Maryland License Suspension Lawyer
Under Maryland law, if a person’s license is suspended, they are prohibited from operating any vehicle until the suspension period is complete and they have satisfied the reinstatement requirements. It is a serious offense to be caught driving on a suspended license and this offense could result in up to one year of incarceration, a $1,000 fine, and up to 12 points on their driver’s record. It is also very likely that the insurance company will raise a person’s premiums if they are found guilty of driving on a suspended license.
There are several reasons why a person’s license may get suspended, but in court, a prosecutor only needs to prove a person was stopped by a police officer, and that at the time, their license had been suspended by the Maryland MVA. Therefore if you have been accused of driving while on a suspended license it is important you consult with a Maryland license suspension lawyer as soon as possible to help give you the best opportunity for a positive outcome in your case. An experienced traffic lawyer can assist both in mitigating the damage of the offense and ensuring that your rights were not violated during the course of the traffic stop.
Causes of License Suspension
There are many ways that a person can have their Maryland license suspended. The most common causes of license suspension include:
- Failure to appear at a scheduled court date.
- Failure to pay court costs or fines.
- Failure to pay a fine after the court ordered it. The individual’s license will remain suspended until the fine is paid in full.
- An accumulation of too many points on a person’s driver’s record. For example, if a person received several small traffic violations (one or two points each), the tickets could add up to a license suspension.
- Being found liable for a serious offense can also lead to a suspension.
Another cause of license suspension is if an individual falls behind on his or her child support obligations. The Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) will determine whether it wants to suspend the individual’s license if he or she falls behind on payments for a minimum of 60 days. In the case the CSEA decides to move forward with a license suspension, they can instruct the MVA to suspend the individual’s license.
Other offenses that may result in a license suspension include being determined medically unfit by the Medical Advisory Board, violating a driver’s license restriction, refusing to take an alcohol breath test, or a DUI conviction.
License Suspension Following a DUI
If a person is found driving under the influence of alcohol, their license will be taken away at the time of their arrest. A person will most likely be issued a 45-day temporary driver’s license. Upon receiving the temporary driver’s license, a person can request an administrative hearing, and the MVA will extend the temporary license until the hearing date.
A person also has the option to participate in the Ignition Interlock program for one year. Individuals in this program will have an ignition interlock unit installed in their vehicle. which analyzes the alcohol on their breath. Upon entering the vehicle, the driver must blow into the unit, which analyzes the alcohol on their breath. If his or her breath alcohol level exceeds the accepted limit, the vehicle will not turn on. Participants of the program are responsible for paying the fees associated with the installation of the device as well as monthly maintenance.
If an individual does not request an administrative hearing or participate in the Ignition Interlock program by the 45th day after the arrest, their driver’s license will be suspended. A breath test result over .08 but less than .15 will result in a 45-day license suspension for the first offense and 90 days for a second or subsequent offense. If the breath test result is .15 or more, the license may be suspended for 90 days for a first offense and 180 days for a subsequent offense. The suspension for refusal to take the breath test is 270 days for a first offense and one year for a second or subsequent offense which makes consulting with a license suspension lawyer in Maryland extremely important.
Challenging a Suspension
If you or your Maryland license suspension attorney requests an administrative hearing to challenge the license suspension, the MVA will send documentary evidence to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Usually, this will include a person’s driving record, a form advising them of their rights, and the breath test results.
The MVA must prove to the administrative law judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe the individual was driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol. There has to be evidence of the following:
- The use of alcohol
- That they were advised of their right to submit or refuse a breath test at the police station
- That they were asked to take the breath test
- That they either drove with a breath alcohol concentration of .08 or above OR refused to take the BAC test.
The individual must be found not guilty of driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol before they are able to get their license back. Assuming the documentation provided by the MVA is not able to show reasonable grounds that they were doing so, the administrative law judge will take no action against the individual’s driving privileges. Their license will be given back, pending the results of the DUI case in the Maryland District Court.
Role of an Attorney
Once your request for administrative hearing has been received, the Office of Administrative Hearings will notify your attorney of the location, date, and time of your administrative hearing.
The Maryland license suspension lawyer will appear with you at your hearing and provide the administrative law judge with arguments on your behalf, arguing against the MVA suspending your license. The attorney may also request that the administrative law judge modify the suspension and give approval to obtain a restricted license.