To reduce the number of drunk drivers on Maryland’s roads, our state launched a program that uses technology to stop DUIs before they happen. The Maryland Ignition Interlock Program places a device on someone’s vehicle to prevent them from driving if they’ve been drinking.
Since the program was introduced, there have been many misconceptions about how it works. We’d like to share some information about ignition interlock devices from the perspective of a Maryland DUI attorney.
Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program for DUI/DWI
When you’re pulled over for DUI/DWI in Maryland, you could end up with an ignition interlock device on your car even while your charges are still pending. A police officer can take away your driver’s license and give you a temporary license called a DR15A.
At this point, you can either request a hearing and wait for it to occur or you can immediately join the Ignition Interlock Program. We strongly advise you not to make this decision until you speak to an experienced DUI/DWI attorney and understand the consequences of this choice.
The ignition interlock device itself works a bit like a breathalyzer that the police use for roadside traffic stops. You breathe into it and if it detects any alcohol, it locks up your ignition and prevents your car from operating. Even if the device allows you to drive, it can still request random tests while you’re driving to prevent you from drinking in transit or having someone else blow into it for you.
Driving With the Ignition Interlock Device on Your Vehicle
It might seem simple enough to agree to have the ignition interlock device installed and keep driving. After all, you want to be able to get to work, the grocery store, your kids’ activities, and so forth.
But the decision isn’t so simple. First of all, you’ll be required to pay for all costs associated with the ignition interlock device while it’s installed on your vehicle. This could amount to hundreds of dollars.
You’ll also be required to work with a service provider and keep the device properly calibrated on your vehicle, which may involve numerous visits to a location where calibrations and repairs take place. Do anything wrong in this process, and the service provider will report you to the state of Maryland.
All of your interactions with the device are recorded and shared with the authorities, who may use this information to make future decisions about your driver’s license status and criminal charges. For example, if the device thinks you were trying to tamper with it or provide false information, this could interfere with your ability to drive – or even stay out of jail – depending on your circumstances.
Plus, the device will be looking out for things it considers suspicious that might just be part of your daily behavior. For example, if you don’t use your car for a long time and the device registers no activity, it could report this as suspicious behavior. But maybe you were just sick and didn’t drive for a while.
A good Maryland DUI lawyer will know how the Ignition Interlock Program works and will help you look out for these kinds of issues. And if a situation does arise where the state is questioning your truthfulness, your lawyer can help you present evidence to support your claims and help you avoid mistakes that make things worse.
Here’s Why You Need a Lawyer ASAP
If you’re facing DUI/DWI charges and the installation of an ignition interlock device, you must take this situation very seriously – because the state of Maryland will! Our state has serious consequences for both DUIs and violations of the Ignition Interlock Program.
Violating the terms of the program typically comes with an extension of 1 month using the ignition interlock device per violation. After several violations, you may be excluded from the program and have your license suspended or revoked.
Your violations will also be presented to the judge if you have a pending case. A DUI/DWI could result in two months to five years in jail plus added time for violating the ignition interlock terms. Work with your attorney to minimize the chances of these consequences and make the best possible choices in this difficult situation.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call us at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced DUI/DWI lawyers today.