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Ignition Interlock Program Requirements for DUI and DWI

Depending on what happens with your Maryland DUI or DWI case, you might be required to have an ignition interlock in your car, particularly after the changes in Maryland law that took effect on October 1, 2016.

I can help you avoid ignition interlock requirements and suspensions that might otherwise be caused by your DUI or DWI case, your breath test, or your failure to complete a breath test. Call (301) 556-8709 today, because you need to stay on the road and out of jail.

The duration of the ignition interlock program is at least six months the first time you are required to participate, at least a year the second time, and three years the third or later time that you are required to participate in the program.

If you are placed in the ignition interlock program, you will not be able to drive vehicles without an interlock (sometimes with exceptions), you will have to have an interlock placed on your car and monitored at your expense, and you will have to use that interlock at least 50 times every month, without blowing higher than .025. For comparison, there is a presumption that you are driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) at .06, though it is possible to get convicted with test results lower than that in certain circumstances. The requirement that you blow frequently, coupled with the very low BAC requirement are intended to make it difficult to drink while you are on the program without being caught.

Ignition Interlock Program Violation Hearing

If the MVA does not believe that you have complied with the ignition interlock program, they will notify you that you have the right to contest the violations at a hearing with an attorney.  I can defend you from these violations at that hearing, and prevent you from being removed from the program.  If you are removed from the program, you will likely have to start the program all over again, and it may also cause a license suspension or revocation.  Removal from the ignition interlock program might also trigger a violation of probation if the court ordered the interlock program as part of a sentence.

There are a number of reasons that your interlock might register a failure even if you did not drink alcohol.  Environmental pollutants can cause a false positive.  Perfumes, colognes, and many mouthwashes are mostly made of alcohol, which is why you should avoid them while you are on the program.  Someone might have used your interlock without your consent.  Ignition interlocks also suffer from equipment failures from time to time, and depending on how the failure is reported, it may trigger a violation.  Also, you may have been wrongly accused of violating other program requirements that do not involve a failed test, even though you have actually complied with the requirements of the program.  Whatever the cause of the ignition interlock program violation, I can defend you.

Who is Required to Enroll in the Ignition Interlock Program?

There are several reasons that you might be required to participate in the ignition interlock program in Maryland. The reasons below are not completely exhaustive. You will need my help to figure out when you may be required to have an interlock, and how I might be able to help you avoid it.

Interlock Requirement for Conviction of DWI

The MVA is required to place Maryland drivers that are convicted of DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) in the ignition interlock program.

Ignition Interlock Requirement in Lieu of an MVA Hearing

When you get your ticket for DUI, often times you will be provided with a sign up form for the ignition interlock program. You do have the right to contest your case in front of an administrative law judge, where I can represent you. If we win, you will not have to have an interlock due to your high blow or failure to blow. I can represent you at the hearing, and I can also review your case and help you decide whether to have a hearing at all. It is just as important to know when to have a hearing is as it is to know when it is best not to have one. I can use the specific facts of your case to tell you when a hearing would be helpful, and when it would be counterproductive.

Ignition Interlock Required by Administrative Law Judge After an MVA Hearing

If you do decide to have a hearing, and you lose, the administrative law judge at the hearing can require you to enroll in the ignition interlock program.

Ignition Interlock Requirement set by a Judge during Sentencing in your DUI or DWI Case

A judge can require you to put an interlock on your car and/or not drive unless you have an interlock as part of a sentence or as a condition of probation for DUI or DWI.

The judge in your court case or the administrative law judge at an MVA hearing can both order you to participate in the ignition interlock program during the sentencing phase.

Expense of Ignition Interlock

Ignition interlocks can be expensive. Installation, removal, and monitoring fees on an ignition interlock can add up and easily exceed $1000 over the course of a year, even if you perform perfectly.

Penalties for Nonparticipation

If you do not participate in the ignition interlock program when you are required to, your Maryland license will be suspended by the MVA until you complete the program.

If your interlock is a condition of probation, the judge may impose any part of your sentence that was suspended and send you to jail if you fail to participate, or participate and then fail the program, even if the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will let you try again.

If you start the ignition interlock program and then fail out of it, the MVA will let you can sign up again after 30 days, but you will not receive any credit for the period that you already participated.

There are a lot of complicated and interconnected rules that I can exploit to keep you free and driving without an interlock. You can’t expect to handle it on your own. Call me now at (301) 556-8709, because I can protect your rights and help keep you on the road.


If you elect to participate in the Maryland ignition interlock program, you might receive a violation notice in the mail. I can challenge and overturn these violations. Each violation extends the duration of the interlock restriction on your license and the program by one month. If you get violations during four monitoring periods you will receive a “Final Notice and Removal From Program” letter. Unless you successfully challenge the alleged violations at a hearing, you will be removed, and the . . . .