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Does Maryland Require Ignition Interlock Systems For DUI?


Maryland law prohibits any person from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances. Any person who commits DUI in Maryland can face serious consequences — up to and including confinement and fines. In addition to these criminal penalties, DUI offenders in Maryland can also face the requirement of installing an ignition interlock system.

What is an Ignition Interlock System?

Maryland Code of Transportation Section 21-902.2 defines the term “ignition interlock system.” Under this section, this term refers to a device that:

  • Has a breath analyzer to measure a driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) connected to a motor vehicle’s ignition system;
  • Prevents the motor vehicle from starting if the driver registers a BAC above established thresholds; and
  • Includes a camera capable of capturing images upon registration of a BAC test or instances of tampering, without recording sound or video.

When Can the Courts Require Ignition Interlock Systems?

Section 21-902.2 establishes when the Maryland courts may require the installation of an ignition interlock system. The state courts have this authority when a person is:

  • Convicted of a DUI offense in violation of Maryland Code of Transportation Section 21-902; or
  • Granted probation before judgement for a DUI offense.

In these situations, the Maryland courts may require a DUI offender to install an ignition interlock system for a maximum of 36 months. When imposing the ignition interlock requirement, the state courts will also:

  • State on the record how long the ignition interlock system must remain installed;
  • Direct the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to reflect the ignition interlock requirement and any employment-related exceptions, if any;
  • Require proof of the installation of the interlock system and regular reporting to verify the system’s continued operation;
  • Compel maintenance of the ignition interlock system on a semi-annual basis or more frequently, if necessary; and
  • Assign financial responsibility for the ignition interlock system to the DUI offender, establishing a payment schedule if needed.

Is there a Penalty for Violating Ignition Interlock Requirements?

Section 21-902.2 also explains the punishment for a violation of ignition interlock requirements. When an ignition interlock system is required under this section, it is unlawful to:

  • Tamper with or attempt to circumvent the operation of an ignition interlock system;
  • Solicit another person to start or attempt to start a motor vehicle with an ignition interlock system installed; or
  • Start or attempt to start a motor vehicle with an ignition interlock system installed on behalf of another person.

Any person who violates the requirements above is guilty of a criminal offense under Maryland law. If convicted, the punishment can include imprisonment for two months and criminal fines up to $500, either or both.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about DUI or ignition interlock systems in Maryland, contact the Bel Air DUI & traffic violations attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We can assist you throughout each step of your case.

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