What is a Restricted License for an Alcohol Offense?

A restricted license enables you to continue your driving privilege for particular and narrow types of driving. Two examples of permitted but restricted driving privileges are (1) getting to and from work or (2) performing your job that requires a valid driver’s license.

Unfortunately you have been stopped by a police officer because he or she has a reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while impaired by alcohol or drugs or a combination of the two. You have the right to contest the officer’s opinions by requesting a hearing. On the back of the temporary paper license you are given by the officer is the request form. You need to see a lawyer to state the proper reasons why you are challenging the officer’s opinions and statements. To prevent loss of your driving privilege, you must postmark your letter within ten days of your arrest; otherwise, there may be an interruption of your driving privilege. Do not confuse the 10- day requirement for no interruption of your driving privilege with the 30 days in which a hearing request must be made, assuming that you want to obtain a hearing in order to obtain a restricted license and you are not contesting the officer’s reasons for stopping you.

On the back of your Temporary Paper License there is a place for you to complete information requesting the hearing and you must send the completed request form along with the fee of $150. We send the request by certified mail so that we can track the delivery to be certain that the Office Of Administration Hearings did, in fact, receive the request.

There are also qualifying requirements that must be met or considered in order to obtain a restricted license. Those qualifying requirements are:

  1. The rest results show .08 to less than .15;

  2. Within the past 5 years you were not suspended under Section 16-205 of the Transportation Article.

  3. In the past 5 years, you have not been convicted of a violation of Section 21-902 (alcohol or drugs or a combination while driving) of the
  4. Transportation Article.

Also, please note, when you obtained your Maryland Driver’s License, you agreed that if you were stopped because of the officer’s reasonable belief ( see above the officer’s belief), you would be required to take the breathalyzer or there would be sanctions against your driving privilege. Most drivers are unaware of the Implied Consent Law. So, if you did not take the breath test at the police station as required under Maryland’s Implied Consent Law, you may not be eligible to obtain a restricted license. You cannot be compelled to take the breathalyzer (5th Amendment-cannot be compelled to testify against yourself.)

The Transportation Article is very clear as to what types of restricted licenses are permitted. Let’s assume you are eligible to obtain the restricted license. Here are the types:

  1. You need your license to get to your job and return home and there are no other reasonable means available to you to get to and from work. If the job is down the street from your home or you work out of your home, you would unlikely be able to obtain a restricted license.

  2. You are required to perform your job with the use of a valid driver’s license and a motor vehicle and if not granted a restricted license, your ability to earn a living would be severely impaired.

  3. You need a license to obtain health care for yourself or an immediate family member.

  4. You need to attend certain types of educational programs.

  5. You are required to attend an alcohol treatment or prevention program.

When attending a hearing it is necessary to be prepared to meet additional requirements and here a lawyer can be very helpful in gathering the necessary documentation.

If you violate the restricted license, you will lose your driving privilege. For over 30 years Fred Antenberg has represented individuals in both administrative hearings to obtain restricted licenses and in defense of drunk driving charges before the district courts in Howard County and surrounding counties of Baltimore and Maryland.

Call Fred today for a Free Initial Consultation at 410-730-4404.