serious. Maryland aggravated DUI law picks up where the simple penalties leave off: from fines, court costs, and mandatory ignition interlock requirements to incarceration, probation, and other consequences.

Maryland aggravated DUI penalties occur when an offender:

  • Drives under the influence with a child passenger present.
  • Causes injury or death to another as a result of the DUI.
  • Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or higher.
  • Is a habitual DUI offender.

In many cases a first-offense DUI in which the driver has a BAC of .15 percent or higher results in the most restrictive penalties, even if no injuries or property damage occurs. All DUI offenses have a mandatory interlock requirement, but the requirement can be extended for a longer time due to aggravating circumstances.

If there is a child passenger present at the time of a DUI, even with a low BAC, the driver will face Maryland aggravated DUI charges. On top of that, the driver could also be charged with child endangerment.  Habitual DUI offenders face aggravated charges simply because of their inability or refusal to drive sober, despite previous convictions and consequences.

Things can always be worse until they actually are at their worst. A DUI is nothing to blow off and making a choice to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking puts lives at risk each day. The legal consequences for a Maryland aggravated DUI are nothing in comparison to the real-world reality of causing someone’s death. As frustrating as it can be to find a safe ride home when drinking, the alternative is nothing less than asking for a lifetime of aggravation, regret, and possible loss of freedom.

Why You Need an IID after a Maryland DUI or DWI

IID and driving after a Maryland DUI or DWIThe state of Maryland is tough on drivers who drive under the influence. One way that they go above and beyond is that they have two types of charges: a Maryland DUI and a Maryland DWI. They two are distinct from one another, and depend on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the offender.

A DWI is issued if your BAC is .04 – .08% and you were exhibiting signs of impaired driving. A Maryland DWI carries penalties including jail time, fines, license suspension, and an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement. While a DWI conviction will negatively impact your life, it’s nothing compared to the penalties associated with a DUI.

A Maryland DUI carries stiffer penalties, as your BAC is higher at .08% or higher. The following penalties apply to a Maryland DUI:

  • First Offense: up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, license suspended for 6 months. Ignition interlock device is only required if your BAC was over .15%
  • Second Offense: minimum 5 days up to two years in jail, fines up to $2,000, license suspended for a year followed by 3-12 months of an ignition interlock device (IID), alcohol education and treatment required
  • Third Offense: up to 3 years in jail, fines up to $3,000, license suspended for 18 months followed by the installation of an ignition interlock device

If you’ve been convicted of a Maryland DUI, the following steps can be taken to gain a restricted use license:

  1. Call the Maryland Medical Advisory Board’s Driver Wellness and Safety Division to determine if you are eligible for a restricted license.
  2. If you’re eligible, the MVD will issue you a document authorizing the installation of an ignition interlock device.
  3. Make an appointment and take your certificate to have your ignition interlock device installed.
  4. After your device is installed they will sign your certificate, return it to the MVD to be issued your restricted license.

These are the consequences of drinking and driving. Not only will it consume part of your life and your money, it will consume your time and restrict your movement. Don’t forget to report for regular monitoring once you’ve completed these steps; so that you don’t end up losing the privilege of driving again.

The Total Cost of Your Second Maryland DUI

Second Maryland DUIIn 2016 Maryland passed Noah’s Law, strengthening drunk driving consequences by requiring an ignition interlock for first offense DUI convictions. While some find all-offender ignition interlock policies to be too strict, the benefit is obvious: avoiding a second Maryland DUI.

A second Maryland DUI means serious consequences, not to mention the time involved in getting your life back together after a drunk driving incident.

If you have more than one Maryland DUI conviction within five years:

  • You will face $2,000 in fines.
  • You could be in prison for up to two years (five-day minimum).
  • The state will designate you as a repeat offender.
  • Your license will be suspended for one year.
  • You may be ordered into an alcohol abuse assessment and program.
  • You will have a one-year ignition interlock requirement.

Once you receive your notice to install the ignition interlock, you can request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration in order to reinstate your license. Just be sure you do so immediately, as you only have 15 days to request the hearing.

A second Maryland DUI will cost you 12 points on your license, the same threshold that is used to revoke your license administratively. Even if your court hearing for your DUI is dismissed or delayed, the only way to reinstate your license through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MDMVA) is to install an ignition interlock device. If you wish to drive after your DUI, you will need an interlock.

Obviously, the best way to avoid any sort of trouble with the court, the MDMVA, and an ignition interlock requirement is to never drive if you have been drinking. Maryland has several options for anyone who may have had one too many for the road, all of which are available to keep you safe from your own poor judgment if you have been drinking.

When Do I Need a Maryland Ignition Interlock?

Maryland Ignition InterlockAll DUI offenders convicted in court are required to install a Maryland ignition interlock. What can vary is the length of time an offender must install and maintain an interlock. Your Maryland ignition interlock requirement will depend on:

  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the DUI offender at the time of arrest.
  • Any prior drunk driving convictions (in Maryland or other states).
  • Other “aggravating” DUI/DWI circumstances like reckless driving or property damage.
  • If children were passengers in the vehicle during the DUI.
  • The accumulation of “points” on a license that indicates other traffic offenses.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MDMVA) also has an administrative license revocation (ALR) policy that requires an ignition interlock device to reinstate driving privileges. The ALR helps an alleged offender facing DUI or DWI charges get their affairs in order and continue moving forward, despite the fallout from their decision to drink and drive. In Maryland you can actually skip your administrative hearing if you go ahead and install the interlock and provide proof to the DMV.

In some cases you may need an ignition interlock as part of your job. If you are a minor, your parents could insist on the device as well.

Maryland is one of a majority of U.S. states that require an ignition interlock for all drunk driving convictions. MADD reports that in a 10-year period Maryland ignition interlock devices prevented 42,163 drunk driving attempts, with 5,635 of those in 2016 alone. While nobody looks forward to an interlock, the reality is that if we cannot make safe choices before heading out for a night of drinking, we will have no choice but to blow to go.

Do You Know Your Maryland DUI Limit?

Maryland DUI limitIf you’ve ever chanced your own Maryland DUI limit, you know the struggle. Too many times, we are faced with leaving our car at a bar so we know we have a safe ride home or taking our life (and the lives of others) in our own intoxicated hands. When we begin to question our DUI limit, we should probably just go ahead and call a taxi or a friend for a safe ride home. Unfortunately, impaired judgment is rarely clear. If you knew how you acted and felt at a certain BAC, would you make a better choice? Maryland seems to think so.

This month, Maryland took its “know your limit” campaign to the streets to allow people to test their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before making the decision to drive home… or not. The legal limit for a Maryland DUI is .08 percent BAC, but do you know how you act at that limit? What about .05 percent, or .15 percent? Wouldn’t that information give you the insight you need to make that “safe ride” call?

Maryland has two different drunk driving designations, DWI for drivers with a BAC between .04 – .08 percent, DUI for drivers at or above .08 percent BAC.

The Maryland DUI awareness campaign educates residents to help curb drunk driving. It allows that question we all ask, “am I okay to drive?” to be answered in a way that doesn’t end with a night in jail or much worse circumstances. Maryland has been focused on DUI limits, drunk driving prevention and ignition interlock expansion in the past few years, yet like the rest of the US, those numbers keep rising. By educating everyone about the risks of DUI and allowing the understanding that a buzz may actually mean more than we think, the state is going the extra mile to prevent further drunk driving incidents.

Get Back to Driving After a Maryland DUI

Driving after a Maryland DUINobody expects a DUI in their future, but after a few drinks with friends, we can all make a bad choice. When you have a Maryland DUI, you’re already looking at tough fines and court costs, and even an ignition interlock device you never wanted. Keep in mind that interlock is how you’re getting back to driving after a Maryland DUI.

Last year, Maryland expanded ignition interlock access for all drunk driving offenders. That means more offenders have a chance to keep their obligations in line. It also means that Maryland may see DUI fatalities decrease by up to 15 percent. That may be especially important this year, as it seems DUI fatalities are on the rise across the U.S. What prevents a drunk driver from hitting the road while intoxicated? Ignition interlock devices.

That law was named after an officer who was killed by a Maryland DUI driver, a tragedy that continues to occur in the state.

This year, Maryland DUI laws may see more changes, including an increase in penalties for those who cause physical injury to others during the course of a drunk driving incident. While the rising number of national DUI incidents is alarming, the pushback for stronger laws is being seen in Maryland, and across the U.S.

You probably don’t want an ignition interlock, but the device and your Maryland DUI is a wake-up call to make better decisions when drinking. We all have those moments when we wonder if we’re too drunk to drive. If you really are in a situation where you’re wondering about your own ability to drive safely, do everyone a favor and find a safe way home.

Ready to show your support for stronger Maryland DUI laws? Contact your local legislators today and support efforts to increase safety across the state!

Refusing the Maryland Breathalyzer

refusing the Maryland breathalyzerWhen you’re sitting at a DUI traffic stop, you may think refusing the breath test will buy you time and allow your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to drop. But in Maryland, refusing the breathalyzer test is just going to increase your DUI penalties, and it will certainly not take the spotlight off of you and your dangerous driving.

A first-time refusal of BAC testing in Maryland means you will have a 270-day driver’s license suspension. That’s a long time to be without access to your own vehicle, and that suspension can have an impact on your employment and other responsibilities you have in life. Maryland wants you to recover from your DUI and allows you to opt for an ignition interlock installation instead of waiting out the suspension. With the interlock, you are able to drive again, but you have to prove your sobriety as you do so.

Not everyone knows that information offhand, and if we’ve been drinking, we may think we can outsmart the officer and get our BAC to a reasonable level. However, ignorance of the implied consent laws of Maryland won’t factor into you refusing the breathalyzer. Those implied consent laws were part of the paperwork you agreed to when applying for your license. You agreed to provide a BAC sample to law enforcement if you were suspected of drinking and driving. Refusing that during a traffic stop is a big indicator that you were drinking and driving.

Refusing a Maryland breathalyzer just leads to more trouble.

Rewind to the moment you had a choice in whether you’d be stopped for drinking and driving: that first step outside your door. You could have made a choice then to have a plan for a safe ride home. You wouldn’t have to worry about refusing a breathalyzer, and you’d be in the clear and back in your own bed, rather than dealing with the aftermath of a DUI.

Got Maryland Ignition Interlock Device Violations?

Maryland ignition interlock violations2016 was a big year for Maryland ignition interlock law. The state expanded interlock access for all DWI offenders, even if it was a first-time incident. That shows how reliable the devices are, and why it is so important to make sure you don’t have any test failures or violations. That and the big consequences you face for those violations and failures.

Every month you are required to have your Maryland ignition interlock device calibrated by your service provider. The data that your device records is transmitted to your program supervisor or probation officer, and then onto the court. That data shows:

  • Your breath alcohol concentration (BAC) for every startup and rolling retest.
  • Any attempts to tamper with or circumvent the device.
  • How many times you used the device, in case your pattern of driving indicates that you are driving another vehicle without an interlock installed.

Any Maryland ignition interlock test failures that result from your BAC are considered violations in the program. Each BAC violation increases the time you are required to have the device by one month. If you incur four BAC violations with your device, you’ll be removed from the program and your driver’s license will be suspended. You will not have your license restored until you serve out the original suspension time associated with your DWI, so there will be no reduction of the suspension period, even if you were a month away from having your device removed compliantly.

None of that is worth the hassle when you can just continue to drive sober and remain committed to your DWI recovery. Considering how you ended up with an ignition interlock in the first place, avoiding test failures shouldn’t be difficult, and once you’ve mastered how to use the device, the rest is just a matter of time before you regain all of your freedom back.

A Maryland Ignition Interlock Device without a DUI?

Maryland ignition interlock without a DUIMaryland has long been battling drunk driving and other alcohol-related crimes within the state. This year, in fact, the state enacted one of the toughest all-offender ignition interlock policies in the U.S., joining the majority of the nation in standing up against drunk drivers who may try to repeat past mistakes.

Maryland may not be stopping there, however, at least not where ignition interlock requirements are concerned. A prosecuting attorney in Montgomery County, Maryland, may also be pushing the devices for crimes in which alcohol was a factor, but driving any type of vehicle was not.

Studies show that a DUI isn’t the only crime that people commit when they’ve been drinking. Alcohol is a factor many crimes, including:

  • Domestic violence
  • Property crimes (vandalism, destruction of property)
  • Sexual assault
  • Other violent crimes

80 percent of criminals in prison have abused drugs or alcohol in the past, with 50 percent thought to be addicted. Upon arrest, 60 percent of criminals test positive for alcohol or drugs.

Much like the influence alcohol has on a person’s decision to drive, alcohol makes it seem “okay” to go against the law in other areas. As the common thread in all of that is alcohol, the Maryland prosecutor’s call for ignition interlock devices may not be overstepping. If nothing else, people could think twice about any sort of criminal behavior if they are aware that an ignition interlock could be awaiting them once they’ve had their day in court.

Ignition interlock devices have shown to reduce the number of repeat drunk incidents up to 90% of the time in some areas, making them an effective deterrent and tool for keeping the streets safe. We can only hope that if the devices are used in other types of criminal consequences, the results will reflect a similar and reassuring pattern of safety.

Driving on a Suspended License in MD

Driving on a Suspended License in MDAny type of Maryland DUI will lead to a suspended license, even a first offense. Refusing a breathalyzer during a DUI stop will lead to a suspended license in Maryland, too. As of October 1, 2016, under all DUI circumstances, you’ll also have an ignition interlock requirement on top of the suspension and any other administrative or judicial consequences.

The new ignition interlock requirement for all DUI drivers shows that Maryland is serious about preventing any further incidents while allowing an offender the freedom to keep themselves employed or fulfilling household and family obligations.

  • If an offender does not install the device, they are in violation of their conviction and will face further consequences from the court.
  • If an offender is caught driving without an ignition interlock device, those consequences will increase.
  • If an offender is caught driving under the influence without an ignition interlock device, it is likely that they will lose any and all freedoms bestowed upon them by the court and face jail time, more fines and other penalties.

Under Noah’s Law, if you are not compliant with your ignition interlock requirement in any of the above situations, you will have your license suspended indefinitely, unless you complete the program. It should also be noted that “under the influence” can mean alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. That means that if you are convicted of a DUI that is the result of illegal, prescription or over-the-counter medications, you’ll still have an ignition interlock requirement.

With an ignition interlock device, you have the chance to prove your commitment to sober driving each and every day. Maryland took a stand for the victims of drunk drivers by passing this new legislation. While an interlock may be an inconvenience, it does allow a lot more freedom than a suspended license will, and it shows that you are serious about never repeating mistakes from your past.

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