Drunk driving is a relatively common criminal offense that leads to thousands of fatalities each year. In 2016, the CDC reported 10,497 people were killed in accidents involving alcohol across the United States. Authorities have been trying to curb drunk driving ever since they realized that drinking and driving don’t mix. In 1969, the Borg-Warner corporation conceptualized the ignition interlock device, and today, it is a widespread tool for reducing drunk driving fatalities.
Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program intends to make the roads safer for everyone who uses them. These devices allow alcohol offenders serving penalties for their offenses to continue to live their lives while protecting other road users. A District Court Judge, Circuit Court Judge, Administrative Law Judge, or the Medical Advisory Board of the MVA may order individuals to install ignition interlock devices. These entities turn to ignition interlock devices as alternatives to suspending or revoking driver’s licenses.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Baltimore, you may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) as part of administrative procedures following a DUI or as part of your criminal sentence upon a conviction. If you’ve been ordered to install an IID in your vehicle, there’s considerable information you need to know about these devices and how they will impact your personal freedom.
IIDs work relatively simply. Once a professional installs the device in your vehicle, you will not be able to activate the car until you submit a clean breath sample. The IID will require a clean breath sample every time you start your vehicle, and the car will not move until it reads your BAC. By law, your BAC may not exceed 0.08% when driving a vehicle. However, to activate an IID in Maryland, your BAC must not exceed 0.025% – well below the legal limit.
While you’re driving with your IID, the device may randomly request breath samples on your journey. Repeated requests for samples serve two purposes: to ensure you did not use another person’s breath to start your vehicle and to ensure you are not drinking while driving your car.
It’s important to note that these devices are highly-sensitive pieces of equipment that can tell the difference between a person’s breath and air from a can. Some also come with cameras that record drivers blowing into them to verify their identity. IIDs in Maryland detect attempts to bypass the BAC test or other forms of non-compliance, so it’s best to avoid attempts to tamper with or deactivate these devices.
Typically, the courts do not order IIDs for a first DUI; however, judges may use their discretion when issuing penalties. The Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 (Noah’s Law) mandates IIDs for impaired drivers convicted of certain offenses and expanded the scope of offenders who must participate. In Maryland, you may be required to use an IID under the following circumstances:
In DUI cases where the driver’s BAC exceeded 0.15 or the driver refused a BAC test, Administrative Law Judges may order the use of an IID in place of a license suspension. Drivers who commit homicide or inflict life-threatening injuries with their vehicles while under the influence must also participate in the Ignition Interlock Program.
After receiving an order from the MVA or the court to install an IID, you must locate a trained, state-approved professional to install the device. Just a few private companies manufacture these devices, and the State of Maryland does not issue them. You will need to cover all the costs associated with your IID.
Some of these costs may include:
Generally, installing an IID in Maryland may cost $150–$200. You will need to factor in monthly fees for calibration and data retention. Monthly calibration may cost between $60 and $100, depending on the service provider.
Drivers participating in the Maryland IID Program due to a criminal matter must report for their 30-day check ups for the duration of their sentence. Failure to do so may cause you to be terminated from the program, which may lead to a license suspension or revocation.
If you’re facing the possibility of being sentenced to install an IID, the potential costs and setbacks can create unnecessary stress and hurt your finances. Find out how to challenge DUI charges in Maryland with the help of a skilled defense lawyer.
Attorney Hillel Traub of The Law Offices of Hillel Traub has provided competent criminal defense for traffic offenses like DUIs for more than 25 years. Having served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, he knows what tactics they will use to strip you of your driving privilege. For a free consultation, call (410) 580-1100 or complete our contact form.