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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.

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
Noah's Law

Noah's 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.