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Noah’s Law Effective as of October 2016

Drunk driving is a significant issue around the country and claims thousands of lives each year. TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there is one impaired-driving fatality every 53 minutes, amounting to roughly 28 people per day. Due to the gravity of drunk driving and the physical and emotional damage that is caused by drunk driving accidents, the Maryland legislature enacted what is known as Noah’s Law, or the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016, which went into effect beginning of October.

Noah’s Law or the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016

Noah’s Law, which is named in honor of a Montgomery County police officer named Noah A. Leotta who was hit by a drunk driver and killed, expands the use of ignition interlocks and increases the license suspension time for those who have committed drunk driving violations. Ignition interlocks are a machine that connect to the user’s car and requires that before the car may be operated, the driver’s blood-alcohol level must be taken to ensure that the driver is not impaired.

Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for Drunk Drivers

The new law requires that participation in the ignition interlock program is mandatory for the following situations:

  • When a person who has never been convicted previously is found to have been driving or attempting to drive while intoxicated per se;
  • When a person is required by court order due to a drunk driving conviction where the trier of fact in the person’s case found that the person had been using and impaired by a drug, or a combination of drugs and refused to acquiesce to a blood alcohol content test.
  • When a person has been convicted and has had his/her license revoked due to a homicide conviction or a conviction for committing a life-threatening injury associated with a drunk driving incident.

The ignition interlock program requires that the mandated person must participate in the program for a duration related to the number of times that he or she has been required by court to participate. For example, the court requires that for a first-time offender, the person need only participate for six months. For a second-time offender, the individual must participate in the program for one year. For a third time (or subsequent-time) offender, he or she will be required to participate in the program for at least three years.

Drunk Drivers Subject to Both Criminal and Civil Penalties

The ignition interlock program is designed to rehabilitate drunk drivers before they find themselves in a situation in which they may be behind bars for the rest of their lives after taking the life of or seriously injuring an innocent bystander. Though criminal penalties are likely for a drunk driver, there are still opportunities for the innocent person who was seriously injured or killed as a result of the impaired driving to claim monetary damages from the driver. According to one bill, Senate Bill 302 moving through the Maryland legislature, punitive damages may be applied to a drunk driver if that person causes a personal injury or wrongful death while operating a car and who has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more and refuses to submit to a test.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you or a loved one was seriously injured due to a drunk driver, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.