Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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DUI/DWIWill I lose my driver’s license?

            If you have been arrested in Maryland on suspicion of driving under the influence or driving while impaired, you are now facing some very important choices.  The steps which you take in the next few days and weeks could have consequences that will affect you for the rest of your life.  Your actions could affect whether or not you get to keep your driver’s license, whether you are stuck with a criminal record and potentially affect your ability to get or keep a job or obtain or maintain a security clearance.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe have years of experienced handling DUI and DWI cases and can assist you in mitigating the consequences of an arrest.

            There are two components that you will be faced with following a DUI or DWI arrest.  The first component is whether or not you will face a suspension of your Maryland driver’s license, or for an out of state resident, your privilege to drive in the State of Maryland.  The second component is the criminal case that you will face following your arrest.  The information on this page deals only with the potential loss of license.  For information about the criminal case, click here

Test for Chemical Intoxication and Potential Penalties

            Under Maryland law, when an officer arrests an individual on suspicion of DUI or DWI, the officer will issue what is referred to as a DR-15 form.  At the time of the stop, the driver has to make a decision as to whether or not to submit to a test for chemical intoxication.  Maryland law provides that any individual who drives or attempts to drive on the public highways in Maryland, or on private property that is used by the public in general has consented to take a test for intoxication if they are detained by an officer on the suspicion that they are driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol.  This is sometimes referred to as Maryland’s implied-consent statute.

            The test consists of a single sample of the driver’s blood or a test of the driver’s breath. 

            Except in cases where the driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident where there has been a death or life threatening injury, an individual cannot be compelled to take a test for chemical intoxication when stopped, however the consequence of refusal to submit to a test is the loss of your driver’s license.  Varying penalties are imposed if the driver is found to have been intoxicated at the time of the stop.  The penalties that can be imposed are as follows:

            For a test which indicates a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, the driver faces a 180-day suspension of his license, regardless of the number of prior offenses on his record.  If the stop resulted from a motor vehicle accident which resulted in the death of another person, the license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, and for a second or subsequent offense, the license will be suspended for one year.

            For a test which indicates a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, the driver faces a 180-day suspension of his license for a first offense and a 270-day suspension of his license for a second or subsequent offense.  If the stop resulted from a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, the driver faces a one year suspension for a first offense and a revocation of their license for each subsequent offense.

            For a test refusal, the driver faces a 270-day suspension for a first offense and a two-year suspension for each subsequent offense.

            If the driver is not licensed in Maryland, the state cannot suspend the driver’s license, but will suspend the individual’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the state.  It is possible that an out-of-state driver will face additional consequences in their home state as well.

            If the individual holds a commercial driver’s license and refuse to submit to a test, you will be disqualified from driving any commercial vehicle for one-year following a first offense, and three years for a first offense if you are transporting hazardous materials at the time of your arrest.  A holder of a commercial driver’s license who is stopped for a second time will disqualified from holding a commercial driver’s license or commercial instructional permit for life.

            An officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is driving or attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol is required to do five things at the time of the stop:

·         The officer is required to detain the individual

·         The officer is required to request that the individual take a test for chemical intoxication

·         The officer must advice the individual of the administrative sanctions that may be imposed for a test of greater than 0.08 but less than 0.15

·         The officer must advice the individual of the administrative sanctions, including the ineligibility for a modification of suspension or issuance of a restricted license unless the person participates in the Ignition Interlock System Program that shall be impose for refusal to take a test, and for test results indicating a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher

·         The officer must advise the person of additional criminal penalties that may be imposed based on the individual’s failure to submit to a chemical test for intoxication

·         The office must advise the person that a court shall impose participation in the Ignition Interlock System Program as part of the sentence.

            If a person refuses to submit to a test for chemical intoxication, or submits to a test revealing a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, the officer shall:

·         Confiscate the individual’s driver’s license

·         Serve the individual with an Order of Suspension of their driver’s license

·         Issue a temporary license to drive

·         Inform the person that the temporary license allows the person to continue driving for 45-days, if the person is licensed in Maryland

·         Inform the person of their right to request a hearing, within 10 days, before an administrative-law judge to show cause why their license should not be suspended for refusal to take a test or for test results indicating an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, and that the hearing will be scheduled within 45 days.

·         Inform the person that if a hearing request is not made at that time or within 10 days, but within 30 days the person requests a hearing, a hearing to show cause why the driver’s license should not be suspended concerning the refusal to take the test or for test results indicating an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing will be scheduled, but a request made after 10 days does not extend a temporary license issued by the police officer that allows the person to continue driving for 45 days.

·         Advise the person of the administrative sanctions that shall be imposed in the event of failure to request a hearing, failure to attend a requested hearing, or upon an adverse finding by the hearing officer.

·         Inform the person that, if the person refuses a test or takes a test that indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, the person may participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program instead of requesting a hearing, if the person meets the following conditions: (1) the person’s driver’s license was not suspended, revoked, cancelled or refused at the time of the stop; and (2) within the time limits for requesting a hearing, the person surrenders a valid Maryland driver’s license or signs a statement certifying that the driver’s license is no longer in the person’s possession, and elects in writing to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for 1 year.

Will I get to keep my license?

            If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI and the officer confiscates your license and issues a DR-15, the MVA will suspend your license if you do nothing.  Whether you can prevent this from happening depends on the facts of your individual case and also on the actions you take in the days following your arrest.

            Generally, when a person is arrested for DUI, the license suspension is based either on a refusal to submit to a test for chemical intoxication, or that the license submitted to a test which resulted in a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or more at the time of testing.

             It is generally advisable to request a hearing to contest the suspension of your license after you have been arrested.  You may continue to drive on the temporary license during the 45 days following your arrest.  To avoid the risk of getting suspended prior to your case being heard, you must make sure that your hearing request is postmarked within ten (10) days from the date of your arrest.  Further, make sure that you fill out the hearing request completely and pay the appropriate fee.

            Upon request you will get a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  Although your hearing will usually take place in a Maryland MVA facility, the ALJ is not employed by the MVA and will evaluate your case independently.  Unlike when you go to court, the MVA does not send a representative to the hearing.  At your hearing, the only persons that will be present are the ALJ, you, and your attorney.  The MVA submits their case against you with paper documentation only.  If there is a dispute, however, between what the officer’s papers state and your testimony, the ALJ has the right to continue the hearing to subpoena the state’s witnesses to testify.  The ALJ will look at seven issues in determining whether or not you get to keep your license.  These are as follows:

·         Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol, while impaired by alcohol, or while impaired by any drug or combination of drugs such that you could not operate your vehicle safely, while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, in violation of an alcohol restriction, or in violation of the alcohol restriction imposed on drivers of commercial vehicles.

·         Whether there is evidence that you used alcohol, drugs, or some combination of drugs and alcohol, or a controlled dangerous substance.

·         Whether the police officer requested that you take a test and fully advised you of the possible administrative sanctions for failure or refusal

·         Whether you refused to take the test

·         Whether you drove or attempted to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content exceeding .08 at the time of testing.

·         Whether you drove or attempted to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content exceeding .15 at the time of testing.

·         If your hearing involves the disqualification of a commercial driver’s license, whether you were operating a commercial vehicle or held a comical instruction permit or a commercial driver’s license.

            The law provides that after a hearing, the administration shall suspend the person’s driver’s license if all of the following conditions are met:

·         The police officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the licensee was driving or attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol, or impaired by a drug or combination of drugs to the extent that the person could not operate a vehicle safely, while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, in violation of an alcohol restriction, or in violation of the alcohol restriction imposed on drivers of commercial vehicles.

·         There is evidence of use by the person of alcohol, drugs, a combination of drugs, a combination of drugs and alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance

·         The police officer requested that the person submit to a test for intoxication after fully advising the person of their rights and the administrative sanctions

·         The person refused to take a test or submitted to a test with a result of a BAC over .08

            You will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle if you are detained while operating a motor vehicle or while holding a commercial instructional permit or commercial driver’s license; the officer who stopped or detained you had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or 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, or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, in violation of an alcohol restriction or while in violation of the alcohol restrictions imposed on drivers of commercial vehicles.

What if my license gets suspended?

            If your license is suspended, and you meet the legal requirements, you will have the opportunity to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program.  To participate in the program, you must surrender your Maryland driver’s license to the MVA or sign a statement certifying that the license is no longer in your possession.  Only drivers whose licenses are not currently suspended, revoked, cancelled or refused may participate in the program.

            To participate in the program, you must elect to do so in writing.  The length of the program is 180 days for a first offence if your BAC was 0.08 or more, but less than 0.15; one year for an offence in which the BAC was 0.15 or more and one year if you refused to take the BAC test.

            If your BAC was at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 and you do not elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, you may seek a modification of your suspension through the MVA.  The MVA may modify your suspension if it finds that you are required to drive a motor vehicle in the course of employment; that you are required to drive a motor vehicle for the purpose of attending an alcohol prevention or treatment program; that you have no alternative means of transportation available to and from your place of employment and, without a license, that your ability to earn a living would be severely impaired; that a license is required for the purposes of obtaining health care treatment for you or an immediate family member and no alternative means of transportation is available; or that you are required to have a license to attend a non-collegiate educational institution as specifically defined by statute.

            If you are required to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program and you fail to successfully complete the program, the MVA will suspend your license or driving privilege for the maximum period allows by law depending on the triggering violation. 

            The attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe have years of experience handling MVA hearings.  We can evaluate your case and go over your options with no cost or obligation.  We offer a free consultation for DUI matters.  The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. can assist you if you are facing a suspension of your driver’s license, a DUI, a DWI, or other criminal charges.  Call today to schedule your free, no-obligation, in-office-consultation for any driver’s license suspension hearing or driving-related criminal charges. 

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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