DUI Defense

If You Are Charged with DUI OR DWI in Maryland

Alcohol Test Failure or Refusal

If you refuse to take a test to determine your blood alcohol or drug concentration, or take a test and fail it, the police officer will confiscate your driverís license (Maryland drivers only), issue a paper temporary license and prepare a case for the Maryland MVA file. If you are a commercial driverís license holder, the MVA will suspend your commercial driverís license and may disqualify your driving privilege.

What documents might you be given at the time of the incident?

Officerís Certification and Order of Suspension Ė The form provides information about the incident, the pending suspension and indicates whether or not you submitted to a test. If your driverís license was confiscated, you may be authorized to use the driver copy as a temporary license.

  • The reverse side of the driver copy will provide information about the Ignition Interlock Program.
  • The reverse side of the hearing request copy provides information and a form to request an administrative hearing within (30) thirty days before the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings(OAH).

Advice of Rights Form - The form provides the administrative sanctions related to your Maryland driving privilege. It also advises you regarding additional penalties that may be imposed, and your ability to opt into the Ignition Interlock Program. You must indicate on the form either your agreement or refusal to take the test. The police officer and you both sign and date the form.

What decisions need to be made after arrest?

You may request an Administrative Hearing at any time within 30 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to show cause why your driverís license or privilege should not be suspended. You must request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to ensure that your privilege to drive is not suspended prior to your hearing.

Your request for a hearing must be made in writing. The reverse side of the hearing request copy provides information and a form to request an administrative hearing. Send your request to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) at 11101 Gilroy Rd., Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301. You must include a check or money order for $150.00, which is the required filing fee, made payable to the ďMaryland State Treasurer.Ē Your request for a hearing will be invalid if submitted without the required $150.00 filing fee or applicable fee waiver.

The OAH will notify you of the hearing date and location. If applicable, your attorney will also receive hearing information from the OAH. If a hearing is requested within 10 days of the "order of suspension" date and your Maryland driver's license was surrendered, your license will not be suspended before you appear for the scheduled hearing. A hearing request postmarked after the 30th day of the "order of suspension" date will be denied.

Your driverís license or privilege will be suspended on the 46th day after the Order of Suspension if you do not request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension or, if eligible, you do not elect within 30 days of the Order of Suspension to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program. In order to receive credit for the suspension, you must surrender your driverís license or certify that you no longer have the license in your possession. If you submit a valid hearing request, a suspension will not be imposed unless a decision is rendered against you, or if you fail to appear for the hearing.

How long will my driverís license be suspended, disqualified or revoked?

The suspension/disqualification periods are as follows:

Submitted to the test and failed: Blood Alcohol Content 0.08 through 0.14

  • 1st offense- 180 day suspension
  • 1st offense involving fatality- 180 day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent 180 day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent involving fatality- 1 year suspension

Submitted to the test and failed: Blood Alcohol Content 0.15 or more

  • 1st offense- 180 day suspension
  • 1st offense involving a fatality- 1 year suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense- 180 day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent involving fatality - revocation

Refused to submit to the test:

  • 1st offense- 270 day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense- 2 year suspension

Operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time:

  • 1st offense- 1 year Commercial Driver's License (CDL) disqualification
  • 2nd or subsequent offense- lifetime CDL disqualification

Operating a commercial motor vehicle carrying hazardous materials at the time:

  • 1st offense- 3 year CDL disqualification
  • 2nd or subsequent offense- lifetime CDL disqualification

Please note that in addition to the actions identified above, if your driving privilege was subject to an alcohol restriction at the time of the incident, you may face additional sanctions. The MVA will notify you of the proposed action.

Credit for the suspensions will not be given until the MVA receives your current Maryland driverís license, or a signed statement that the license is no longer in your possession.

Fees:

  • There is a fee for filing a hearing request with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
  • You may mail or hand-deliver your hearing request and filing fee to OAH at 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031.
  • Your check or money order must be made payable to ďMaryland State TreasurerĒ and include your name, address, driver's license number and home or work phone number.

Contact Information:

MVA
Administrative Adjudication Division

6601 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: 1-410-768-7000
TTY/Hearing Impaired: 1-800-492-4575

In Maryland, to fully protect your rights, it is important to see a lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with drunk driving. Call 410-869-3400 or contact us online for a free consultation with Mike the Lawyer.

How Can A Lawyer Help?

A lawyer can be very helpful in developing defenses to these suspensions in many cases and in assisting the driver to obtain work or education-related privileges. Unfavorable decisions may be appealed within thirty days to the circuit court of the county where the driver resides.

The hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings, where the driver can lose his or her driver's license or privilege, is completely independent of the hearing at court where the potential sanctions can include jail, fines, probation, possibly imposition of points from the MVA, for which the driver may later be suspect to having his or her license being suspended, after the DUI/DWI is heard in court.

Effect of a Breath or Blood Test in Maryland State Court

In Maryland, the approved breath-testing device is currently the Intoximeter EC/IR. It is intended to give a measurement of deep lung air in grams of alcohol (a weight) per 210 liters of breath (a volume). For blood tests the result is measured in grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

The test results have legal significance. If the result is .08 or more the driver is per se under the influence. If the test result is .07 or more, but less than .08, it is considered prima facie evidence the driver is impaired by alcohol. If the test result is more than .05 but less than .07, the test evidence is considered neutral. If the test result is .05 or less, the driver is presumed not to be under the influence of alcohol.

For the driver who is under 21 years of age, the legal limit is .02. The driver may lose their driver's license or privilege for 6 months and be fined. It is important to consult with a lawyer to gain a further understanding of the ramifications of these tests.

In some situations, a refusal to submit to a test may be considered as evidence of the driver's guilt.

Many defenses can be raised with respect to the administration of the breath test, both in court and at the administrative hearing.

What is the punishment for drunk driving?

The Maximum sentence for a first time DUI in Maryland is up to (1) one year in jail and a ($1000.00) One Thousand Dollar fine. The Maximum sentence for the lesser charge of DWI is up to (60) sixty days in jail and a ($500.00) Five Hundred Dollar fine. Generally speaking, a conviction for a first offense may involve a fine, a license suspension or restriction, attendance at a DUI education course for a period of time, and supervised probation for one to two years. A short jail sentence may or may not be required (generally not if there is no accident injury or extenuating circumstances); for a second or third offense, it often will. Additional punishment may involve community service, ignition interlock devices, AA meetings, and MADD victim impact meetings. On a second or subsequent offense, the MVA may seek to take the driver's license a second time, after the court proceeding is over, although the courts do not call this punishment. Many judges now impose jail time on a second offense. The range can be from one weekend to a couple of weeks in jail. A third conviction may carry a significant jail sentence, with or without work release, and with supervised probation upon release.

Probation Before Judgment (PBJ)

If a driver that has been found guilty of either DUI or DWI and has not had a prior DUI or DWI in Maryland within the previous 10 years, he or she may be eligible for probation before judgment (PBJ) disposition.

After finding the driver guilty of the offense, the judge may strike the conviction and enter probation before judge disposition, pursuant to Criminal Procedure Article ß 6-220.

When a driver receives a PBJ, they are placed on probation for a specified length of time. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised. If all the conditions of probation are met and there are no violations of probation, points are not assessed and the entry of guilt goes on a segregated record at the MVA that is not available to the public, but is available to law enforcement and the courts. However, if someone gets a PBJ and then is found in violation of their probation, they are facing the possibility of striking the probation, entering of the conviction, and the potential of incarceration.

It is important to note that although there are many advantages to a PBJ disposition, PBJ dispositions to a DUI and/or DWI are not eligible for expungement. Further, in terms of collateral consequences in certain contexts, PBJ dispositions may be treated similarly to convictions.

In Maryland, it is important to see a lawyer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after being charged with drunk driving, to fully protect your rights. Call DUI attorney, Mike Mastracci now: (410) 869-3400.

Subsequent Offenders

Drunk driving laws contain possible enhanced penalties for repeat offenders, both in court and at the Motor Vehicle Administration. Further, multiple offenders face the possibility of a referral by the Motor Vehicle Administration to the Medical Advisory Board. Such a referral could lead to a suspension or revocation of the privilege to drive, as well as the possibility of a license restriction or interlock.

The maximum penalty for a second offense DUI is 2-year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine. In court, a second conviction for DUI within 5 years of the first carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 days incarceration. The maximum penalty for third or subsequent offense is 3 years imprisonment and/or a $3,000 fine. A third or subsequent DUI conviction within 5 years also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days incarceration. Incarceration may include house arrest or in-patient treatment.

In Maryland, it is important to see a lawyer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after being charged with drunk driving, to fully protect your rights. Call DUI attorney, Mike Mastracci now: (410) 869-3400.

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