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A Maryland MVA hearing is an administrative legal proceeding that deals with the suspension or annulment of one’s driving privileges. At a Maryland MVA hearing, the circumstances surrounding your arrest are reviewed in an administrative process before an Administrative Law Judge.
Whether you took a blood alcohol test or not, the reason the peace officer initially pulled you over, and whether or not you were arrested are all criteria that are often looked at during a MVA hearing. However, it is important to remember that a MVA hearing in the state does not decide whether or not you are guilty of a criminal act, just simply whether or not your license will be suspended or revoked.
According to Maryland Code, Transportation Article § 21-902, “a person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.” Section 16-205 states that “the Administration may revoke the license of any person who…”
- Is convicted of driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, while under the influence of alcohol per se, or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance; or
- Has been convicted of homicide by a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, impaired by alcohol, or impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol, or a controlled dangerous substance; and
- is convicted of driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or while so far impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the person cannot drive a vehicle safely.
Upon conviction, the Administrative Law Judge may then suspend a person’s license for a period of one year, and advise the person that he or she has the right to request a hearing. If the person fails to request a hearing or fails to appear before a requested hearing, that person’s license may be suspended. Furthermore, the installation of an interlock ignition device will be required of the convicted person.
Everyone is entitled to a MVA hearing, an administrative process allowing a person to present his or her side of the story and circumstances surrounding the arrest before any decisions are made regarding driving privileges. When dealing with DUI arrests, a MVA hearing will look at circumstances such as whether you agreed to take a blood or breath alcohol test, if you were placed under arrest by the peace officer and if the officer had reason to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, a MVA hearing will revoke your driver’s license, and if, in your court case, you are proven innocent, then you have to appeal the MVA hearing with the criminal courts ruling. In such cases, the MVA will usually go along with the court’s ruling.
A Maryland MVA hearing cannot be substituted for a criminal court hearing. The two are separate and independent of each other. For more information on MVA Hearings and how a qualified MVA Hearing defense attorney can help you, contact Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC today at (301) 321-7277 for a free case evaluation.
Can a High BAC Affect an MVA Hearing?
Unlike in the Maryland criminal courts, a higher BAC does come into play during the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing. If you lose at your MVA hearing and have a blood alcohol level of .08 to .14, the administrative law judge will require the installation of an ignition interlock device for 180 days for a first offense. If your BAC was .15 or above, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device for 180 days or 270 days for second or subsequent offense. Maryland does not confiscate personal vehicles for DUI convictions.