Administrative Per Se Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Hearings
The first thing that someone arrested for drunk driving in state court in Maryland needs to do (other than immediately schedule a consultation with a lawyer) is, WITHIN 10 DAYS OF ARREST, request a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings, located in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
If there is a breath or blood test with a result of .08 or more, or the person is alleged to have refused the test, then the arresting officer probably took the driver's license and issued a 45 day temporary driver's license. THERE IS AN IMPORTANT EXCEPTION TO THE NEED TO REQUEST A HEARING. IF THE PERSON HAS A TEST READING OF .15 OR HIGHER OR A SECOND OFFENSE IN UNDER 5 YEARS THE PERSON WITHIN 30 DAYS OF ARREST MAY WANT TO INSTALL AN INTERLOCK AND GIVE UP THE RIGHT TO HAVE A HEARING. AN ATTORNEY SHOULD BE CONSULTED IMMEDIATELY TO HELP MAKE THIS DECISION.
The temporary license is actually a white piece of paper that should be attached to an almost identical piece of white paper. The second page is the hearing request copy and should be mailed to the Office of Administrative Hearings certified, return receipt requested IMMEDIATELY if requesting a hearing. (Don't forget to include a check for $150 made payable to the Maryland State Treasurer.) The back of the driver's copy contains the information for installing an interlock and not going to a hearing. Since the temporary license is only good for 45 days, persons requesting a hearing within 10 days of its issuance should receive in the mail an extension of the license that is good until the hearing.
If the hearing request is postmarked more than 10 days after arrest the applicable suspension may begin to run if the hearing is scheduled more than 45 days after arrest. If the hearing request is postmarked more than 30 days after arrest, you probably can't get a hearing!
The hearings are held before administrative law judges in Hunt Valley or at MVA branch offices. The suspension for a test result over .08 but less than .15 is 45 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second or subsequent offense. The suspension if the test result is .15 or more is 90 days for a first offense and 180 days for a subsequent offense. The suspension for a refusal is 120 days for a first offense and one year for a second or subsequent offense. In some circumstances drivers may be able to avoid a complete suspension if they are willing to install an interlock device in their vehicle for at least one year.
A person who refuses the breath test or blows with a test result of .15 or more is not eligible for a work permit. Instead the applicable license or privilege suspension periods for .15 or more are 90 days for a first offense and 180 days for a subsequent offense. For a refusal the applicable suspension is 120 days for a first offense and one year for a subsequent offense. If the person needs to drive they may only continue to drive if the Administrative Law Judge grants an interlock for a minimum of one year. This option is also available if the person installs an interlock, gives up the hearing, and signs up for the ignition interlock program within 30 days of arrest.
A lawyer can be very helpful in developing defenses to these suspensions in many cases and in assisting the driver to obtain work or education related privileges where the driver is eligible. Unfavorable decisions may be appealed within thirty days of an administrative decision to the circuit court of the county where the driver resides.
The hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings, where the driver can lose his or her driver's license or privilege is completely independent of the hearing at court where the potential sanctions can include jail, fine, probation, and imposition of points, for which the driver may have his or her license suspended again, after the DUI/DWI is heard in court.
Out-of-state drivers who are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving might be getting very mixed messages about their privilege to drive, both in Maryland as well as in their state of residence. During your initial consultation with the attorneys at Goldstein & Stamm, P.A. we will easily be able to clarify these issues for out-of-state drivers.
In Maryland, it is important to see a lawyer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after being charged with drunk driving, to fully protect your rights.
If you are facing criminal or traffic charges in Maryland state or federal court, call Leonard R. Stamm of Goldstein & Stamm, P.A. at 301-345-0122 for a free consultation.
Author: West's Maryland DUI Law