Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 (i.e., 20 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood). The device is installed inside the vehicle, near the driver's seat, and is connected to the engine's ignition system. It is a hand held device.
Maryland is not one of those states that absolutely requires an interlock following a conviction for DUI but if you desire to keep your driver's license and not face a period of suspension, then you would have to get an interlock following a conviction.
Backing up to the beginning, if you are stopped and charged with an alcohol-related offense and you blow a BAC number in excess of .15 or if you refuse to blow in the machine at all then you will face a period of suspension ranging from 90 days or more depending if you blew or if you refused to blow. If you would prefer not to have your license suspended because you need your license for work or family then you can have an interlock installed in your car voluntarily at one of the several places certified by the state of Maryland. The suspension will be held in abeyance during the course of your interlock which is one year. You are required to pay the fee for installation which tends to run around $150 and then you are required to pay the monthly service charge for the unit which tends to be around $85.
While you have an interlock installed in your car you are not allowed to have any breath alcohol content in excess of .02 which essentially means no alcohol on your breath. This machine is capable of identifying alcohol from even mouthwash so one needs to be careful. While you have an interlock installed in your car for the period of one year you are allowed up to three bad blows; for each bad blow that you have one month will be tacked on to the original 12 month period. If you have four bad blows then you will be removed from the program altogether and whatever period of suspension you were facing will be invoked.
You will not get any credit for time successfully served on the interlock. Therefore it is important that you be careful with the interlock and do not have bad blows. Occasionally there may be a problem with an interlock or even a problem that you had nothing to do with in which case this should be brought to the attention of the installer as soon as possible so that the MVA does not get wind of any such problem and you face a penalty.
So the interlock device can be installed on the front end as the result of an administrative penalty for blowing an illegal BAC number or for your refusal to blow. And then on the back end after appearing in court if you got a conviction for DUI or DWI. There will be points associated with that conviction and an interlock will become necessary if you desire to avoid a period of suspension.
Finally, if you have the interlock installed for administrative reasons and then you subsequently are convicted it may be necessary to request a secondary hearing to run the time periods concurrent with each other; if you fail to do that it is possible that you would have consecutive periods of time meaning one after the other and this may be an avoidable situation; one that can save you time and money if you run them concurrently as opposed to consecutively. Counsel should be able to help and offer some advice to work this matter out to your benefit.