March 2010 Archives

Maryland DUI/DWI: A New Penalty?

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Maryland lawmakers are considering following the lead of 12 other states which held that a first conviction for DUI results in mandatory use of an ignition breathalyzer. The proposed legislation faces fierce opposition from the American Beverage Institute. The restaurant trade association supports requiring the devices for repeat offenders, but believes it should be a judicial decision for first-time.

These breathalyzers, called ignition interlock devices, will not let the engine start until the driver breathes into a device. These devices are seen by advocates as an effective tool against drunk driving. The belief is that punishment does not work as evidenced by the high recidivism rate. Furthermore, most judges believe that someone who gets caught driving drunk has escaped detection many times.

Federal data compiled years ago showed that 25,120 Maryland drivers had three or more drunken-driving convictions, almost 4,000 had five or more and nearly 70 had more than 10. In the District, 34 drivers had more than three convictions.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been convicted of driving under the influence or if you would like more information on automobile accidents, please contact Portner & Shure.