A DUI arrest and conviction when you had a child under 16 in the car now means you will be required to install an alcohol-detecting ignition interlock device in your car. Maryland lawmakers recently added this requirement to those previously existing.
Under current Maryland DUI law, an ignition interlock device is required for any second offense conviction or greater, or if the driver is under 21, or blows a high BAC of .15%, which is nearly twice the legal limit for intoxication.
They did not make an interlock requirement for all DUI charges, so it is not typical for first offense cases (although it is sometimes a voluntary option to avoid a license suspension.)
Some lawmakers are dismayed the legislature didn’t take this step. First offense interlock requirements have long been advocated by MADD. The Baltimore Sun takes that position as well in this editorial. But they get it wrong, and are missing some some important facts.
What is an Interlock Device?
Why are Required Interlock Devices a Bad Idea?
The majority of people convicted with 1st offense DUIs never get in trouble with the law again. The average person made a mistake, and is absolutely mortified to have been arrested and charged with a crime.
Having an interlock requirement on their driver’s license is not just a small inconvenience for many people.
- If you have to drive different multiple vehicles for work, you are out of luck.
- If you need to travel and rent a car, you are out of luck.
None of this excuses a DUI charge. It’s a mistake, and drunk driving is dangerous.
But the current provisions are going to catch the majority of the likely, future repeat drunk driving offenders:
- Those with more than one conviction have shown that they are unable to stop, or unconcerned with the consequences
- Those with a high BAC level were extremely drunk when they got behind the wheel, suggesting it wasn’t a borderline case of poor judgement.
- Those who are underage are more reckless and risk-taking.
- And the newest condition, a person who would drink and drive with a child in the car is also suggestive of being oblivious to the risks of impaired driving