Penalties for Drunk Driving in Maryland | Jimeno & Gray, P.A.
One of the first questions people often ask when charged with a drinking and driving related offense is “Will I lose my license?” If you have taken a breath or blood test with a result of .08 alcohol content or greater OR of if you refused the test of breath or blood after being informed of the consequences by a police officer, then the wants you to lose your license. Keep in mind that the penalty for refusing the test is more severe than taking the test and having a reading over .08.
If you took a test with a result of .08 or greater or refused to take the test, you are entitled to a hearing at which time the Administrative Law Judge from the Office of Administrative Hearings will decide whether the MVA’s proposed suspension is appropriate, or you may be entitled to opt into the Ignition Interlock Program without a hearing. However, in order to get this important hearing, or to opt into the Ignition Interlock Program, – AND TO SAVE YOUR LICENSE – you must ask for it, quickly.
For more information, see Ignition Interlock Device Questions.
The arresting police officer took your Maryland driver’s license from you if you either refused the test or registered a .08 or greater. The arresting officer in turn gives you a temporary license. This temporary driver’s license is just that, a driver’s license that takes the place of your permanent laminated license, temporarily.
That temporary driver’s license is good for forty-five (45) days, with the day you are issued the temporary driver’s license being day number one. After forty-five (45) days, it expires unless an extension letter is received by the driver from the Motor Vehicle Administration.
If you want an Administrative Hearing, it is crucial to send in the hearing request form given to you by the police officer immediately: Send it in certified mail, return receipt requested along with a check in the amount of $125.00 made payable to the Maryland State Treasurer.
If this form is postmarked within the first ten (10) days after the date of the incident, with the date of the incident being day one, you should get an Administrative Hearing and are entitled to an extension letter from the Motor Vehicle Administration extending the temporary driver’s license until the Administrative Hearing is concluded.
If the request for hearing is postmarked more than ten (10) days but less than thirty (30) days from the date of the incident, the temporary driver’s license expires after forty-five (45) days. Unfortunately, if the Administrative Hearing is scheduled more than forty-five (45) days from the date of the offense, this means that you could have no license during this gap.
If the hearing is requested more than thirty (30) days from the date of the incident you will not get a hearing and your license will be suspended automatically.
A lawyer is crucial at the Administrative Hearing in presenting your case and in convincing the Administrative Law Judge why you should not be given a suspended license as the MVA requests.
If a driver has refused the test of blood or breath, the MVA will seek to suspend that person’s license for 120 days for first offense, and 1 year for a second or subsequent offense. These sanctions can be avoided in some cases by agreeing to install an ignition interlock system and by working with an attorney to present the appropriate mitigation.
If you take a test with a result of .08 or greater, but less than .15, the administrative penalty is a forty-five (45) day suspension for a first offense and ninety (90) days for a second or subsequent offense. These suspensions also can be modified under the appropriate circumstances and an experienced attorney can explain how this can be done. This suspension can be modified to allow you to drive to and from work, while for work purposes, to and from any alcohol and drug education programs, and to and from any post secondary education classes a driver might be attending.
The Administrative Hearing is completely separate from anything that may occur in a Court of law. For instance, even if a person is found not guilty in Court, the MVA will still try and suspend the person’s license. These decisions are an important step, one that can have very serious consequences if it is not handled correctly.
If you refused to take the breath test or the result was a .15 or greater, you have the opportunity to opt into the Ignition Interlock Program for a period of one (1) year. The time period you have to opt into the program is limited, so if you decide to opt into the program, act quickly. You only have thirty (30) days to have the interlock installed, the paperwork completed, and obtain a new license from the MVA.
Remember, in order to protect your important rights and avoid these unfavorable consequences, you should call us immediately so that we can begin working together to preserve your important rights.