Like other US states, Maryland has its own drunk driving laws. It also has a special law called Noah’s Law, which helped make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all drivers who were recently convicted of a DUI or DWI.
History of Noah’s Law
Noah’s Law became effective in 2016 and is named after a 24-year-old police officer, Noah Leotta, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver the year before. Officer Leotta was on patrol with his DUI task force. It is believed that the intoxicated offender, Luis Reluzco, had been consuming beer and whiskey for a number of hours prior to the accident. At the time of the loss, his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.22, which is nearly three times the legal limit. Reluzco ultimately pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter. Noah’s Law now requires anyone convicted of a DWI or DUI to blow in an interlock ignition device each time they start their vehicle, even if it is a first offense.
At the time Noah’s Law went into effect, so did Alex and Calvin’s Law. This law was named after two local high school graduates —Calvin Li and Alexander Murk — who were both killed in a drunk driving accident. These two young kids had been drinking at an “underage drinking party.” Alex and Calvin’s Law allows for some potential jail time for any adult who hosts a party at which minors consume alcohol.
What Constitutes DUI and DWI in Maryland
DUI stands for driving under the influence, whereas DWI is driving while impaired, and they can carry different penalties. In Maryland:
- You can be charged with a DWI if your BAC is between 0.04 and 0.07%
- You can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is above 0.08%
- Anyone under 21 years of age with a BAC of 0.02% can be charged with drunk driving
- Anyone who holds a commercial driver’s license with a BAC of 0.04% can be charged with drunk driving
Penalties will vary based on whether it is a DWI or DUI and how many prior offenses you have. For first time offenders:
- DWI can be jail up to two months and maximum fine of $500
- DUI can include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1000
The DMV may also suspend your driver’s license for six months or longer. Prior to Noah’s Law, first time offenders did not need to install an ignition interlock device (IID). It was only applicable to those who had been convicted two or more times.
With Noah’s Law, first convictions require six months of blowing into an IID, while a second incident is a year, and three or more incidents is three years blowing into an IID.
Retaining a Maryland Attorney
If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is imperative to retain a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney to prepare your best defense. If you have been struck by a drunk driver and need to pursue a civil lawsuit, you need a Maryland car accident attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today to schedule an appointment.