It’s November, and soon people will be eating their Thanksgiving turkey, celebrating the holidays, and ringing in the New Year. At any of these festivities, it is likely that alcohol will be served. Most people in Maryland will drink responsibly, but a motorist could still be pulled over by police and accused of drunk driving. If a person is convicted on drunk driving charges, the penalties can be significant.

Sometimes a person convicted of drunk driving in Maryland will have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a certain time period. An ignition interlock device is a machine that connects a breath analyzer (similar to roadside Breathalyzers) to the car’s ignition system. The driver then has to blow into the device before driving. If their blood alcohol concentration is above a nominal level — 0.025 percent — their car will not start.

Starting on October 1, 2016, some convictions mandate the installation of an ignition interlock device. These include: driving under the influence; driving while impaired with a child less than 16-years-old in the vehicle; DWI after a breath test refusal; and DUI or DWI resulting in the death of another individual or causing another individual to suffer life-threatening injuries.

Having an ignition interlock device placed on one’s vehicle can be more than inconvenient — it can be costly and could affect one’s daily life. After all, it is possible that if a person consumes merely one drink with dinner and is not intoxicated, their BAC may still be above 0.025 percent, and they will be prohibited from driving. Moreover, there are license restrictions, the motorist will be monitored, and the length of time the device must be installed in one’s vehicle can be extended if violations occur. Thus, those facing drunk driving charges who are concerned that they may be required to use an ignition interlock device will want to seek the professional guidance they need to develop a strong criminal defense strategy to fight back against the charges they face.