If you’ve been charged with drunk driving in Maryland, you’re probably aware that the offense has implications for your driving privileges and criminal penalties. Because DUI/DWI is a crime, your case will proceed before a criminal court to determine guilt and sentencing. However, the case involving your ability to drive is not criminal in nature: This proceeding goes before the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) where a hearing will determine your driving privileges. The
Top 5 most frequently asked questions about this process are:
1. What happens to my license when I’m arrested for DUI/DWI?
When you fail a test to assess your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or refuse to take the test, your license will be confiscated by police. The arresting officer will give you a temporary license to drive for 45 days, or until your hearing date before the MVA (if you request one).
2. Can I contest the suspension of my driver’s license?
Yes, you can request a hearing before the MVA to contest the charges of DUI/DWI. However, you must do so within 10 days after being charged with the offense. Once you file the proper forms to request a hearing, the MVA will schedule a hearing within the 45-day time period that you are driving on a temporary license. If the hearing is not scheduled during this time, you will receive an extension on the temporary license.
3. How do I prepare for the MVA hearing?
First, you should consult with a Maryland DUI attorney about your case, for the reasons discussed below. In addition, you should consider entering a state-approved alcohol program before the hearing to demonstrate that you’re serious about addressing the DUI. Also, if you intend to request a modified driver’s license allowing you to drive in connection with your employment, you should bring evidence that driving is necessary for your job.
4. Should I consult with a Maryland DUI lawyer for my MVA hearing?
Your chances for a positive outcome at the MVA hearing are greatly increased if you have an experienced DUI attorney representing your interests. Lawyers know the law regarding drunk driving and can present any defenses to the charges. Plus, an attorney has negotiation skills that may be an advantage in arranging for reduced charges or less severe sentencing.
5. Will I need to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
A recent change to Maryland law requires any driver convicted of drunk driving to install an IID on their vehicle for a minimum of six months. An IID is a piece of equipment that prevents a vehicle’s engine from starting if it detects a BAC above a designated level when the driver breathes into it.
The answers to these frequently asked questions are no substitute for the advice and counsel of a qualified Maryland DUI/DWI attorney. An experienced lawyer can prepare you for your MVA hearing and represent you throughout the process. If you’ve been charged with drunk driving and are facing a hearing regarding your driver’s license, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss your case.
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