Challenging a License Suspension After an Ocean City DUI
If the license suspension is based on the refusal to take a breath test or if the suspension is based on having blown a certain breath test result you can challenge that through a hearing held at the MVA.
An administrative law judge would listen to that hearing and determine if the officer had had the reasonable grounds to ask that person to take a breath test.
The case law on that issue is not very good for the driver right now. It’s very pro-state, requiring only that the officer have a reasonable basis to believe that the driver has consumed alcohol. It can be as simple as the officer testifying that he smelled the odor of alcohol on the driver.
That’ a pretty low standard and in my experience at those hearings, nine times out of ten, the hearing officer is going to say “I think that the officer had a reasonable basis to ask you to take the test.”
But if they blow a .08, but less than a .15, their suspension can be modified. So the person can request a hearing, and that’s usually what I tell someone.
If somebody comes to me and they tell me that they took a breath test and it was something between .08 but it was less than a .15, then oftentimes, I will recommend that they request the hearing with the MVA because there is a very good chance that they will be able to get a modified license.
With a modified license, they would be able to drive for some very specific circumstances like going to work or attending school or attending doctor’s appointment, if they have a medical condition and you know and maybe they have to you know, meet with the doctor every week, they can have the ability to drive for those very limited purpose.
There are some time limits for requesting a hearing in Ocean City, Maryland. You need to request a hearing, essentially, right away. From the date they are stopped they have ten days to request the hearing. They are given paperwork by the police officer that explains they have to fill it out and send it in in order to request a hearing.
And they would need to do that within ten days of the date of the stop. If they do that, if they file their paperwork within ten days, then the temporary license that they received from the police officer will be extended.
They will be allowed to drive until they have a hearing at the MVA. So that ten day time frame is very, very important. Because if you wait until the eleventh day, you still will be able to have the hearing, but the automatic suspension of the license goes into effect and becomes much more difficult to overcome.
If the person asks or filled out the paperwork and they do it outside of the ten day time frame, the MVA will usually extend the person’s privilege to drive.
That means that the drive has to take that additional step and ask the MVA to extend that temporary license; versus if you do it within the first ten days, you don’t have to ask for permission to drive. It’s an automatic extension of the temporary license.
If you request a hearing that’s post marked 30 days after you were stopped, then you can pretty much count on they’re going to refuse you to have the right to have that hearing.