Even if your case is thrown out in court, you can still face loss of your driver’s license based on a DUI arrest. § 16-205.1 of the Transportation article of the Maryland Code spells out the driver’s license consequences of an arrest for DUI.
If a person submits a breath test with a result between .08 and .14, he or she faces a 45-day suspension of driving privileges for a first offense, or a 90-day suspension for a subsequent offense. For first offenses, this 45-day suspension is modifiable. Modification means that an administrative law judge from the Office of Administrative Hearings can give a suspended driver permission to drive for work, school, alcohol education, and medical appointments during the period of suspension.
If a person submits a breath test with a result of .15 or higher, he or she faces a 90-day suspension of driving privileges for a first offense, and a 180-day suspension for any subsequent offenses. These suspensions cannot be modified unless the driver agrees to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program for one year. In other words, if you blew a .15 or higher, unless you win at your MVA hearing, the only type of modified license that you can get requires you to put an Ignition Interlock into your car for one year. An administrative law judge can allow a person with an Interlock to drive an employer’s non-Interlock vehicles while on the job.
If a person refuses to submit to the breathalyzer test at the police station, the MVA will try to suspend their license for 120 days for a first refusal and for a full year for any subsequent refusals. These suspensions cannot be modified unless the driver agrees to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program for one year. In other words, if you refused to take a breathalyzer test at the police station, unless you win at your MVA hearing, the only type of modified license that you can get requires you to put an Ignition Interlock into your car for one year. An administrative law judge can allow a person with an Interlock to drive an employer’s non-Interlock vehicles while on the job.
In order to challenge the MVA’s suspension or to request a modification of the suspension, you must request a hearing. The hearing request and a check for $125 made out to “Maryland State Treasurer” must be postmarked within 10 days of your arrest in order for you to get a temporary license that will allow you to drive until the date of your hearing. The MVA will allow a person to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program without a hearing. The Hearing Request form and the Interlock Participation form are both on the temporary driver’s license that the officer issued at the police station. This form is labeled “DR-15A” in the upper right-hand corner.
Here is more information on the law surrounding driving under the influence (DUI).
DUI attorney Edward Tayter explains the process of license removal following a DUI arrest, via transcribed interview segments.
“Initially, everyone loses his or her license and is issued a 45-day temporary license. So nothing happens at first; everyone gets to drive for 45 days from the date of the incident automatically. Then there’s three sets of different penalties. The way I kind of think of them is there’s a low blow penalty, blowing under 0.15. Then there’s a 0.08 to a 0.14, a high blow penalty. And finally there’s blowing a 0.15 or above, or a refusal penalty.”
“Low blow is the easiest penalty to live with. It’s a 45-day suspension, which is modifiable, meaning you can get a work permit, drive back and forth to work, for school, for medical appointments, for alcohol classes, for stuff you need to do. And the suspension is only for 45 days, so that’s kind of the lightest penalty against your driver’s license.”
“The second tier up is the high blow case, the case where an individual blows 0.15 or higher. In that case, it’s a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license with no modification other than doing ignition interlock for one year. In other words, you can either do 90 days no driving or a year with one of those breathalyzer machines, the ignition interlock device in your car.”
“Then finally there’s the refusal penalties, which are pretty similar to a high blow. The penalty for refusal is 120 days no driving or, again, the same one year with the ignition interlock. So from a driver’s point of view, it’s going to feel very similar whether it’s a refusal or a high blow, compared to blowing below a 0.15.”
“Actually, there’s two kinds of restricted licenses. There’s the low blow restricted license, which doesn’t require an interlock. That just says you can only drive for limited purposes, employment, education, alcohol classes, etc. Then there’s the other type of restricted license, which is the interlock restricted license. The interlock restricted license doesn’t limit when, where or for what purpose you can drive. It just says that you can only operate a motor vehicle that’s equipped with one of these ignition interlock devices.”
“In order to get the modified license, in the case of a low blow, you need to request an administrative hearing. You need to go to one of the judges at the office of administrative hearings and ask them to modify the suspension. Assuming that it’s a first offense and assuming the person can show a need to drive, and assuming the person shows that they’ve enrolled in alcohol classes, which usually, after the mitigation to any risk that they pose to public safety, then they can usually get that restricted license.”
“Well, there is another part. The ignition interlock restricted license, you don’t need to request a hearing if you want to do the ignition interlock. You can just have the interlock installed, go to the MVA and have them issue you a new license. It’s important to talk to a lawyer before deciding what you’re going to do with your license because sometimes these cases are winnable, and if the case is winnable, then it always would make sense to request a hearing, because then you may be able to avoid the suspension of your license entirely.”
A criminal defense attorney with experience in DUI litigation can help you with your MVA hearing. Legal counsel during the MVA process can increase your chances of a positive outcome, and may help you avoid losing your license, or at the very least, help you minimize the effect of your DUI charges on your driving privileges.
If you are seeking a criminal defense attorney in the wake of your DUI in Maryland, don’t neglect to take the MVA hearing process seriously. An MVA lawyer can help. The Law Office of Edward Tayter can guide you through the MVA license hearing all across the state of Maryland..