Maryland DUI Defense Attorney Explains The Ignition Interlock Program

Ignition Interlock Program In Maryland

Maryland’s ignition interlock program has undergone changes in recent years that will result in thousands more people being required to participate in the system.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a mechanism, like a breathalyzer, that is installed on a car’s dashboard. Before the vehicle can be started, the driver first must breathe into the device; if the device detects a BAC greater than the programmed amount allowed, the device prevents the engine from being started.

Who must have an ignition interlock device installed?

Under current law, the following groups will be required to participate in the ignition interlock program (in lieu of a license suspension):

  • Drivers under 21 who violate the state’s alcohol restrictions.
  • Drivers over 21 who are convicted of a second DUI within five years of the first drunk driving conviction.
  • Drivers over 21 who are found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than 0.15 percent at the time of their arrest, a level nearly two times the state’s legal limit.

What happens after the ignition interlock is installed?

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), once a driver has the ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle, he or she will be granted a restricted license. That driver will then have a continuing obligation to return to the Ignition Interlock Service Provider who installed the device on your car every 30 days. The provider will then download information gathered by the device and forward it directly to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

What info is reported to the MVA?

The MVA says that ignition interlock devices in Maryland gather and report data including information about your car, any instances where a high BAC was identified, any time the car was started without taking the test, any time a bypass of the test was attempted, the number of times your vehicle was started and stopped and the distance traveled by your vehicle.

How much does an ignition interlock device cost?

Unfortunately, the costs for the ignition interlock system fall squarely on the shoulders of the driver. Installation can cost $200 in some cases and the monthly maintenance and rental fees can easily run as high as $100 depending on the provider you choose.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket or drunk driving offense? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice law throughout the entire State of Maryland.