Lawmakers work to close ignition interlock devices loophole

A drunk driving conviction in Maryland can result in serious criminal penalties, including license suspension, jail time, and significant fines.

In 2016, Maryland passed the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016, also known as Noah’s Law, which specifies that Maryland drivers with drunk driving convictions on their record must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles.


Ignition interlock devices prevent drivers from starting their car without first blowing into the device, which tests the driver’s blood alcohol level. The car will only start if the driver’s blood alcohol level is lower than the established limit.


However, lawmakers have noticed a loophole in the current law that allows some drivers with DUI convictions to avoid getting the device installed in their vehicles. As the law stands, a driver who pleads guilty to drunk driving and is given probation before judgment, or PBJ, does not have to have the device installed. Many lawmakers and leaders in the community believe that closing this loophole is necessary for the safety of Maryland residents and are optimistic that the bill closing this loophole will pass.


Driving under the influence of alcohol in Maryland can result in serious consequences, even for first time offenders. For a first offense, a driver can face up to one year in jail, $1,000 in fines, 12 points on their driving record, and a license revocation of up to six months. The expansion of Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program under Noah’s Law will also require participation in the program for six months for a first offense.



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