Drunk drivers involved in deadly crashes in Maryland will face tougher penalties starting Thursday.
Offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher will have their license suspended for six months for their first offense and one year for a second offense.
If a driver's BAC is .15 or higher, the new penalty will impose a one year license suspension for their first offense. The driver will lose their license completely if it's a second offense.
Several other laws approved in Maryland's last legislative session will also take effect Thursday. Here are some things to know about them:
People with certain nonviolent misdemeanor criminal records will have their records blocked from public view under certain conditions after three years. The law is aimed at helping people with criminal records get jobs. It applies to people who have served their sentences, including probation and parole, and who have maintained clean records.
State highway officials will be able to increase the state's speed limit from 65 to 70 miles per hour on specified highways.
Maryland social service agencies will be able to keep children in foster care if there is severe abuse by biological parents or if parents do not protect their children from serious mistreatment. The law is named for Anaya Williams, a 21-month-old Frederick girl who officials say died in a beating by her father after she was returned to her parents under a federal law that generally requires state social service agencies to try to reunite families.
Couples in failing marriages won't be required to have a one-year separation to get a divorce, if they do not have any minor children in common and reach a settlement agreement that resolves all issues related to a dissolved marriage, such as alimony and distribution of property.
An update to the Maryland Public Information Act takes effect. A five-member compliance board will address fee disputes, and an ombudsman will handle disagreements between government agencies and members of the public attempting to access records.
People can file petitions to have crimes expunged from their records if the act on which the conviction was based is no longer a crime.
The Maryland State Police will be required to develop an alert program to find missing drivers in hit-and-run incidents that result in serious injury.
The state is repealing a requirement for handgun manufacturers to provide gun dealers with shell casings of bullets fired from handguns.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS AND POLYGRAPHS
Maryland correctional officer applicants will be required to pass a polygraph exam.
State prohibitions against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace will be extended to interns.