What is Noah’s Law?
The new Maryland law that went into effect on October 1, 2016, is named after Noah Leotta. The new law requires an ignition interlock device to be installed in the vehicle of a driver convicted of drunk driving or who fails a breath test.
Noah Leotta was a 23-year-old police officer, who was struck and killed by a driver during a traffic stop. Leotta had pulled over a driver as part of a holiday DUI enforcement effort and was out of his car. Another driver approached in a SUV, but had waited too long to move over. The driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.22, three times the legal limit. He later pleaded guilty and accepted full responsibility for Noah Leotta’s death. The restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver was later shut down.
The New Law
Previously, ignition interlock devices were required for drunk drivers with a BAC of 0.15 or more. The new law lowers the level from 0.15 to 0.08.
The new law also increases driver license suspension periods for chemical test failure and refusals, known as admin per se suspensions (suspensions by MVA). A test refusal previously required a 120-day suspension. Under Noah’s law the suspension will last 270 days (two years for a second offense).
A first offense of drunk driving with a BAC of 0.08-0.14 resulted in a suspension of 45 days before the law. Today, the suspension period is 180 days.
A driver is required to participate in the program for the following convictions:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
- Driving While Impaired (DWI) while transporting a minor under the age of 16.
- Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DUI or DWI.
The length of time a driver is required to participate in the program:
- Six months for the first violation.
- One year for the second violation.
- Three years for the third or a subsequent violation.
Under Maryland’s new law, drivers who either have refused a chemical test or have a test result of 0.08 can elect to participate in the ignition interlock program instead of requesting an administrative hearing to dispute the charge.
Read more: Noah’s Law