License Following a Prince George’s County First-Offense DUI
Local judges and prosecutors take all DUIs seriously, even first-time offenses. If you are facing charges, you may have concerns about what will happen to your driver’s license following a Prince George’s County first-offense DUI. A seasoned criminal defense attorney could answer your questions and guide you through the process of getting your driving privileges back. Call a lawyer today to begin working towards a resolution of your case.
Levels of DUI License Suspension
There are three different levels associated with DUI license suspensions. The first level is if a person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 to 0.14. Under those circumstances, a person is entitled to a restricted driver’s license if a cause is shown to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to allow them to drive for work-related purposes, school, alcohol education, or medical appointments.
If a person has an alcohol level of 0.15 or above, they are entitled to restricted privileges where they would put an ignition interlock device on their car. This would then allow them to drive during the period of the interlock, which is usually 12 months for a first offense.
If they were somebody who refused the alcohol concentration test, they would be entitled to participate in the ignition interlock program for a year in order to maintain their privilege to drive. Those are administrative sanctions associated with the DUI breathalyzer test.
Challenging a License Suspension
If somebody has a suspension of their license following a Prince George’s County first-offense DUI, they are always permitted to have a hearing with the MVA to challenge either the accuracy of the machine that was testing the breath test or to dispute or explain a refusal.
A dispute of refusal might be to say that they did not refuse the breathalyzer test, the police officer misrepresented what took place, and for that reason, they should not face a suspension. On the other hand, if somebody was also suspended because they were convicted of a DUI or a DWI and got the points, they can also go to the MVA to petition the judges there about why their privilege should not be suspended based on the points that were administered.
Often times, showing good cause like the need to drive for employment purposes, participation in an alcohol education program, and successful completion of other conditions of probation are enough to convince a Motor Vehicle Administration judge that the sanctions associated with that DUI conviction should not be assessed against the driver.
To apply for a restricted license after being charged with DUI, the most important thing is to consult with an attorney who has experience handling the administrative sanctions associated with DUIs to determine whether someone is eligible for a restricted driving privilege. Under certain circumstances, particularly if someone has an alcohol concentration level of 0.08 to 0.14, they will likely be eligible for a restricted privilege to drive. Therefore, spending the money to participate in the MVA hearing to get that restricted privilege is going to be worth their while.
If somebody has an alcohol content level of 0.15 or above or refuses BAC testing, it might not be best to spend the money requesting a restricted driving privilege because the MVA may only offer them the opportunity to participate in the ignition interlock program. They can simply fill out a form, which is usually provided by the police officer at the time of arrest. This would be enough to submit to the Motor Vehicle Administration and allow them to begin participating in the ignition interlock program in an effort to maintain their privilege to drive. An attorney can provide guidance throughout the entire process.
What Happens After Acquittal?
Being acquitted of a DUI usually has nothing to do with the administrative sanctions of the MVA. The MVA sanctions are based on breathalyzer test results or whether the person refused. The standard of proof at the Motor Vehicle Administration is not the same as it is in a criminal court system where it is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. People are able to win based on evidentiary issues in the criminal court system but not have that same victory at the administrative sanction level. One should not assume that because they have been acquitted of their DUI charges, the administrative sanctions would not be imposed. In fact, the opposite is true.
Mistakes to Avoid for First-Time DUI Offenders in Prince George’s County
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is to not take the matter seriously. Many of the things that happen immediately after a DUI are time-sensitive, namely requesting hearings, requesting evidence, and participating in investigations. If a person is not taking the matter seriously and not making those requests in a timely manner, they may be waiving a lot of those opportunities for defense.
If you were charged with a DUI, it is important to contact an attorney who has experience handling DUI cases very early in the process to make sure your rights are protected. A suspension of your license following a Prince George’s County first-offense DUI could have a serious impact on your life, but an attorney could help you get back on the road. Consult with an experienced lawyer today to get started.