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Maryland Ignition Interlock Lawyer

Ignition interlock devices (a type of alcohol monitoring device in Maryland) are becoming more and more widespread in DUI/DWI cases in Maryland and throughout the United States. The devices operate in a similar fashion to breathalyzers and are installed in vehicles under certain circumstances. In order to start the ignition of a vehicle fitted with one of these devices, a driver must breathe into the device. If there is any alcohol detected on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start.

Ignition Interlock Program in Maryland

If you are ordered or opt to comply with this ignition interlock program in Maryland to retain your driving privileges, you will be responsible for all costs related to the device while it is installed in your vehicle. Program participants must report to a service provider monthly for calibration. At that time, the device’s data log will be read and information regarding the date, time and alcohol level of each transaction will be recorded. Suspected efforts to disable the device as well as random retest compliance data will be reported to the MVA after each hearing.

Maryland DUI Lawyer Kush Arora: The ignition interlock probation program explained

Drivers who have an installed a device in Maryland must start their vehicles 50 times in a 30 day period to avoid a “low starts violation.” If you are ill, carpooling or using your vehicle less than the standard 50 times per month, the Maryland MVA advises you write and explain the reason for the low number of starts during a given month.

For every month in which a violation is recorded, the required period for ignition interlock device installation in Maryland will be increased by a month. After four violations, a driver will be terminated from the program and the original license suspension or revocation will occur.

If you have been assigned to or are considering participating in a Maryland ignition interlock device program, one of the attorneys with our firm can explain the benefits and restrictions to you so you can ensure compliance and successful completion of the program.

Length of Time for Ignition Interlock Restrictions

Across the board for first-time DUI offenders, if there’s an administrative penalty meaning the Motor Vehicle Administration is imposing an ignition interlock restriction on a person, usually it is a 12-month restriction.

Now if the court imposes that restriction on an individual, that can be up to any length of time that is appropriate for probation. So, it could be up to 36 months or three years, if the actual court imposes that restriction on an individual. There are various ways that it could fall into a category that is much lower than 12 months, or it could go much higher than three years. If the matter is moved up to circuit court, there could be a maximum penalty of five years for ignition interlock to be placed on an individual’s vehicle. So really the period of time could go anywhere from a month of having ignition interlock on your car all the way up to five years. It just depends on what court system or administrative body is imposing the restriction and what the circumstances are on that restriction.

Costs of Ignition Interlock Device

There are varying prices depending on the county and the company utilized. The Motor Vehicle Administration does have certain companies that they prefer people to use when they participate in the ignition interlock program. There are installation fees and maintenance fees, but the most difficult aspect is all the additional fees associated with the interlock. These devices are extremely sensitive and people can get false positives from things like mouthwash or even pizza. These false positives are sent to the ignition interlock company, which ultimately reports a failure to blow correctly or an attempt to drive under the influence to the MVA. Additional months of the ignition interlock program can be added for each violation and, ultimately, can cost the driver money well beyond the initial 12 months.

Can You Rent A Car With An Ignition Interlock System?

Ignition interlock in a rental vehicle is a very tricky issue because most rental car companies do not have ignition interlock-equipped vehicles for somebody to rent. They are becoming more and more common these days. In fact, just like an individual who is renting a car may be able to also rent car seats or a  GPS, interlocks are becoming available as add-ons with rental car companies offering them as a service to their renters.

My suggestion to people is if they know that they’re going to rent a car while they are under an interlock restriction, then call ahead to various rental car companies to see if that service is available. If an individual has an ignition interlock restriction on their license in Maryland, then that ignition interlock restriction extends to anywhere else that they are driving their vehicle no matter which state they’re in.

Now if an individual is renting a vehicle under their company’s name as opposed to under their own name, for example, if a person was on a business trip in another city and rented in their company’s name, then a judge might lift the interlock restriction if an individual is driving a vehicle that is not their own.

So if they’re issued a company vehicle or they are renting a vehicle under their company’s name, those things could fall into a loophole to the ignition interlock requirements for certain individuals. It’s important to talk to an attorney about the nuances of the ignition interlock because there have to be very specific parameters laid out by a judge as to when those restrictions do and do not apply.