There are many reasons a person might have their license suspended in Maryland. If an individual wants to challenge a suspension, or contest the charges that led to it, they should consult with a Maryland traffic lawyer.
Common Causes of License Suspensions in Maryland
There are a few common causes of license suspension in Maryland. One common cause is when an individual does not appear in court. Maryland law says that when a person misses their court date, the MVA must be notified and that person’s license must be suspended. Another common cause is when an individual did not pay their court fees, or fines, or any court costs that were associated with a ticket. If a person ignores the court’s order to pay a fine or a ticket, then the MVA will be notified and the license will be suspended until those fees are paid. A third reason why a license might be suspended is due to the accumulation of a lot of points on an individual’s driving record. If over the course of a certain time period, they have accumulated 12 points on their license, this could lead to getting their license suspended.
If someone fails to pay a traffic ticket; if they accumulate too many points on their driver’s license; if they violate any driver’s license restrictions; if they refuse to take an alcohol breath test or if they drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, these can all result in suspension.
Suspension Resulting from DUI
If a breath test results in over a 0.8 blood alcohol level but less than a 0.15 blood alcohol level, the driver’s license may be suspended for 45 days for the first offense and 90 days for a second or a subsequent offense. If a test result is 1.15 or more, the driver may be suspended for 90 days for the first offense, and 180 days for a subsequent offense. A suspension, for a refusal to take the test, is 120 days for the first offense and 1 year for a second or subsequent offense.
If a license was taken away due to a DUI, then the individual will most likely be issued a temporary driver’s license which is a simple piece of paper that authorizes them to continue driving for 45 days. After this time period, their license will be suspended unless the MVA sends them a notice extending the license assuming they have requested a hearing.
Failure to Pay Fines or Costs
If someone fails to pay a fine or appear in a district court to contest it, the court will electronically notify the MVA. The MVA will then mail a notice stating that the individual’s license is going to be suspended unless they satisfy whatever the court required of them.
Challenging a Suspension
To avoid having a Maryland driver’s license suspended, an individual must satisfy the requirements of the court before the suspension date that is printed on their notice. To challenge it, they can pay the fine either in person, at the district court, online, or by phone. They also have the option to request and be granted a new trial date with the district court and simply pay a penalty deposit. If someone does pay the fine, they are basically admitting guilt and any of the points that are associated with this charge will be automatically assessed to their driver’s record. Also, if their driver’s license expires for more than a year during this period, they will be required to reapply for a new driver’s license and this may include retaking both the knowledge and road test.
Challenging Suspension for DUI
If someone requests a hearing, the MVA, through documentary evidence (usually the driver’s driving record, the pink form which advised them of their rights with respect to the breath test, and the breath test results), must prove to the administrative law judge the following elements: (1) that there was reasonable ground to believe that they were driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol, (2) there is evidence of the use of alcohol, (3) the individual was advised of their right to submit or not submit to the breath test at the police station, (4) they were requested to take the breath test, and (5) they drove with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above OR they refused to take the test. At the hearing, such details need to be proven to the judge for the individual to be suspended.
Getting Your License Back
An individual charged with a DUI must develop defenses to the charges, but the burden is on the prosecutors to prove their case against them beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutors are not able to do this, the driver will be able to get their license reinstated.
If the individual does not agree with a suspension, they can request an MVA administrative hearing. If they want to request this, they would have to make the request within 15 days for a driving record points suspension or any time before their notified suspension date for a license restriction violation suspension. If it is an alcohol related suspension or if the individual has refused a blood alcohol test, they would have to request the hearing within 30 days of receiving their suspension notice. If, however, they request the hearing within 10 days, their driver’s license will not be suspended before their hearing.
Appealing a suspension is done through the MVA, not the Maryland District Court.