Drunk Driving

Noah’s Law and the Ignition Interlock System Program

The purpose of Noah’s Law is to prevent drunk drivers and drivers using drugs from maiming and killing police officers, other drivers, and/or themselves.

Prior to the enactment of Noah’s law, persons who blew .08 but below .15 were eligible under the implied consent law to go through an administrative proceeding at the Office of Administrative Hearings to seek to obtain a continuation of their driving privilege so long as certain criteria were met. (See the criteria used by the Office of Administrative Hearings at the end of this article.)

For over 30 years I have successfully represented clients who were charged with drunk driving. Call me at 410-730-4404 to discuss your case .

The administrative hearing noted above, both prior to and after the enactment of Noah’s Law , requires the defendant’s (licensee’s-your) appearance at district court (or at circuit court if a jury trial is requested) to defend the drunk driving and/or drug charges. If the breathalyzer test shows a blood alcohol level of .08 or above and the driver is convicted of DUI/DWI or a drug charge, under Noah’s Law, the driver is required to have special equipment installed on the vehicle he/she drives. The special equipment is called the Ignition Interlock System (Program). When seeking to drive your vehicle(s), the special equipment requires you to blow into the device to determine if alcohol or drugs are present. If the driver has used mouthwash or cologne, it is possible that the presence of that alcohol may be detected by the equipment and result in a positive reading. The Ignition Interlock System [hereinafter called the IIS (P)] will not allow the vehicle to start if the equipment detects alcohol or drugs or if you have the inability to blow an adequate amount of breath to activate the equipment. People with low physical breath issues can obtain a physician’s written opinion that the special equipment [IIS (P)] be adjusted to enable the lower level of breath to activate the equipment. Also, the IIS (P) is programmed for the driver to be re-tested while driving. It operates randomly but at times the equipment may malfunction and require the driver to have the IIS (P) fixed to work properly.

Under Noah’s Law and the prior law, the driver (defendant or licensee) still has the right to challenge the police officer’s stop for both the:

  • Hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings and at
  • The district court and/or the circuit court.

At the Office of Administrative Hearings: If you wish to continue your driving privilege, you are required to either request a hearing or agree to place the special equipment on your vehicle.

However, there are many ways to challenge the police officer’s stop and required information including but not limited to:

  • Whether the police had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or attempting to drive while drunk or impaired by drugs or combination of drugs and alcohol;
  • Could not drive safely;
  • Evidence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Was the driver fully advised when the officer requested the driver to take the breathalyzer test; and
  • Whether or not the officer fully advised the driver of the sanctions

Extremely important to you, the driver, after being stopped for drunk and/or drugged driving, separately or in combination of alcohol, is that you see me as close to the time of the incident, including at the police station . You need to tell the arresting officer that you want to call me. The officer is required to permit you to call me. I have a portable breathalyzer that is the same as or similar to the police officer’s portable breathalyzer. So long as my portable breathalyzer is administered within one hour and forty minutes by me, I can advise you whether to take the breathalyzer test at the police station. So long as the breathalyzer test at the police station is completed within two hours of the arrest, the police station breathalyzer test can be introduced into evidence at either or both the administrative hearing or district and/or circuit court.

Depending on the facts of a particular case, you may avoid challenging the administrative hearing. You may complete the back of the paper temporary license and elect to voluntarily agree to have the ISS (P) placed on your vehicle(s). There are fees to install the equipment on your vehicle(s) and a monthly fee for one year, with some exceptions.

The new Noah’s Law has greater periods of sanctions, especially the length of the periods of suspension, and overall harsher penalties which are set forth in the Maryland Annotated Code, Motor Vehicle Law. See Section 16-205.1 for specific sanctions. Also, tests and refusals for circumstances in which controlled dangerous drugs occur, a blood test administered for example within four hours of the incident/apprehension may be admitted to show levels of concentration of drugs.

Modification Requirements for Continuation of Driving Privilege and Criteria Used by the Office of Administrative Hearings :

Modification criteria for a suspension of your driving privilege may occur if you agree to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program and

(1) That you need /are required to drive to and from work and other transportation (alternative transportation) is not available and this will affect/severely impact your ability to earn a living;

(2) That you need to drive to perform the duties of your job or to attend a non-collegiate or post-secondary program;

(3) That you need to be able to drive to a treatment facility that educates and/or counsels people relating to drugs and/or alcohol; or

(4) That you need to drive to obtain healthcare and/or prescriptions; or

(5) That you attend school of special types.

This article has been prepared as an introduction to Noah’s Law. It is not meant to cover all factual situations and does not deal with commercial drivers’ licenses test refusals.

The benefit of your meeting with me is to determine:

  • How the law applies to you
  • To understand the process
  • To develop a strategy to minimize the results against you.

Call me, Fredric Antenberg, for a Free Initial Consultation. Call 410-730-4404.