A number of bills intended to curb drunk driving are being proposed today to a Maryland Senate Committee. Backed by Governor O’Malley, police, prosecutors and highway safety advocates, a number of these bills-if passed-will change the landscape of drunk driving prosecutions in Maryland.
The most significant bill is one that imposes criminal penalties on adults who provide alcohol to minors. If passed, the teen drinking bill would elevate the penalty for supplying alcohol to minors from a civil offense to a criminal offense. Parents, siblings and religious exemptions will apply.
Additional laws being proposed include probation before judgement eligibility. Currently, a convicted drunk driver is not eligible for a PBJ for a second offense if the first DUI conviction occurred within 5 years. The new proposed law would raise the PBJ eligibility requirements to ten years.
Drunk driving defense attorneys may also have to tangle with a proposal that will impose a mandatory one-year driver’s license suspense if any part of the drunk driving article is violated for a second time. Currently, lessor included offenses such as driving while impaired (DWI), when grouped with a DUI conviction, do not trigger the one year suspension.
Other related bills, as reported by a Baltimore Sun article, do not appear to be of relative significance to DUI lawyers or the public.