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Fight for tougher DUI sentencing is personal in Maryland

It can be hard to fight against personal arguments. No one wants to diminish the pain that someone might be feeling following the loss of a loved one. For example, one father in Maryland is currently helping to fight for stricter DUI laws in the state. His fight stems from the recent loss of his son to a drunk driving accident. 

While the loss of the man's son in this case is undoubtedly tragic, legislation should not be overly controlled by emotions and personal stories. Letting emotions guide legislation could result in overly harsh, expensive and ineffective criminal laws. What exactly is the stricter legislation that this father and others on his side propose?

Currently, someone who is convicted of a first-offense DUI generally is not required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle. The exception to that rule is if the suspect's BAC level measured extremely high or if the judge has other cause to believe that the defendant needs the device. 

In this sense of DUI law, Maryland is not as severe as some other states with regards to its ignition interlock device requirements. Half of the U.S. requires that a first-offense DUI results in the device requirement. The current proposal in Maryland is for this state to match the stricter laws of the other states: a first-time offender should have to put an interlock device in his vehicle. 

MADD supports the legislative proposal and provides numbers that suggest thousands of men and women have been prevented from driving drunk because of ignition interlock laws in Maryland. With stricter laws, argues MADD, there would be even fewer drunk drivers on the roads.

If there is an update to DUI legislation in the state, we will share that with you in an upcoming blog post. What do you think about the idea of requiring first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles? Do you think it is a needed or an unnecessary change to drunk driving laws in Baltimore?

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