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What is Noah’s Law?

Noah's Law, also known as The Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016, is named after Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver in December 2015.

What does Noah's Law do?

Noah's law changed the law in two big ways

  1. It significantly increases the suspension periods for breath test results above .08 and for breath test refusals; and
  2. requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (also known simply as an "interlock" or "blow and go") for drivers convicted of the following offenses:

What charges are effected by Noah's Law?

  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI)
  • Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWI) while transporting a minor under the age of 16
  • Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DUI or DWI

How long do I have to have the interlock?

  • 6 months for a first offense​
  • 1 year for a second offense
  • 3 years for a third or subsequent offense

Can I drive a non-interlock car?

​No. You are required to obtain a Maryland Driver's License with an "Interlock Restriction," which prohibits you from driving any vehicle without an interlock device.

You are, however, permitted to drive an interlock equipped vehicle at any time, and for any reason​.

Is this in addition to the suspension/interlock that I had to get because of my breath test result or refusal?

​Yes. This is a SECOND license restriction that is in addition to any suspension you served because of your breath test result, or because of a refusal.

​If you have been charged with DUI in Maryland, you have 10 days to protect your driver's license. Click on the red link below, or get the FREE guide "How to Choose a DUI Lawyer in Maryland".

The guide gives you the 10 questions that you must get answered before you hire a lawyer AND shows you 20 ways the average lawyer can lose a winnable case!

5 Reasons a Traffic Lawyer Should Fight Your Maryland Ticket

We have all been there. Driving down the road, listening to our favorite music on the radio, or talking with family or friends in the car. Then, out of nowhere, a police officer is right behind you with his lights on. You're getting pulled over. It is not a fun experience, to say the least. You may (or may not) know why the officer stopped you, but you are soon to find out.

The time to argue your ticket is not on the side of the road with the police officer. Nothing good happens when you argue with the officer. You can read about what you should do when your stopped by a police officer in another article.

Over 90% of the citations issued in Maryland are just "paid out" - meaning the person just pays the fine on the ticket, and takes the point(s) (if the ticket is a moving violation). Having a conviction on your record can increase your insurance rates for years, and lead to the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.

The time to argue your ticket is in court - in front of a judge. The only way you can do that is by requesting a trial (not a waiver hearing - I discuss your three options for complying with a Maryland ticket in a previous article). Only an attorney who handles a lot of traffic tickets knows the technicalities, loopholes, and defenses that might get you out of the ticket.

1. They know how to beat a Maryland ticket

Depending on the specific charge, there may be a few, or many different ways to get out of a ticket. From errors on the citation to errors in the officer's testimony to bad science.

The "defenses" most people use in court are not valid defenses. Neither "I was going with the flow of traffic" nor "The officer didn't show me his radar" work.

There are very specific foundational facts that must be entered into evidence for you to be convicted of a charge. So if even one of the facts is missing, then the case should be dismissed. A lawyer knows how to spot and use these errors to your advantage.

2. They know how to avoid a conviction

Let's face it, not every case can be won. There are those times when the officer did everything right. They produce all of the foundational evidence, and testify to all of the elements of the charge. When this happens, the goal is to still eliminate and/or reduce impact to your driving record, insurance rates, and your wallet.

3.They know the police officers and judges

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the police officers, especially when it comes to cross examining them, is a huge advantage.

​Each judge has his or her own way of doing things, including how they handle a docket, what charges they really don't like, and what defenses they are more likely to accept (or reject).

4. It is probably less expensive than you think

If you take into account taking off work, the stress of going to court, and the potential increase in your insurance rates for 3 to 5 years, then hiring an attorney could actually be less expensive than just paying out the ticket.

5. You probably don't even have to go to court.

​In the vast majority of cases, you don't even have to go to court. Maryland law allows an attorney to appear for you in court, as long as jail is not a potential penalty.

Citations that qualify:

  • The Citation has a Fine amount printed
  • The box "Must Appear" or "MA" is NOT checked

Three ways to avoid a license suspension

Get caught driving on a suspended license in Maryland and you could go to jail for up to a year, pay a $1,000 fine and 12 points on your driving record - the same penalty for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. Here are three ways to help make sure this doesn't happen to you.

1. Make sure you change your address with the MVA

The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is required by law to notify you of their intent to suspend your license before they do so.

That notice is sent to the address they have on record for you, so if they don't have your current address, you won't get that notice.

Why?

Because the Post Office will not forward the mail from the MVA to you (even if you submitted a change of address form with the Post Office).

When you move, make sure you change your address with the MVA (you have 30 days in which to do so).

2. If you get a ticket, make sure you comply with it

If you receive a ticket from a police officer in Maryland, you have 30 days in which to comply.

Failure to comply with the ticket and your license will be suspended.

I discussed the three ways you can comply with a citation in an earlier post.

3. Make sure the court has your correct address as well

Like the MVA, the court will send notices to the address on the citation.

The police officer enters the address that is on your drivers license (see #1 above).

Also like the MVA, the Post Office will not forward mail from the court.

4. If you request a trial for a waiver hearing, be sure to go

What is a “Waiver of Rights”?

Before any judge can accept a plea of guilty or a plea of not guilty agreed statement of facts, the judge must first ensure that you are making a knowing and voluntary decision. The judge does this by what is commonly referred to as a "waiver of rights." There are 4 basic ways that the Court makes sure the defendant properly understands his/her rights:

  • The judge will verbally go through the waiver of rights with each defendant individually.
  • The defendant's attorney will verbally go through the waiver of rights with his/her own client.
  • Multiple defendants are lined up and a single defense attorney/public defender goes through the waiver of rights as a group. (Baltimore City Circuit Court)
  • The defendant goes over a written form with his/her attorney and signs prior to the Court accepting a plea.

An example of the language found in a written "Waiver of Rights" in the Howard County District Court and Carroll County District Courts:

1. I know that I am charged with a crime for which I could be put in jail.

2. I know that I am giving up the following important rights by entering a plea of guilty:

(a.) The right to a trial by jury of 12 fair and impartial citizens from ____________ County chosen randomly from the rolls who are eligible to vote and drive and who unanimously would have to find me guilty or not guilty.

(b.) The right to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt whether by judge or by jury,

(c.) The right to face and cross-examine the witnesses against me.

(d.) The right to call witnesses on my own.

(e.) The right to testify in my own defense.

(f.) The right to remain silent and not have that silence considered against me.

3. If I am not a citizen of the United States, I am aware that this plea could affect my immigration status in this country, and there may be additional consequences such as deportation, detention or ineligibility for citizenship due to my guilty plea.

4. If I am currently on parole or probation, this plea could affect that probation.

5. Read each Statement and initial the boxes as they apply to you.

6. I certify that I have not been threatened or forced by anyone to enter this plea, and I am not under the influence of any drug, alcohol, or other intoxicant at this time.

7. I have had the opportunity to fully consider this decision, and I enter the plea of guilty freely and voluntarily because I am guilty of the crime(s) with which I am charged. I understand that the judge will likely accept my guilty plea and then will then sentence me.

8. I am satisfied with the services of my lawyer.

9. I understand the plea agreement which has been announced in open Court. Other than the plea agreement, I certify that no one other than a representative of the State of Maryland has made any promises or inducements to cause me to plead guilty or to indicate what sentence I may receive.

10. These matters have been explained to me.

Only after all of these rights have been acknowledged by the defendant, will a judge allow a plea of guilty to be entered in a case.​

Are you currently charged with DUI, driving while suspended (DWS), speeding, or any other traffic-related offense, get your case evaluated by Scott Athen.

Charged with DUI?

Get this FREE guide before you speak with ANY lawyer (Including Scott!):