If it is October 1, it must be time for new laws to take effect in Maryland! In the General Assembly this spring, they passed a bunch of new laws. Most of those laws take effect October 1. Here is a rundown of the new laws in Maryland most likely to affect you.
DWI/DUI and Interlock Devices – this is a new law named afer Officer Noah Leotta requires the use of ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers. These are the machines that force you to blow into them and confirm your blood alcohol is less than the legal limit before your car will start. They also require random tests during the drive.
Vehicular Manslaughter – the penalties for those who commit vehicular manslaughter and are also convicted of DUI or DWi have been increased. You can now be sentenced to up to 15 years.
Underage Drinking – It is now illegal to allow an underage person to drink if you know or should have known that they will be driving later. This law is called Alex & Calvin’s Law, after two teenagers who died in a car accident in 2015 after drinking at an underage party.
Stalkers – The legal definition of stalking has been expanded to include causing emotional distress. Previously you had to incite physical fears or threats.
Insurance Cards – you must have your insurance card on you if stopped in your vehicle. The good news is the card can be in electronic format, so you can snap a picture of it and keep it on your phone or in a document/note retention app.
Equal Pay for Equal Work – this new law expands the old law requiring employers to pay members of one gender the same as another gender.
Home Games – If you are 21 years old, you can now play in home card games or Mahjong, as long as the games only happen once a week, and the limit is $1,000 per any 24 hour period. No fees may be charged. Previously, your “friendly” weekend card game with buddies was an illegal gambling operation.
Divorce laws – you no longer need consent or a waiting period to get a divorce, in the right situation. This new law has been the subject of earlier posts, but now it is officially the law.
These are just the laws most likely to affect the average person. All in all, it was a busy year for our lawmakers.