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Baltimore DUI Driver’s License Penalties

There are three potential sets of penalties for an individual’s driver license when charged with a DUI. One applies if an individual submits to a breathalyzer test and blows between a 0.08 and 0.14. The second set of penalties applies if an individual submits to a breathalyzer test and blows a 0.15 or higher. The final set of penalties applies if an individual refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station.

Regardless of which category your case falls under it is imperative a Baltimore DUI lawyer is contacted. An attorney can help build a defense based on the circumstances of your case and mitigate the damage as much as possible. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.

Low Blow License Penalties

In the first case, the low blow case where individual blows under a 0.15 on the first offense, that is a 45-day suspension of your driver’s license or driving privilege in the State of Maryland if you are not a Maryland licensed driver. That 45-day suspension is modifiable. It can be modified to allow you to drive to and from work during the course of employment and to and from any kind of educational activities that you are enrolled in— usually college for DUI suspects.

It will let you drive for alcohol treatment, any kind of court ordered activities, and medical or dental appointments for yourself or your family. That modification does not extend the period of the suspension. It is still just a 45-day suspension. It just allows an individual to drive during the period of license suspension.

Higher Blow License Penalties

In the second case where an individual blows a 0.15 or higher, the suspended license is for 90 days. That suspension cannot be modified. There’s no type of work permit or school permit available in the high blow case. The only way that the suspension can be modified is if an individual decides to participate in the Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MVA) ignition interlock program for a period of one year.

Basically, in a case where an individual blows 0.15 or higher and the MVA is able to prove that, the individual will have to choose between 90 days no driving or one year with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle.

License Penalties for Test Refusal

In the third and final situation, that is when the individual refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test.

The license suspension there is a 270-day license suspension. Or again, it can be modified if an individual agrees to participate in the ignition interlock program. In a refusal case, if the MVA can prove all of the elements required at an administrative hearing, then the individual will have to choose between no driving whatsoever for 270 days or one year with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle.

Test Refusal v. Second Offense License Penalties

There’s not a significant difference between the penalties for a high blow or a refusal. The high blow is 90 days no driving or one year with interlock. The refusal is 270 days no driving or one year with interlock. The penalties for those are very similar. That’s something that people want to keep in mind when deciding whether it makes sense to submit to a breathalyzer test. On a second or subsequent case where an individual has either previously blown or previously refused, that would cause an enhanced suspension, meaning the suspension would go on for longer in any one of the given situations.

In a case where an individual has previously blown, a second suspension for a blow would double the period of time. For a second blow under a 0.15, the period of suspension is 90 days. For a second blow in excess of a 0.15, the period of suspension is 180 days. In a refusal case where there have been prior refusals, the penalty for a second refusal is a full year of no driving. The penalty for a second refusal is significantly greater than the penalty for a second blow.

Factors That Influence License Penalties

That’s really going to depend on if the MVA is able to prove their case. To suspend an individual’s driver’s license or driving privilege, the standard of proof is significantly lower than in the criminal court. To convict an individual of DUI, the state needs to prove all of the elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. For the MVA to suspend an individual’s license or privilege to drive, the MVA needs to prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence which is the lowest legal standard that exists. That’s all that the MVA needs to show to suspend an individual’s driver’s license, which is a far cry from proof beyond reasonable doubt.

With that said, there are still elements that they need to proven to suspend an individual’s driver’s license. They need to prove that the individual was operating the motor vehicle, that the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual operating that vehicle was impaired, and that the individual was properly advised of the administrative penalties. The MVA, however, is not required to follow the standard rules of evidence in proving the case. Motor vehicle administration hearings are conducted under the Administrative Procedures Act and the rules of evidence therein.

Those rules essentially say that if evidence is relevant and probative to the case, then it can come in and the administrative judge gets to decide what weight to apply to that evidence. That means that the MVA hearing will not require that the officer appear. The officer can submit paperwork, which the administrative judge can take without the officer there to testify or to cross examine. In court, the state would need to bring in the officer to testify to any of those stops.