Administrative Review Hearing in Maryland
Generally in DUI/DWI cases, a driver will have his or her driver’s license confiscated and suspended. The license and police report will be sent to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Association (MVA). (http://www.duiprocess.com/md-maryland/duilaws.php).
A driver has the right to ask the MVA for a hearing to review his license suspension if he fits into one of the following categories: (1) the person is arrested for driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated, while under the influence of alcohol, while so far under the influence of any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the person could not drive a vehicle safely, while under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, in violation of an alcohol restriction or in violation of statute (2) there is an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more at the time of testing or (3) the person refused to take a test. 3A M.L.E. Automobiles and Motor Vehicles § 95.
This request MUST be sent to the MVA within 30 days. A hearing request will be denied unless it is filed or postmarked by the 30th day. The suspension will automatically begin on the 46th day if the driver does not ask for a hearing. A request for a hearing sent within ten days of the stop will be scheduled within 30 days of the date the request is received.
The MVA will only consider certain facts at the hearing, including: (a) whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or attempting to drive while under the influence or impaired by alcohol or drugs (b) whether there was evidence the driver used alcohol or drugs (c) whether the officer requested a test after the officer warned the driver of the penalties for refusal or a failed test (d) whether the person refused to take the test (e) whether the person drove or attempted to drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more at the time of testing (e) whether the person drove or attempted to drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more at the time of testing or (f) if the hearing involves disqualification of a commercial driver’s license, whether the person was operating a commercial motor vehicle or held a commercial driver’s license.
If the administrative law judge (ALJ) believes the driver was properly pulled over, warned and failed or refused to take the test, the judge will affirm the suspension of the driver’s license. (www.peoples-law.info/node/1093). If the ALJ believes the evidence does not support suspending the driver’s license, the license will be reinstated.
The proposed suspension for a BAC reading of 0.08 but less than 0.15 is 45 days for a first offender an 90 days for subsequent offenders. A test reading of 0.15 or higher is 90 days for a first offender an 180 days for a subsequent offender. Refusing to take the blood or breath alcohol test could result in a license suspension of 120 days for a first offense and one year for a subsequent offender. An administrative law judge (ALJ) who presides at MVA hearings does not have the discretion to modify the length of the driver’s suspension nor grant a restricted license except for requiring the use of an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device connects a motor vehicle ignition system to a breath analyzer. It measures a driver’s blood alcohol level and prevents a motor vehicle from starting if the driver’s BAC is higher than the allowable setting on the device.
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