Maryland MVA Hearing Attorney
If you are charged with a DUI you are likely wondering about the implications for your future. Depending upon the factual circumstances of your case, such as your BAC, whether you submitted to chemical testing, whether it was your first offense, and whether anyone else was implicated, the consequences for a conviction will vary. However, almost anytime you are arrested for DUI or DWI, law enforcement will confiscate your driver’s license, if you are a Maryland licensee. Your driving privileges will be jeopardized unless you request a MVA hearing within 30 days to contest the suspension or revocation of your license. It is recommended that you consult the advice of an experienced Maryland MVA lawyer to assist you during the proceedings.
A Maryland DUI Lawyer will be familiar with the administrative law of Maryland, as applied to DUI, and is ready and willing to assist you. Contact a Maryland MVA lawyer today for a free initial consultation of your case.
- The Process of an MVA Hearing
- Burden of Proof in MVA Hearings
- Difference Between DUI and MVA Hearings
The DUI/DWI Stop
If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer when he or she has reasonable articulable suspicion that you are driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), the officer will, depending upon the circumstances, attempt to establish probable cause to make an arrest. In order to do so, the officer will evaluate your general demeanor, driving behavior, and Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFTS). Additionally, an officer may utilize a portable breath testing (PBT) instrument as a means of demonstrating probable cause to make an arrest. This test is used to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
You will be advised of your rights prior to making the decision of whether or not to submit to the alcohol breath test. These rights are read from the DR-15, a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) form that serves as a record for your decision to take or refuse the breath test and explains the protocols for chemical testing. However, it is important to understand that there is no penalty for refusing a portable breath test on the side of the road.
If you elect to take the alcohol breath test and fail, or refuse to take the alcohol breath test, there will be consequences for your drivers license, or your driving privilege if you are not a Maryland licensee. If you have an in-state driver’s license, the arresting officer will confiscate the license and issue you a DR-15A (which is discussed in the following section). Alternatively, if you have an out-of-state license, your driver’s license will not be confiscated. However, the arresting officer will still issue a form that suspends your right to driver in the state of Maryland.
If you have a Maryland driver’s license, upon arrest an officer will issue you what is known as a DR-15A. This is a piece of paper that serves as both an order for the suspension of your driver’s license, and the issuance of a temporary license. This temporary license is good for 45 days from the date of your arrest. In effect, there is no immediate revocation of your right to drive. However, after the conclusion of the 45 days your right to drive will be automatically suspended. The length of the suspension is contingent upon your BAC at the time of the breath test, and whether or not it is your first or subsequent offense. If you registered between a 0.08 and a 0.14 (known as a “low blow”), and it was your first offense, upon the expiration of the temporary license your driving privileges will be suspended for 45 days.
Here is more information regarding license suspensions in Maryland.
What Is a MVA Hearing?
A Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing takes place before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), in which the status of your driving privileges is determined. You will have ten days from the issuance of the DR-15A to schedule an MVA hearing to contest the automatic suspension of your driving privileges. If you elect to forego your right to contest the suspension, the inability to drive can have a serious imposition on your livelihood. It is recommended that you schedule an MVA hearing to safeguard your driving privileges, and moreover, retain legal counsel to represent you at the proceedings.
How Can An Attorney Help?
Administrative law is often complex, and if you have just been charged with a DUI, more likely than not you are overwhelmed and unsure of the best course of action to take. Having the support of a Maryland MVA lawyer can help to put you at ease, as he or she will be familiar with the administrative law in Maryland, and how best to represent your interests at a MVA hearing. Such an attorney will be able to present a case on your behalf, and craft a defense strategy that will put you in the best possible position to retain your right to drive. While you are not required to retain legal counsel, assuming the burden of understanding administrative law is both arduous and not recommended. This is particularly the case if you would like to file an appeal of the administrative judge’s decision.
Can I Appeal The OAH’s Decision?
You do have the opportunity to file an appeal of the OAH’s decision in a MVA hearing. In the event that you did not secure legal counsel for the initial MVA hearing, electing not to do so on appeal will, more likely than not, yield a similar result. Importantly, you must file for an appeal within 30 days after the OAH hearing date.