Your License After a 1st Time DUI Charge in Montgomery County
Generally speaking, driver’s license penalties are not county specific. Meaning, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration is going to treat a license suspension out of Montgomery County exactly the same as they would treat one from Howard or Prince George’s County. As a Montgomery County first time DUI lawyer can explain, there are three tiers of penalties for license suspensions for first time DUIs.
Tier 1: Low Blow
The first is a low blow, that is, a blowing into the breathalyzer and getting a result between 0.08 and 0.14. If an individual blows between a 0.08 and a 0.14 into a breathalyzer, then the MVA is going to suspend that individual’s driver’s license, or driving privilege in Maryland if they are non-resident, for a period of 45 days. During that 45-day period, the individual is eligible to have that suspension modified to give them a work permit which would allow them to drive back and forth to work, back and forth to school, to alcohol classes, to court-ordered activities or to medical and dental appointments for themselves or their family.
Tier 2: High Blow
In a high blow case, the penalty is significantly harsher. The penalty for a high blow case, that would be a blow of 0.15 for higher is a 90-day hard suspension. That means absolutely no driving for a period of 90 days. The only alternative to that suspension is an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for a period of one year.
Tier 3: Refusal To Submit To a Breath Test
The final tier of penalties for a first offense DUI on the driver’s license side is for a refusal to submit to a chemical test. If an individual refuses to submit to a breath test and the MVA can prove it, then that suspension is a 270-day hard suspension, again, no driving for work, school or any kind of activities. The only way that suspension can be modified is participation in the ignition interlock program for a period of one year, and those penalties are the same in Montgomery County and Howard County and Prince George’s County pretty much anywhere in the state of Maryland.
Challenging The Suspension Of Your License
You can challenge the suspension of your license. There is a process where you request a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings. At that hearing, the MVA has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a fairly low legal standard, that you were operating a motor vehicle, that the officer had a reason to ask you to blow into a breathalyzer, that you were properly advised as to the administrative penalties against your license if you blew or did not blow and then they will have to prove either the blow or the refusal. If the MVA can’t prove any one of those individual elements, then the suspension of your license will not go into effect, but you do need to affirmatively request the hearing in order to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license.
Restricted Licenses After a First Time Montgomery County DUI
There are restricted licenses available in low blow cases, when an individual blows between a 0.08 and 0.14. Those are modified with no requirements to put an ignition interlock device into your vehicle. In high blow or refusal cases, the only kind of modification that’s allowed requires participation in the ignition interlock program.
Getting Your License Back After A 1st DUI
The administrative penalty for a driver’s license suspension is independent of the criminal penalty. What that means is that what happens at court and what happens at the MVA are two totally separate and independent things. So you can have the case dismissed in court, but still lose your license at the MVA or vice versa. You can win the case at the MVA and keep your license, but still lose the case in court.