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If I get a DUI, will I have to use an ignition interlock device?

Three years ago, after a Maryland county police officer, Noah Leotta, was killed by a drunk driver while conducting a field stop, state lawmakers made Maryland’s DUI laws tougher, including requiring more drivers with DUI convictions to participate in the state’s ignition interlock program.

What is an ignition interlock?

An ignition interlock is a breath analyzer that is attached to a motor vehicle’s ignition system. The driver must blow into the device and not have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .025 to start the car. The device also asks for retests while driving a car.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlocks reduce repeat offenses by about 70%.

Who is required to install an ignition interlock?

In Maryland, first-time DUI offenders voluntarily can enroll in the ignition interlock program for six months to avoid a driver’s license suspension.

Most often, repeat DUI offenders are required to participate in the ignition interlock program by a judge overseeing their case.

Those required to participate include the following:

  • Those cited with DUI (.08 blood alcohol content)
  • Those under 16 cited with DWI (.05-.07 BAC)
  • Those driving while intoxicated who refuse initial breathalyzer test
  • Those cited with DUI or DWI who also caused someone’s death or life-threatening injury

If you a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of driving drunk, say as little as possible as the officer talks to you and completes a field sobriety test.

If you are cited for DUI or DWI because you failed a breathalyzer test, contact an experienced criminal attorney. An attorney can advise you on how to mount a DWI defense or how a roadside breathalyzer test or DUI stop may have been conducted improperly.

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