If you’re charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Maryland, your license can be suspended even if you’ve just committed your first offense. The officer who charged you can also confiscate your license on the spot and issue you a temporary driving license. Fortunately, it’s possible to challenge this license suspension through a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).
Starting the hearing process
While you can challenge a license suspension, the hearing won’t automatically happen unless you request one. You have 30 days from the date you were charged with DUI to request a hearing from the MVA. But even if you request a hearing, your temporary driving license could expire before the hearing. To ensure you don’t lose your driving privileges, you must submit your request 10 days from the traffic stop that landed you a DUI charge.
If you don’t submit a request for a hearing within 30 days, your license suspension automatically takes effect on the 46th day from the date of the traffic stop. Similarly, if you submit a request for a hearing within 30 days but after 10 days from the date of the traffic stop, the license suspension on the 46th day still pushes through on top of your lost driving privileges.
During the hearing process
Unlike a court procedure for a DUI charge, the MVA hearing will only involve the driver, their attorney (if any), and the administrative law judge. The judge will go over any documentation related to your case such as police reports, your blood alcohol content (BAC) level test results, evidence of a substance that caused intoxication, and so on. The judge will also consider aggravating actions, such as whether you refused a Breathalyzer or chemical test or caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person.
The judge will allow you to testify during the hearing, which can be your one chance to prevent your license from getting suspended. Having a legal professional by your side during the procedure can be helpful since an attorney can argue on your behalf. And if all else fails and the judge decides to suspend your license, an attorney may be able to have the license restricted or modified instead.