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State lawmakers weigh closing legal loophole on IID requirement

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t “follow politics,” it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what kinds of bills state lawmakers are considering. Those bills, if passed and signed into law by the governor, can have a significant effect on the lives of people who live and/or work in Maryland.

One bill that Maryland lawmakers are considering again this year after it failed to pass in recent years would close what many consider a big loophole in “Noah’s Law.” The 2016 law is named after a Montgomery County police officer who lost his life in a collision with a drunk driver who was a repeat offender. The officer’s father is leading that effort to strengthen the law.

Under Noah’s Law, anyone who is convicted of drunk driving would be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on any vehicle they drive in order to get their driver’s license back. A restricted license would require they drive a car with an IID until the terms of their sentence are fulfilled.

Those on probation before judgment aren’t currently required to have an IID

Here’s where the loophole comes in. Thousands of people charged with DUI or DWI receive what’s called “probation before judgment” (PBJ). These are people who have pled guilty or no contest. They’re placed on probation, but the offense isn’t reflected on their driving record.

That means they aren’t required to have an IID to drive a vehicle. The law states that the court “may prohibit the defendant from operating a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock system,” but it’s not required.

It’s crucial for anyone facing drunk driving-related charges to understand the current law – and how the law may be changing – so that they can better decide how they want to proceed. Having legal guidance can help those facing these charges protect their rights, understand their options and make the best decisions for their circumstances accordingly.