DUI - Should You Request a Hearing Before the MVA?
In most instances, you should, especially if you refused to take the breathalyzer test. If you were stopped because the officer had reasonable grounds for believing that you were driving under the influence of or were impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, the officer has the right to ask you to take the test to determine how much alcohol you have in your body. You cannot be compelled to take the breathalyzer test. However, when you obtained your Maryland driver’s license, you agreed, when requested, to take the test and if you refused and your refusal was an unjustifiable refusal, the result will be a suspension of your driver’s license.
For the first refusal, the administrative sanction is a suspension of your driver’s license for 120 days and each additional refusal results in a 1-year suspension. Other sanctions include:
- When the test is given and the result is .08 or more, a 45-day suspension occurs. However, a restricted license may be granted so long as a timely request is made within 10 days of the issuance an order of suspension/temporary license and additional qualifying criteria are met:
- That you need to drive to and from work and other transportation (no alternative transportation) is not available; or
- That you need to drive to perform the duties of your job or to attend a non-collegiate or post-secondary program, or to obtain healthcare; or
- That you need to be able to drive to a treatment facility that educates and/or counsels people relating to drugs and/or alcohol.
- For persons whose alcohol level is .15 or greater, the suspension is 90 days for a first offense and 180 days for a subsequent level of .15 or greater.
One can seek an administrative hearing and obtain a restricted license as discussed above or avoid a hearing by obtaining the interlock device which requires the individual to rent the device for 12 months from the date of its installation. The interlock equipment requires the driver to breathe into it and it then indicates whether the individual is drinking or not. If not drinking, the interlock device will then allow the driver to turn the ignition and start and drive the vehicle.
Officers must fully advise the individual of administrative sanctions, the right to a hearing, and the criminal penalties associated with alcohol and drug testing.
The hearing request must be made within 10 days to assure no interruption of the use of the temporary (paper) license. Many of my clients, due to the terrible experience of being arrested, handcuffed, and humiliated, fail to read the temporary license options, particularly the need to send the request within 10 days and that after 45 days for first offenses, their license is suspended unless they request an administrative hearing. You have the right to request a hearing within 30 days of the arrest or non-arrest but after 30 days, making a request for a hearing will be denied unless there are special circumstances involved.
The law is very complicated and we have the experience necessary to be able to identify defenses and to assert those defenses on your behalf. We may have the arresting officer subpoenaed and present at the administrative hearing and cross-examine the officer to demonstrate that the above requirements were not adequately met.
Look at the Advice of Rights form, also called the DR15, which many lawyers would find confusing and which a client would find even more confusing. Add to the problem, alcohol or drugs, and it would be nearly impossible to understand. You will need a lawyer to provide you with legal representation to navigate through this very difficult process.
Past successes though our services are not a guarantee of achieving positive results but requesting a hearing is the first step towards achieving such a result. Generally it is best to request a timely hearing.
Contact Fred Antenberg at 410-730-4404 for a free initial consultation.