Drunken Driving on Maryland Legislature's Short List

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Maryland legislature will pick up right where it left off this upcoming year. One of the expected proposals is to require those convicted of druken driving to install ignition interlock devices. Last year in the final hours of the 2010 legislative session a bill that would have made the interlock device mandatory for first time defenders was defeated in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill could have passed if MADD compromised and agreed to mandatory interlock for first time offenders if they were found to have a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit of .08 percent. However, the House Judiciary Chairman could not persuade MADD. MADD Maryland and other advocates vow to continue to push for the for the mandatory penalty in the 2011 legislative session under the premise "not all compromise is progress".

One of the main reasons for MADD and other advocates' zealous efforts is what they see a weakness in Maryland drunken-driving laws. Specifically, the ability of suspects to refuse to be tested. Here is where MADD loses me. Currently, if you refuse to take a breathalyser your license is automatically suspended for 120 days and the suspension cannot be modified nor can a restricted license be issued unless you participate in the Ignition Interlock System for one year. Under the current law, if you do submit to a breath test and have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit but under a .15 percent your suspension can be modified or a restrictive license can be issued at a hearing in certain circumstances. My experience has been that most first time offenders will receive a modification and a restricted license if they have a blood alcohol level under .15 percent. It seems to me that the current law is an effective deterrent against refusal where the law proposed would create more of an incentive to refuse a breath test. If you are reckless and irresponsible enough to decide to drive while intoxicated, why would you submit to a breath test if you know, no matter what the result, you are going to be required to get interlock. Am I missing something here because the lack of logic seems painfully obvious?

If you or someone you know has been charged with drunk driving or another traffic offense it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. If you would like more information on drunk driving offenses or would like to contact our office for a free legal consultation, please feel free to visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshureaccidentlawyers.com. Our Maryland criminal defense attorneys can provide you with a free legal consultation.

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