MVA Hearing Maryland: Should I Request one?
An MVA hearing is generally much more straightforward than a court case. There is no State Attorney or prosecutor and no police officer. Learn more here.
MVA Administrative Hearings
If you are arrested for drunk driving in Maryland, a law enforcement officer will most likely confiscate your driver’s license. If you do not request a hearing through the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), your driving privileges will be at risk.
An MVA or administrative hearing occurs before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). At the hearing, the status of your driving privileges will be determined. If you want to contest the automatic suspension of your driver’s license, you must schedule a hearing within 10 days of the DR-15A Order of Suspension issuance.
Bear in mind that the MVA hearing doesn’t impact whether the defendant would be found guilty in the criminal proceeding of a DUI case, nor does it impact potential jail time for that offense. However, a Maryland DUI lawyer can represent you at the hearing to ensure the judge hears why they shouldn’t have your driver’s license suspended.
The law sees a person’s license as a privilege, which means it can easily be taken away.
Requesting an MVA Hearing
Following an arrest for DUI, the driver is provided with a DR-15A form, which serves as an officer’s Order of Suspension and temporary license. Typically, the temporary license is valid for 45 days from the date of issue, but the license is valid until the date of the MVA hearing if the hearing is requested within 10 days.
The back of the DR-15A form contains essential information, including instructions on how to request a hearing. Hearing requests must be made in writing, but you may use the “Hearing Request” form if one is available.
Requests must be sent to:
Office of Administrative Hearings
11101 Gilroy Rd
The MVA hearing request much also be accompanied by a check or money order for $150.00 made payable to the Maryland State Treasurer. Without this payment, Maryland MVA hearing requests are considered invalid.
Even though you can request an MVA hearing within thirty days of the date of the Order of Suspension, if you request it within ten days, you will ensure that your driving privileges have not been suspended before the hearing.
What Happens at an MVA Hearing?
MVA hearings are held in the administrative judge’s office and attended by the accused drunk driver and the judge. The accused can also have their attorney present at the hearing.
When the hearing starts, the judge presents the case via paperwork, which includes the documents the arresting officer sent regarding the DUI arrest. These documents constitute the entire Maryland MVA case.
After the judge looks at these documents, the accused can present their case and have their witnesses testify. When the testimony is concluded, the accused driver’s attorney tells the judge why the accused’s driver’s license shouldn’t be suspended.
At the end of the MVA hearing, the judge then decides the case. If they find that the license should be suspended, the attorney can ask for a modified suspension or a restricted license.
A person’s license is much more likely to be suspended if they caused injury or death to a person, property damage, or if a minor was present in the vehicle when they were stopped.
Are MVA Cases Harder than Court Cases?
An MVA hearing is much easier to handle than a court case. Although MVA hearings have no contact with the criminal justice system, having a lawyer by your side who understands the procedure can be beneficial.
On the other hand, those who need to handle drunk driving charges in court have much more at stake than a simple loss of driving privilege. Hence, they need to hire experienced DUI attorneys to represent them.
A DUI or DWI arrest can often lead to additional charges for other traffic offenses. But, skilled DUI attorneys at Scrofano Law will fight to restore your freedom. Our DC criminal lawyer and Virginia criminal lawyer are ready to fight and protect your rights in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
Can the MVA Reschedule the Hearing?
All MVA hearings are scheduled at the OAH about four to six weeks after the hearing request date. The individual requesting an MVA hearing will be notified of the hearing date, location, and time by mail.
If you would like to reschedule or postpone a hearing date, a written request for postponement must be submitted to the OAH five days before the scheduled MVA hearing date. In that request, you have to explain why you are requesting the postponement.
If you missed your hearing and want to reschedule it, you have to submit the written request to the MVA Administrative Adjudication Division (AAD).
Upon approval, the hearing location, time, and date will be notified to the person. A rejection will also be communicated in writing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Get a Restricted Driver’s License?
Only drivers whose test results of an alcohol concentration were at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 are eligible for modified suspension or a restrictive license.
If the driver’s breath or blood test result showed an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more or the driver refused to do the breathalyzer test, the only type of modified license available requires an ignition interlock device to be installed for a year.
If the driver took a breath or blood test and the results were less than 0.08, they won’t be subjected to administrative penalties.
Can MVA Suspend a Driver’s License Even If the Person Is Found Not Guilty at Court?
Yes, a driver could be found not guilty in court and still face license suspension for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test or getting an alcohol concentration test result of more than 0.08.
For a test result of more than 0.08 but less than 0.15 alcohol concentration, the suspension period is 45 days for the first offense and 90 days for a second or subsequent offense. If the test results showed BAC higher than 0.15, the period of a suspended license is twice as long – 90 days for the first offense and 180 days for a second or subsequent offense. However, suspension periods can be modified at the discretion of MD MVA.
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