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Missouri residents may be interested in learning that in April, Maryland became the 26th state to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all DWI offenders, including people who receive their first convictions. This comes after a push from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to make installation of the devices mandatory for DWI offenders in every state.

States that have passed such laws reportedly have reduced drunk driving fatalities by up to half. MADD states that an estimated 1.7 million attempts to drive drunk have been stopped by ignition interlock devices installed in vehicles. There is legislation pending in other states that would make interlock devices mandatory for first offenders, including North Carolina, California, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan.

When an ignition interlock device is installed, a vehicle won't start if the person is unable to prove he or she has not been drinking by blowing into the device. MADD says the devices are very important for reducing drunk driving. Up to one-third of those who are convicted of the offense have prior convictions for driving drunk, and experts estimate that a person who is convicted of a DWI offense has likely driven drunk around 80 times before being caught.

Driving while intoxicated in Missouri can bring both criminal and administrative penalties. People who are facing criminal charges for allegedly driving drunk may want to get help from a criminal defense attorney so that a strategy can be constructed to combat them. In some cases, an attorney might question the validity of the initial traffic stop on the basis that it was made without the requisite probable cause. In others, the attorney could challenge the roadside or breath tests by asserting that they were improperly administered.

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