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Noah's Law doubles down on drunk driving in Maryland

Noah's Law, signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in 2016, is named for Police Officer Noah Leotta, who was killed by a suspected drunk driver. The bill expands required participation in the ignition interlock program.

The Maryland State Senate passed the law 45-0 following unanimous passage by the House of Delegates. Maryland is focusing on reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused by drunk drivers, and legislators believe that Noah's Law will help to save lives.

How alcohol works in the body

Once the bloodstream absorbs alcohol, a small percentage of the alcohol can exit in the form of breath, perspiration or urine. The body metabolizes the remainder or breaks it down in the system. However, the body can only dispose of alcohol at the rate of about one standard drink per hour. If an individual consumes four or five alcoholic beverages in the space of one or two hours, it will overwhelm the liver, and a dangerous blood alcohol concentration level will result. It is illegal to drive when the BAC level is 0.08 percent or higher.

Recording BAC measurement

The ignition interlock device installed in a car or truck measures the amount of alcohol on the driver's breath. The driver breathes into a tube attached to the instrument, and if he or she passes the test, the vehicle will start. Individuals should note that certain kinds of mouthwash, medicines and foods contain small amounts of alcohol, which could affect the reading. Drivers should, therefore, wait at least 15 minutes after eating or taking anything with alcohol content before testing.

Becoming eligible under Noah's Law

Previously, only those who were considered excessively drunk or who repeated drunk driving offenders had to participate in the IID program. Under Noah's law, any Maryland motorist convicted of driving under the influence, driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated following a refusal to take a breathalyzer test will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle. An IID will also be a requirement for a driver who has caused a life-threatening injury or homicide while driving under the influence or while intoxicated.

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013