Columbia DUI Lawyer
Columbia, Maryland has long ranked as one of America’s best places to live. The city is committed to preserving the safety of its citizens. In order to do so, the laws regarding drunk driving have intensified. Criminal attorneys in Columbia have taken notice that as of October 1, 2016, anyone convicted of a DUI faces increased penalties as well as the installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle.
A Columbia DUI lawyer does not want any individual that is accused of driving while under the influence within the area to go into the criminal justice system without proper representation. In order to assure that the rights of an individual are protected, that person should seek legal help as soon as possible.
In May 2016, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law “The Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016,” also known as Noah’s Law. The legislation falls under Maryland Code 16-205. The law was named after Montgomery County police officer Noah Letta, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver on December 2015.
Previously, IIDs were required for drivers convicted of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 percent. Under the new legislation, such devices are required for anyone convicted with a BAC of 0.08 percent and up.
Other New Penalties
If a person refuses a breath, blood, or urine test, Maryland law now mandates IID installation on their vehicle for one year. For a person convicted of having a BAC of 0.08 or above, the IID is mandatory for a minimum of six months for a first offense and a year for a second offense.
An IID measures the driver’s breath before they start the vehicle. If the IID detects alcohol, the ignition will not start. During each trip, the IID signals requirements for additional breath tests, to ensure the driver did not drink alcohol after starting the vehicle.
Without seeking the help of a DUI lawyer in Columbia for a DUI charge, an individual is at an increased risk for a conviction. A guilty verdict can include fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense and up to $2,000 for a second offense. First offenders potentially face up to one year in jail. Second offenders face up to two years’ incarceration but must serve a minimum of five days in jail. In addition to the IID, under the new law, license suspension periods are increased. New minimums include:
- First offense – 180 days
- Subsequent Offense – 180 days
- First test refusal – 270 days
- Subsequent test refusal – two years.
Benefits of Legal Representation
A Columbia DUI attorney familiar with DUI cases is capable of generating a defense tailored to the specific needs of their client. With this type of charge, all processes including BAC testing, field stops, and test performances will be reviewed in order to determine the options available in regards to a defense.
A drunk driving conviction has serious consequences. A conviction of driving while under the influence may affect a person’s employment, education and overall future. Anyone who is dealing with a charge of this nature requires a knowledgeable DUI lawyer in Columbia that understands the jurisdiction process to serve as their advocate.