Each year as the summer months approach the Maryland State Police tries to send a clear message that DUI enforcement will be a top priority. This year the MSP sent that message by way of a DUI saturation patrol during a targeted Cinco De Mayo enforcement. Numerous state police installations as well as the State Police Impaired Driving Effort or SPIDRE were out in full force this past Monday to specifically look for impaired and unsafe drivers. When the dust settled on the morning of May 6th, troopers had tallied 81 drunk driving arrests, which is nearly eight times more arrests than on normal weekday. Troopers also issued over 700 citations and over 1,000 speed violation warnings. And yes, we are surprised as well that the state troopers issued more warnings than tickets. The MSP issued a press release the following day, but it did not seem to pick up a ton of media attention, as only one outlet that we could find published the story. Nonetheless, this is definitely a sign of more targeted enforcements and press releases to come. And with the Memorial Day holiday just weeks away you can bet that another DUI saturation patrol is on the horizon.
The state police like to target holidays as the times to conduct their enhanced drunk driving enforcement operations. There are more people out and about on holiday weekends, and there is a greater likelihood of media attention during these times. But the truth of the matter is that all summer long the MSP will be focused certain DUI hot spots. Other police agencies as well are bound to step up their enforcement. The Ocean City Police is an obvious example of a department whose drunk driving arrests will increase exponentially during the summer months. In fact, the OCPD has already commenced ramping up their enforcement as the seasonal bars and nightclubs have started to open.
There is a good chance that DUI enforcement efforts and other related stories will start to appear more frequently in the news as summer approaches. And it would be a welcome return for the numerous lobbyists groups and activists. DUI was a topic that was largely ignored during this year’s legislative session, and almost completely overshadowed in the criminal law arena by changes to the state marijuana policy. Lost in all the decriminalization and medical marijuana talk was a bill that is about to become law, which makes it an enhanced offense to be arrested for drunk driving with a minor under the age of 16 in the car. Upon becoming law, House Bill 1015 will require those convicted of a DUI with a minor present to enroll in the same engine interlock program as those drivers convicted with a breath or blood alcohol level above .15. Failure to complete the engine interlock program would result in license suspension that would remain in effect until the program is completed. This law change is not that dramatic, but it is always important for lobbyist groups such as MADD and SADD to keep their issue relevant and in the news. This new legislation did not really have that effect, as few people even know about the law. But the summer months are bound to provide DUI lobbyists with renewed media attention for their cause.
Benjamin Herbst is a Maryland DUI lawyer who handles all types of traffic and criminal violations. Contact Benjamin anytime for a free consultation about your case. He is available by phone at 410-207-2598 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.