Noah’s Law went into effect in Maryland on October 1st of the year.  This new law was passed as a result of a fatal accident involving a Montgomery County police officer at the beginning of the year.  It has made numerous changes in the driver’s license penalties associated with Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Impaired charges in Maryland.  It has significantly increased the likelihood of an individual who is charged with alcohol related driving to be forced to participate in the Maryland Ignition Interlock Program.

The Maryland Ignition Interlock Program requires that an individual install an Interlock, a hand held breath testing device, into their vehicle if they wish to continue to drive in Maryland.  They will be required to blow into the Interlock every time that they want to start their car, and randomly while they are driving.  If the device detects a measurable amount of alcohol on their breath (higher than a .025 BRAC) then it will stop the driver from being able to start their vehicle.

The Ignition Interlock works based on the principle that the presence of alcohol raises the electrical conductivity of an individual’s breath.  The Interlock device has a basic metal inside it.  The acidity of the individual’s breath interacts with the basic metal and generates a current.  There is a chip inside the Interlock that extrapolates the amount of alcohol in an individual’s breath from the amount of current that was generated.

The problem with this methodology is that anything that raises the electrical conductivity of an individuals breath will generate a current and the Interlock will assume that the current is caused by alcohol.  There are numerous things that can raise the electrical conductivity of an individual’s breath.  Spicy food, sugary beverages, mouthwash, and even being on a Keto diet will all generate false positives on an Ignition Interlock device.  Some of these things can be mitigated against by being cautious and rinsing out the mouth before blowing into the Interlock.

If an individual blows a positive result into the Interlock, the device will stop the individual from being able to drive their car.  Additionally, the next time that the Interlock is calibrated at the mechanic, the MVA will receive a report that the Interlock detected alcohol.  If the MVA receives such a report, they will extend the period of time that the individual is required to maintain the Interlock license by a month.  In other words, every month with a positive test result requires an additional month of participation in the Interlock program.  So, it is in your best interest not to have any false positives when participating in the Interlock program.

Speaking to a Maryland DUI attorney can be extremely helpful before voluntarily enrolling in the Maryland Ignition Interlock program. An attorney may be able to help you avoid having to participate in the program at all by challenging the MVA’s case and convincing an Administrative Law Judge not to impose the Interlock.  Alternatively, a lawyer can be helpful by providing practical advice that can help an individual who is required to participate in the Ignition Interlock program manage the device to avoid potential false positives.