Three of the five surviving bills from Gov. Harry Hughes' nine-part package of legislation to strengthen Maryland's drunken-driving laws were enacted Tuesday by the House of Delegates and sent to Hughes for his signature. a fourth bill was passed by the House but returned to the Senate for concurrence on an amendment.
The four bills given final approval by the House modify slightly some of the tough laws against drunken drivers passed over the last couple of years.
One involves the suspension of the registration of a vehicle if a person is caught driving while intoxicated on a license already suspended or revoked for a previous alcohol-related offense. The new bill would allow for such suspensions even if the driver is not the sole person holding title to the vehicle, provided that the title holder knew that the driver's license was suspended or revoked.
Two other bills that will be sent to Hughes would raise the Motor Vehicle Administration penalty for a drunk-driving conviction from six to eight points and prohibit judges from giving probation before judgment to motorists convicted more than once in a five-year period of an alcohol-related offense.
The other bill passed by the House would increase from four months to one year the automatic license-suspension penalty for suspected drunken drivers who refuse to take a breath test for a second or subsequent time.
The Senate had passed the bill calling for a penalty of from six months to one year, and must now decide between the two versions.