If a court convicts you of violating Maryland’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws, you can be subject to a number of serious criminal and administrative penalties. Even a first-time DUI can land you in jail for up to one year and with fines of up to $1,000. While it’s certainly true that most first-time DUI defendants avoid these worst-case scenario penalties, it’s important to keep in mind that a DUI arrest can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
Many of us depend on being able to drive ourselves to work, school, or important appointments on a daily basis, and the suspension of your license can make your life much harder. Imagine if your commute suddenly becomes twice as long because of having to depend on bus or train schedules to get from home to work.
While Ubers or Lyfts may be an option, these costs can add up, and when you’re already looking at the financial fallout of a DUI, you’re probably trying to save money every chance you get. Finally, if you choose to ignore your driver’s license suspension and drive anyhow, there’s a strong chance that you’re just going to end up in worse legal trouble than you were before.
Fortunately, there are certain ways that an attorney can protect your right to drive after a DUI arrest, but you need to act fast. For this reason, if the police have arrested you on suspicion of drunk driving, it’s imperative that you speak to a lawyer as soon as you can.
Challenging an Administrative Suspension
The first thing that you should understand about your potential license suspension is that the criminal part of your case (your DUI charges) is completely separate from the administrative part of your case. If you refuse to submit to a chemical blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test or your test results indicate that your BAC is over 0.08, the officer that pulled you over will issue an order of suspension and likely arrest you.
Furthermore, the officer will open send your case over to the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA), which will suspend your license based on your refusal or failed test. Importantly, the arresting officer will also likely issue you a temporary paper license that you can use to drive for 45 days after your arrest.
This does not mean that you have 45 days to take action, however. You can challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license by requesting a hearing with the MVA. You can request a hearing at any point in the 30-day period after you received the Order of Suspension. Importantly, however, in order to ensure that the MVA does not suspend your driving privileges before your hearing, you need to request one within ten days.
It’s critical to understand that challenging an administrative suspension is a complicated legal matter. Furthermore, you should be aware of the fact that the MVA can and will suspend your license even if the state decides to drop your criminal DUI case. For these, reasons, it’s highly advisable to retain an attorney to represent you after a DUI arrest and help you navigate yourself out of the complicated legal web that lawmakers created made to deter drunk driving and punish drunk driving.
Applying for a Restricted License
In the event that the MVA has already suspended your driving privileges, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do so that you can drive yourself to work, school, meetings, or other important events. Fortunately, there are various types of restricted licenses available in Maryland. When you have a restriction on your license, you will need to comply with its conditions, or you will risk exposing yourself to additional sanctions.
For example, if you are in the midst of a license suspension after a DUI arrest, you may be eligible for a work or education license restriction. This type of restriction would only allow you to drive to work or school, and your employer may need to verify your employment in writing.
If You Voluntarily Install an Ignition Interlock Device, You Can Likely Continue to Drive
If you are facing a license suspension related to a DUI arrest, you may be able to voluntarily install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle to avoid the suspension entirely. An ignition interlock device is a device that requires the driver to blow into it before starting the vehicle. If the device detects any alcohol on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start.
In addition, the driver is required to blow into the device at certain intervals while he or she is operating the vehicle in order to make sure someone else did not blow into the device to start the vehicle and that the driver is not actively drinking while driving. If the ignition interlock device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath while the vehicle is in motion, it will log the violation for the state to see when it downloads the data.
Finally, it may cause the vehicle’s the horn to sound if the driver refuses a retest. The length of time you will need to have the ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle depends on the reason you were facing a license suspension:
- If you submitted to a test and your BAC was between 0.08 and 0.15, you will need to have the device installed for 180 days
- If you submitted to a test and your BAC was 0.15 or higher, you will need to have the device installed for one year
- If you refused to submit to the test, you will need to have the device installed for one year