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Wednesday, February 14th, Frederick County delegate Barrie Cilberti introduced a bill to the House Judiciary Committee that if passed, would increase the penalty for defendants convicted of driving while impaired while transporting a minor to double the current fines.

The Stats

Kurt Erickson, president and CEO of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, stated that “someone in Maryland is arrested every 37 hours for driving while impaired, with a child in the vehicle”. He went on to suggest that between the years of 2012 and 2016, the number of citations given to individuals drinking and driving with a child passenger in Maryland rose by nearly 27%.

Delegate Cilberti describes the potential new law as increasing the overall maximum jail sentence for offenders who are convicted. “It goes from six months to one year for the first offense, and from one year to two years for the second offense”, he says.

The Effects

Naturally, supporters of the bill say that it is a necessary step in discouraging impaired drivers to operate a vehicle while transporting a child passenger. Delegate Dan Morhaim, D-Baltimore County, is the bill’s co-sponsor and discusses his past personal experience as an emergency room doctor who attempted to save the lives of two children whose parents, who were driving while intoxicated, lost control of the car and drove into an icy pond. The bill also has multiple other supporters, including Delegates Barkley, Corderman, Frush, Glass, Grammer, Jalisi, Kramer, Krebs, Long, Malone, McComas, McConkey, McKay, Metzgar, W. Miller, Parrott, Rey, Saab, Shoemaker, Valentino–Smith, and P. Young.

However, if passed, House Bill 711, which would go into effect on October 1, 2018, will cause the costs to the state to increase substantially and innocent people will be behind bars for even longer. Individuals with minor children should be particularly careful when consuming alcoholic beverages, even in minute amounts, if they plan to drive their vehicle while transporting their children.

When to Contact an Experienced DWI Attorney

While it’s important to contact a seasoned Maryland DWI lawyer as soon as possible after any DWI arrest, it will become even more crucial if H.B. 711 is signed into law. This is particularly true for second offenders since the incarceration sentence could be as much as two years.

Richard J. Brueckner has served the Eastern shore in a variety of capacities, including as a former prosecutor. If you need experience and skill on your side. Call today for a consultation at 410-430-1464.