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Contact us 410-541-6DUI (384) Email us info@gklinelaw.com For nearly two decades, I have been representing individuals and businesses in courts throughout Maryland. I have helped my clients with a wide variety of legal matters.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Maryland gets tough on repeat drunk driving offenders

As we reported earlier in the year, Maryland has sought tougher penalties against those charged with multiple alcohol related driving offenses. Passed during the 2019 General Assembly session, and effective on October 1, 2019, the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act, increases penalties for those charged not only with drunk driving but drugged driving as well.

Among other penalties, the act increases the maximum jail time for those convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence from three to five years.  The law now also doubles prison time from five to ten years for drivers with prior convictions.

The new law also includes heavier punishments for impaired drivers convicted of traveling with minors in the car with one year in jail for the first offense and two years for a second offense.

With criminal penalties getting tougher, it is vital that you contact an experienced defense attorney immediately if you are arrested for an alcohol related driving offense.

We have over twenty years of experience representing those charged with drunk driving. Call us today at 410-541-6DUI.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

New Law Requires Ignition Interlock Machines to Have Cameras






Effective October 1, Maryland law now requires that drivers required to obtain an ignition interlock have a device equipped with a camera that takes still pictures.

From the Maryland Vehicle Administration:

The camera will capture a still image of the person taking a breath test (it will not record sound or video) at these times:

• When a breath sample is collected when the vehicle is started; 
• When a breath sample is collected during a rolling retest; and 
• If tampering is detected. 

Participants will receive instructions from their Service Provider on how to use the device when it is installed. Images captured by ignition interlock devices will be used by MDOT MVA to ensure program participants comply with program requirements. It is a violation of Maryland law for any person to provide a breath sample for a program participant in order to circumvent an ignition-interlock device

With Maryland expanding the requirements for ignition interlock in DUI/DWI cases, it is imperative that those facing such charges obtain the right equipment. 

If you have any questions, give us a call today at 410-541-6DUI.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Monday, January 14, 2019

Governor Hogan seeks to make repeat drunk driving a felony in Maryland




For the second year in a row, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has proposed making it a felony to receive a third conviction (or a second offense if a fatal or serious accident occurs) for DUI with up to a ten year prison sentence.  The Governor's Office stated:

In the coming legislative session, the Hogan administration will again introduce the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act, which creates a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years for anyone convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense on three or more prior occasions, as well as anyone convicted of causing a death or a life-threatening injury on their second and/or subsequent offenses.

“Our administration is committed to doing everything we can to prevent future impaired driving crashes and fatalities,” said Governor Hogan. “We must do everything in our power to save lives and to prevent future tragedies, and by working together, we can make a difference and we can save lives.”

With changes in the legislative committees of the Maryland General Assembly who hear these kinds of bills, the likelihood of passage of tougher penalties for alcohol related driving offenses has increased. 

With increasing penalties for subsequent convictions, it is more important than ever that you have experienced counsel representing you even on your first offense.

You can read more about this legislation here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Noah's Law Has Changed the Game



On October 1, 2016, Maryland's laws regarding drunk driving changed as "Noah's Law" went into effect.

This is how the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration describes the changes:


Noah’s Law mandates an ignition interlock device for convicted drivers.  You are required to participate in the program for the following convictions
  •     Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  •     Driving While Impaired (DWI) while transporting a minor under the age of 16
  •     Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DUI or DWI

The length of time you are required to participate in the program:
  •      For the first incident is 6 months.
  •      For the second incident, it is 1 year.
  •      And for the third or a subsequent incident, it is 3 years.

If you receive a DWI after refusing to take a chemical test (the court shall require mandatory interlock) and you will be required to participate in the program for 1 year.

If eligible, the drunk driver may immediately opt-in to Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program instead of serving the suspension period.  An individual participating in the program can only operate motor vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Governor Larry Hogan led the effort to allow individuals to opt-in to the ignition interlock program through regulations finalized in March 2016.  Under Noah’s Law, individuals who are detained on suspicion of committing an alcohol-related driving offense -- and either refuse a chemical test or have a test result of 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration) or higher -- can elect to participate in the ignition interlock program immediately instead of requesting an administrative hearing to dispute the charge.

Noah’s Law mandates successful completion of the ignition interlock program, which includes the final three consecutive months with no violations before release from the program.
Noah’s Law also significantly increases driver license suspension periods for immediate Administrative chemical test failure and refusals.

Comparison of Changes to Certain Suspensions under Noah's law

BAC 0.08-0.14

BAC 0.15 or Above

Test Refusal
Prior
Law
Noah's Law

Prior
 Law
Noah's Law

Prior
 Law
Noah's Law
First Offense
45 Days
180 Days

90 Days
180 Days

120 Days
270 Days
Second or Subsequent
90 Days
180 Days

180 Days
270 Days

1 Year
2 Years
                                                  BAC = blood alcohol concentration
Enhanced penalties still apply for drivers under the age of 21; drivers who have a previously imposed alcohol restriction; drivers with a commercial license or driving a commercial vehicle; and for those with previous drunk driving convictions."
The biggest change is that all drivers will be required to participate in the ignition interlock program.  Prosecutors are also publicly stating that they will ask judges to impose ignition interlock on drivers.
With more severe penalties, it is more critical than ever to have an experienced attorney guide you through this process and assert every available defense in both criminal court and administrative proceedings.
Call our office today for more information at 410-541-6(DUI) today.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

If You Have a Commercial Drivers' License and Get a DUI You Need to Know This

If you make your living driving under a state issued Commercial Drivers' License (CDL), you know how important it is to protect your CDL and your ability to earn a living.  While it is certainly never a good idea to get an alcohol related driving charge, CDL holders need to know what is at stake when they are pulled over, arrested and asked to submit to a breathalyzer.

This is true even if the arrest occurs while driving your private car outside of work.





Unfortunately, a recent court decision from Maryland's highest court will make it even more difficult for CDL holders to know the right thing to do.  The case MVA v. Seenath, dealt with a CDL holder who was arrested for a DUI while driving his personal vehicle outside of work.

The Court noted that

"In this case, Sundar Seenath (“Seenath”), Respondent, a holder of a commercial
driver’s license, contends that the Advice of Rights form violates due process under the
United States Constitution and the Maryland Declaration of Rights because the form does
not advise that a holder of a commercial driver’s license who drives a non-commercial
motor vehicle and fails an alcohol concentration test—by taking an alcohol concentration
test that indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher4—is ineligible for a 'restrictive license,' which allows a driver to drive only for certain purposes, for example,
in the course of employment. ”

Maryland regulations require that before someone's licence can be suspended for a DUI the consequences of taking or refusing a breathalyzer must be fully explained. This was not done for Mr. Seenath particularly with regard to the impact his arrest would have on his CDL.

The Court, however, upheld his suspension despite the inadequacy of the officer's explanation stating,

"The Advice of Rights form does not violate due process as applied to this case, as the record contains no indication that Seenath was misled by the Advice of Rights form, and Seenath was not at all prejudiced as a result of his decision to consent to take an alcohol concentration test. The Advice of Rights form is not misleading concerning a commercial driver’s license holder’s eligibility for a restrictive license where the commercial driver’s license holder drives a non-commercial motor vehicle and fails an alcohol concentration test; stated otherwise, the Advice of Rights form comports with due process."

This CDL driver had no idea that agreeing to a breathalyzer test would result in the suspension of his CDL without any chance at a modification.  The Court's decison states that a police office was not obligated to tell the CDL driver about that impact because he was driving a non-commercial motor vehicle when he was arrested.

Simply put, if you have a CDL and get pulled over for an alcohol related driving offense, you need legal advice immediately.  The police won't explain to you that you will lose your CDL whether or not you submit to a breathalyzer and the courts say they don't have to.

Keep our number 410-541-6DUI (384) handy.  We are available anytime to speak on these matters.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

New Maryland Regulations May Affect Your DUI

Governor Hogan has proposed changes to the adminstrative regulations dealing with drunk driving. Please contact our office to learn more about how these changes could affect you.



Governor Larry Hogan Announces New Regulations to Address Impaired Driving
November 6, 2015

Ignition Interlock Program Expanded

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced an expansion of Maryland’s Ignition Interlock program, which will help save lives by reducing the number of drunk drivers on Maryland roads. Beginning in 1989, Maryland’s Ignition Interlock program instituted a device that prevents a car from starting when it detects a certain level of alcohol on the driver’s breath. Under current regulations, drivers who register a 0.15 blood alcohol level or higher are allowed to opt-in to the program and keep their license without having an administrative hearing, while those who register 0.08 to 0.15 are not allowed to opt-in to the program.

Governor Hogan’s proposed regulations will allow all of these drivers the option of participating in the ignition interlock program and therefore, the ability to keep their license without an administrative hearing.
In addition to expanding the number of people that can opt-in, the new regulations also will bring Maryland in compliance with ignition interlock device standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Our administration is committed to protecting all Marylanders by taking the common sense steps that will help to prevent drunk driving,” Governor Hogan said. “These proposed regulations will make our roads and communities safer by ensuring that past drunk driving offenders cannot start their car after they have been drinking.”

On average, there are 7,884 impaired driving crashes across Maryland in any given year. In those crashes, 170 people die every year due to impaired driving. All of these fatalities are preventable. In Maryland, drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and those with a BAC of .04 are charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

“Every life lost is one too many,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn. “Expanding Ignition Interlock is a giant step forward in eliminating impaired driving fatalities on Maryland’s highways!”
Maryland’s ignition interlock program has approximately 11,000 participants and is monitored by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). The MVA has implemented an automated comprehensive ignition interlock program, which efficiently monitors participants and allows the MVA to take action against program violations.

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http://governor.maryland.gov/…/governor-larry-hogan-announ…/