Is Interlock Participation the Only Way to Keep my License?

Is Interlock Participation the Only Way to Keep my LicenseThe Ignition Interlock Program requires many Maryland DUI offenders to install and maintain the ignition interlock device in their vehicles, for a mandatory period of time, if they want to keep their driving privilege following a DUI/DWI arrest. A driver who violates the interlock program during this initial period will be ordered to participate longer in the program, at their expense. If further violations occur, they face a complete driving ban.

For many of us who need our cars to get to school or work, a complete loss of driving privileges can disrupt everything we have worked so hard for. Especially during the financial strain of the pandemic, keeping your job is vital—which means keeping your license is, too.

DUI Penalties Come from Two Sides

Generally, every DUI case in Maryland features both criminal and administrative (MVA) consequences. The criminal case occurs in District or Circuit Court for each county and entails a potential criminal conviction, jail time, probation, fines, and other criminal consequences. Separate and independent of the court process, each DUI offense also implicates the driving privilege of the defendant, which is governed solely by the MVA.

As a result of the defendant’s specific breath score or the defendant’s breath test refusal, certain sanctions may be imposed by the MVA on the defendant’s driving privilege, regardless of the outcome in court.

If a defendant either submits a breath sample of 0.15 or above or outright refuses to give a breath sample, interlock participation for a year may be their only means to stay behind the wheel, absent a very narrow class of technical defenses. If applicable, such defenses may only be deployed at an MVA hearing through the defendant’s attorney, requiring substantial preparation, skill, and experience to succeed.

How to Navigate the MVA Process

Facing interlock participation or outright suspension, a defendant may opt into the interlock without an MVA hearing. Or, to achieve certain accommodations known only to expert DUI/DWI practitioners, the defendant can request interlock participation at an MVA hearing, separate and distinct from their Court trial, before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The decision to either have or forgo the MVA hearing is often a nuanced one and should only be made with the thoughtful advice of a seasoned DUI/DWI attorney. Certain individuals have rights that can only be protected at an MVA hearing, but the process of convincing an ALJ to rule in their favor is delicate and often perilous.

At Alpert Schreyer, we have always adhered to a holistic approach, believing that the MVA process is just as important as the one that unfolds in Court. Each client’s customized litigation plan is designed to deliver the most optimal outcome on both sides of the equation. We are proud that our victories in Court have always been matched by those we achieve at the MVA.

Don’t Lose Your Driving Privileges to the MVA

Amidst the pandemic, and the unprecedented pressure it has imposed on family members and their jobs, maintaining a valid driving privilege is more critical than ever. If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, or any other criminal case, let us fight for you, wherever we can – from the Courthouse to the MVA hearing room. You will undoubtedly benefit from the passion, effort, and expertise we are so famous for.

Alpert Schreyer, LLC has won DUI cases in every Maryland county. Call us at (301) 708-2689 or send a message to get your case started.

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