Two similar bills have been approved by Maryland’s House of Delegates and Senate, each seeking to expand the state’s ignition interlock program to help prevent convicted drunk drivers from becoming repeat offenders. The state’s current program applies only to drivers who were found to be extremely intoxicated.

Both versions of the bill, known as Noah’s Law, expand the state’s program that required the devices for drivers found to have a BAC of 0.15 or higher. The Senate version of the bill would require anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense with a BAC of 0.08 or higher to install one of the devices in their car for at least 90 days; it would also prevent the removal of the device until the driver had gone a full 90 days without trying to operate their vehicle while intoxicated.

The House version of the bill contains some loopholes that may allow certain drivers to avoid the program. Legislators will have to work out a compromise before sending the bill to the governor.

Ignition interlock devices are machines that aim to prevent drunk driving by requiring a driver to blow into them before they can start their vehicle. If the device senses alcohol on the user’s breath, the car will not start. While these devices cannot prevent all drunk driving by repeat offenders, they have reportedly prevented thousands of trips by intoxicated drivers in Maryland alone.

Maryland law divides drunk driving offenses into different crimes depending on the level of intoxication. Drivers with a BAC of 0.05 are charged with DWI (driving while impaired), while those with a BAC above 0.08 are charged with DUI (driving under the influence).

If you have been accused of a drunk driving offense, you need representation from an attorney committed to protecting the rights of clients. To learn more about ignition interlock devices, contact the experienced La Plata criminal defense attorneys at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.