Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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What to Expect at a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Hearing
  

Your driver’s license is a critical tool for daily survival.  Most of us need our license to get to work, to the grocery store, to pick up our kids and pretty much everything else that we do.  When the state threatens to suspend or revoke your driver’s license, it is understandable that your level of stress may increase considerably.  The attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe have years of experience successfully representing clients in MVA hearings. 

  This article deals with non-alcohol related MVA hearings.  For help pertaining to MVA hearings following a DUI or other alcohol related offense, click here:  http://www.baldwinbriscoe.com/sd/pgs/DUI-DWI-Will-I-Lose-My-Drivers-License.aspx

  For information concerning a charge of Driving on a Suspended License, click here:

http://www.baldwinbriscoe.com/news/readarticle.aspx?article=21

Grounds on which the MVA May Suspend Your Driver’s License

  Maryland MVA has the right to suspend your driver’s license if you are a Maryland resident.  If you are a resident of another state, Maryland cannot suspend your license, but may suspend your privilege to drive in Maryland.  If you are a non-Maryland resident, your home state may take reciprocal action following the suspension of your driving privilege in Maryland.  You should contact an attorney in your home-state to see how Maryland MVA’s action will affect your out-of-state license.

  Suspension based on Points.  The Maryland MVA assess points against your driver’s license anytime you are convicted of a moving violation.  If you are charged with a moving violation and pay the fine or are convicted by the court, points will be assessed against your driver’s license.  No points are assessed if your case is nolle-processed, placed on the stet-docket, you are found not-guilty, or if you receive a probation-before-judgment.  Moving violations carry various numbers of points depending on the severity of the offense.  The more severe the violation, the greater the number of points it carries.  Here is a list of some of the most common violations and how many points they carry:

  Speeding 10+ mph over the speed limit           2 points

  Failure to stop for a school bus flashing red  3 points

  Failure to stop for a red light                         2 points

  Moving violation contributing to an accident 3 points

  Speeding 30+ mph over the speed limit           5 points

  Driving while not licensed                      5 points

  Failing to report an accident                      5 points

  Speeding in excess of posted limit of 65 mph  5 points

            by 20 mph or more

  Aggressive driving                                   5 points

  Reckless driving                                      6 points

  Driving while impaired                               8 points

  Failure to stop after an accident with damage 8 points

  Failure to stop after accident resulting in injury  12 points

  Driving under the influence                               12 points

  Any felony involving use of a vehicle               12 points

  In many circumstances, a driver may be charged with multiple offenses that carry points.  When this happens, the individual is only charged with the points associated with the charge that has the highest point assessment and is not assessed points on the remainder of the multiple charges.

  Points against a Maryland license stay in effect for two years from the date of the violation.  If an individual acquires five (5) or more points, the MVA will send a warning letter.  If an individual acquires 8 or more points, the MVA will suspend the individual’s driver’s license.  If the individual acquires 12 or more points, the MVA will revoke the license.

  If the suspension or revocation would adversely affect the employment or opportunity for employment of a licensee, a hearing officer, after a hearing, may decline to order the suspension or revocation, or may modify the suspension or revocation.

  Suspension based on Intentional Disregard of Traffic Laws.  The MVA may suspend, revoke or refuse your driver’s license if you have been convicted of moving violations so often as to indicate an intent to disregard the traffic laws and the safety of other persons on the highways.

  Suspension based on Physical or Mental Condition.  The MVA can suspend, revoke or refuse an individual’s driver’s license or privilege if that person is unable to drive safely because of his physical or mental condition.  The license may be suspended, refused, or revoked if it finds the individual is an unfit, unsafe, or habitually reckless or negligent driver of a motor vehicle.

  Suspension based on Fraudulent Use of License.  Your Maryland driver’s license may be suspended if you have permitted an unlawful or fraudulent use of a license, identification card, or a facsimile of a license or identification card.  It may be suspended if you use the license, identification card or facsimile thereof in an unlawful or fraudulent manner

  Suspension based on Failure to Pay Required Security.  Maryland law requires that a motor vehicle owner keep the vehicle insured so long as it is registered.  If the insurance lapses, the MVA will automatically suspend the vehicle’s registration no later than 60 days after the receive notice of the lapse.  Your insurance company has a legal duty to notify the MVA when the insurance lapses or is otherwise terminated.  When the MVA is notified of the lapse, they will contact the owner.  The owner must, within 48 hours surrender the vehicle’s registration to the MVA.  If the owner fails to do so, the MVA may suspend the owner’s driver’s license until such time as the registration is surrendered to the MVA. 

  Suspension based on Failure to Appear at a Hearing.  If a party fails to appear at the hearing, their license will be suspended.  If the hearing is mandatory, the party will be subjected to whatever sanction is contained in the hearing notice.  If the hearing is discretionary, the party’s license will be suspended until they appear for a hearing, and any additional sanctions that are contained in the notice may be applied.

  Suspension based on Failure to Obey a Citation.  Your Maryland driver’s license can be suspended for failure to either pay a traffic ticket or contest it in court.  If you don’t pay your ticket, the court will notify the MVA and they may suspend your license after 10-days notice.

  Suspension based on Failure to Pay Child Support.  An individual who is 60 or more days behind on court-ordered child support will have their license suspended by the MVA once the court notifies the MVA of the arrearage.  The MVA may issue a work-restricted privilege to drive.  Before the MVA may suspend the license, the MVA is required to send a written notice to the licensee and advice the licensee of their right to contest the accuracy of the information.  Any contest is limited to whether the MVA has mistaken the identity of the obligor or the individual whose license or privilege to drive has been suspended.  The MVA is required to reinstate the obligor’s license to drive if the court orders it to do so, if the child support arrearage has been paid in full, or if the individual has demonstrated good faith by making the court ordered payments for at least six consecutive months.

  Suspension for Out of State Violations.  The MVA may suspend your license if you commit an offense in another state that, under the other state’s laws would be grounds for suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.

  Suspension for False Certification of Security.  The MVA may suspend your driver’s license if you falsely certify the required security in applying for a certificate of title or for the registration of a motor vehicle.

  Suspension for Failure to Attend Driver Improvement.  If you are required to attend a driver improvement program by the MVA, or by a court, the MVA may suspend your license if you rail to attend the program.

  Suspension of Provisional License.  A provision license may be suspended following a second conviction or probation before judgment for any combination of moving violations.  Further violations will lead to longer suspensions and eventual revocation.

  Special Rules applying to Minors.  The MVA must suspend the driver’s license of a minor who has been convicted of a DUI or a DWI.  The MVA must suspend the driver’s license of a minor who has been found delinquent for certain offenses, including driving an off-road vehicle on the highway, fleeing the scene of an accident and fleeing or eluding the police.  If the minor is not licensed, the suspension will begin on the date of the disposition, or if the child is younger than 16, on the date of the child’s 16th birthday.

  Other Types of Suspensions.  The MVA has the authority suspend a driver’s license of a person who manufacturers or possesses a destructive device, who makes a bomb threat, or who manufacturers, transports, possesses or places a device that is designed to imitate a bomb or similar device with the intent to terrorize, frighten or harass.  The MVA has the authority to suspend the license of a person who is convicted of a moving violation that contributed to an accident resulting in the death of another person.  The MVA will suspend your license if there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest.

Modification of Suspension 
The MVA may modify the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license if the suspension is based on underage consumption of alcohol or furnishing alcohol to a minor, or driving an off-road vehicle on the highway if the license is required for the purpose of attending an alcohol education, prevention or treatment program or if the individual is required to drive a motor vehicle in the course of employment.  To allow for the modification, the MVA must find that the child has no reasonable alternative means of transportation.  The MVA may also modify a suspension to prevent the adverse impact on a child’s education.

Reinstatement after Revocation 
If your license has been revoked, you can may apply to have the license reinstated.  For a first time revocation, the licensee may file an application for reinstatement at any time after the day the revoked license has been surrendered to, and received by, the MVA.  If you do not have a license, you can apply anytime after the effective date of the revocation.

  There is a six-month waiting period after the MVA receives your application for reinstatement before the license may be reinstated.  The waiting period extends to one year following a second revocation, eighteen months, following a third revocation, and two years following a fourth or subsequent revocation. 

  By law, the MVA may only reinstated a license or privilege to drive, if after an investigation of the individual’s habits and driving ability, the MVA is satisfied it will be safe to reinstate the license or privilege of an individual who has been involved in any combination of three or more separate alcohol-related or drug-related driving incidents; involved in a vehicular accident resulting in the death of another person; or convicted of a violation for failing to stop after a vehicular accident resulting in bodily injury or death.  An individual may be required to submit to whatever examinations that the MVA considers appropriate as a condition of reinstatement.

Notice and Hearing 
If the MVA refuses to issue a license, or decides to suspend or revoke your license, the MVA is required to notify you and provide you with the opportunity for a hearing on the matter.  What rights are available to you at the hearing depend on the specific basis giving rise to the suspension.

  The MVA may only suspend or revoke a license prior to a haring if it determines that there is a substantial and immediate danger and harm to the licensee or others if the license is continued pending a hearing. 

  Except in cases arising out of a licensee’s refusal to submit to a test for chemical intoxication (For information on these hearings, click here: http://www.baldwinbriscoe.com/sd/pgs/DUI-DWI-Will-I-Lose-My-Drivers-License.aspx) where a licensee is facing a possible suspension or revocation, the MVA must notify the licensee of the hearing and charges and give the licensee the opportunity to be heard in person.

  The licensee may request a hearing within 15 days from the date of the notice.  The hearing must be held within 30 days following the request.  The MVA must render a decision within 30 days after the hearing.

  A hearing notice must state the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing.  It must give the specific legal authority and jurisdiction of the MVA to hear the matter.  It must state facts in sufficient detail to allow the respondent to prepare his case.  It must state the nature of the proposed action that the MVA will consider.  It must notify the respondent of their right to call witness and offer documents.  It must, in some circumstances, advise the party of the right to obtain a subpoena.  It must notify the party that the party can request a copy of the hearing procedures, that the party has the right to be represented by an attorney, and what action may be taken if the licensee fails to appear.

  An MVA hearing is different than a court proceeding.  The MVA hearing is held before an administrative law judge, usually at an MVA facility.  The hearing is not bound by the formal rules of evidence and procedure that would govern a regular court case.  Generally, the State will submit its case on paper instead of calling live witnesses to testify.  Each party may call witnesses, offer exhibits, cross-examine witnesses, present argument, including summation.

  After the hearing, the MVA may refuse, suspend, or revoke the license or privilege of an application or licensee; or it may rescind, continue, or modify any prior action; or it may take any other action which is permitted by the Maryland vehicle law.

  If the MVA rules against any party to the proceeding, it must issue a written decision and provide a copy to the party or their attorney.  A party may appeal a decision if it disagrees with the outcome. 

  The laws governing the suspension and revocation of your Maryland driver’s license can be complicated to navigate if you are unfamiliar with the process.  The attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe can guide you through the process and will represent you when you appear before the MVA.  You don’t have to worry because the process is unfamiliar to you.  Give us a call to schedule your free consultation concerning any MVA hearing today.

  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 involved in an MVA matter.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and review your situation and provide appropriate advice.  Call today for your free, no-obligation consultation. 

 

 

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

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

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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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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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