MVA Administrative Hearings for DUI/DWI in Maryland
If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI in Maryland, you can face serious penalties such as fines, jail time and the suspension of your driver’s license, as well as having a criminal record that can hurt your chances at employment or obtaining a professional license, or harm you in a host of other ways. The good news is that you may have many defenses available to fight the DUI charges and obtain an acquittal or dismissal of charges, and if your arrest is for a first offense, you may have additional options to obtain probation or other results that avoid a criminal conviction.
It is also important to know that the suspension of your driver’s license is an administrative process that is separate from the criminal process. In fact, you could have the criminal case dismissed and still wind up with a license suspension. There are steps you can take to protect your license, but if you do not act quickly, these rights may be lost.
Maryland Driver’s License Suspension Process
The process to suspend your license begins with your DUI arrest. At that point, the arresting officer takes your driver’s license and issues you a temporary license which is valid for 45 days. On the 46th day after your arrest, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) acts to suspend your license. If you failed the breathalyzer test (blew more than .08%), then your license is suspended for 45 days on a first offense, or 90 days for a subsequent offense. If you refused to take the test (which is required under Maryland’s implied consent law), then your license is suspended for 120 days if this is your first refusal, or one year for a subsequent offense.
The time before your license is suspended is a critical period. You can request a hearing with the MVA to dispute the suspension of your license, and there are many defenses you may have available to successfully challenge and prevent the suspension. If you request this hearing within ten days of your DUI arrest, then a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days, and your driver’s license will not be suspended before the hearing.
It is possible to request a hearing up to 30 days after your initial arrest. However, if you wait longer than ten days, a hearing may not be scheduled for 45 days, and your license will be suspended upon the expiration of your temporary license – 46 days after your arrest. For your best chance at keeping your driver’s license intact throughout the entire process, it is important to request the MVA hearing within ten days from your arrest.
An administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will hear your case and decide whether your license should be suspended or not. If you disagree with the outcome, you have 30 days to appeal the OAH decision to the Circuit Court in your county of residence.
You are entitled to be represented by an attorney at the MVA hearing. Having knowledgeable, effective legal representation at the MVA hearing can not only help you keep your license but also position you for the best chances of avoiding a conviction in a criminal trial. In Prince George’s County, contact the Law Office of Jermaine D. Hammonds for assistance.