Challenging a License Suspension Following a Maryland DUI

If you have been charged with a DUI, you will face a driver’s license suspension. A first-offense DUI can lead to a driver’s license suspension of six months. A subsequent DUI charge can lead to a driver’s license suspension of up to a year. It is important to know that it is possible to challenge a license suspension.

A dedicated attorney could assist you with challenging a license suspension following a Maryland DUI. Contact an experienced DUI lawyer today.

Obtaining a Restricted License in Maryland

There are several ways a person can obtain a restricted license in Maryland, usually as part of automatic suspensions. An individual could get a restricted driver’s license if they agree to drive with an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer that requires the driver to blow into it to provide a breath sample before the person can drive. The driver also will have to blow into the device periodically while driving. That ensures that a sober person did not blow into the device to start the engine for the drunk driver.

In some situations, the person may not be eligible to have driving privileges, but as a compromise, the administrative law judge may allow them to drive if they install the ignition interlock system. Another sort of compromise is that the person may not have full driving privileges, but may be allowed to drive under certain restrictions, such as to drive to and from work or school.

Hearing Process to Challenge a Driver’s License Suspension

The hearing process for challenging a license suspension following a DUI in Maryland involves appearing before an administrative law judge. It is not a criminal hearing, as it is considered a civil matter because the consequences relate to a person’s driving privileges. An individual cannot be sent to jail or put on probation as a result of the hearing. They will be under oath, however, and their statements could be used as evidence in a criminal trial. That being said, the only direct outcomes from the MVA hearing will be related to a person’s driving privileges.

At the hearing, the state will have the burden of proof to produce some evidence to support a suspension or other restriction on someone’s driving privileges. If there is no evidence, a penalty will not be imposed. But, the proof follows a different standard. In criminal court, it must be beyond a reasonable doubt for someone to be convicted. At an MVA administrative hearing, only a preponderance of the evidence is required. That means that if there is a 51 percent chance that something is true, the judge will accept the evidence as fact.

Usually, if the arresting officer is at the hearing, they will testify about what happened. They may produce other documents related to the arrest or to the person taking a breathalyzer test or related to the results of the test. Then, the person or their attorney will be able to put on evidence explaining some of the person’s behavior, alternative explanations assertions that the person was inebriated, and ultimately, after reviewing all of the evidence, the administrative law judge will make a decision. If they decide against the driver, they will impose a suspension or may impose another penalty.

What if the Individual Loses at the Hearing?

If a person loses, presumably that means the judge found there was sufficient evidence to impose a suspension or restriction, and that penalty will be imposed. For a first-time DUI, that is typically a six-month sentence, but a person may request an appeal of that decision. They can file a written appeal and ask that the suspension be stayed. Essentially, that means the suspension will not come into play or would not be imposed until the appeal process is exhausted.

However, they must have some grounds to appeal, and those are generally narrow. For help with appealing a decision or challenging a license suspension after a Maryland DUI, contact a well-versed lawyer.

Steps to Take After Requesting a Hearing

After requesting a formal review hearing, the person should hire an attorney if they have not already. The lawyer will be familiar with the process, with what kind of evidence is important and relevant, and will know how to collect that evidence and present it at the hearing.

A seasoned lawyer could help you with challenging a license suspension following a Maryland DUI. Call today.