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Drinking And Driving Offenses

The enforcement of drunk driving offenses are very strictly enforced.  A lot of proactive participation in your defense is expected by the court.  Failure to do what is expected or to appear for trial unprepared can result in serious consequences, like incarceration and losing your driving privileges.  This can happen even if it is your first offense.

At the time of the stop:

When you are stopped for a drinking and driving offense whether you refuse to submit to the test, or submit to the test and the result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, your Maryland driver’s license will be confiscated, you will he issued an Order of Suspension and, if eligible, a temporary license valid for 45 days. The following periods of suspension shall he imposed against your license or privilege to drive in Maryland:

Blood Alcohol more than .08 and less than .15

If your test result is an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15: The suspension will be 45 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second or subsequent offense.

Blood Alcohol of more than .15

If your test result is an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more: The suspension will be 90 days for a first offense and 180 days for if second or subsequent offense.  Also, you may consider participation in the interlock program.  The Ignition Interlock System Program (§ 16-404.1 of the Maryland Vehicle Law) requires that the vehicle(s) you drive to be equipped with a device that prevents you from operating it if you have alcohol in your blood.  You blow into the device, and your blood alcohol is tested.

Refusal of Breath Test

If you refuse to submit to a test: The suspension will he 120 days for a first offense and one (1) year for a second or subsequent offense. An additional criminal penalty of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or both, may be imposed under § 27­101(x) of the Maryland Vehicle Law if you are convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense under § 21-902, and the judge or jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly refused to take a test arising out of the same circumstances.

Consequences to License for Refusal or Blood Alcohol over .15

The penalty for suspension of your license can be modified under certain circumstances, but not if you refuse a test, or take a test with a result of 0.15.  In these circumstances you are ineligible for modification of the suspension or issuance of a restrictive license, unless you participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program under § 16-404.1 of the Maryland Vehicle Law. This program requires the vehicle(s) you drive to be equipped with a device that prevents you from operating it if you have alcohol in your blood.

You will be scheduled for a hearing at the Administrative Offices of the Motor Vehicle Administration.  At a hearing, an administrative judge may modify a suspension by permitting you to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for one year, but is not required to do so.

In the alternative, you may elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for one year, instead of the period of suspension, if the following conditions are met:

1) Your driver’s license is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused;

2) You were not charged with a moving violation arising out of the same Circumstances as the Order of Suspension that involved the death of, or serious physical injury to, another person; and

3) Within thirty (30) days of the date of the Order of Suspension you:

-Elect in writing to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for one year, instead of requesting a hearing

AND

-Surrender a valid Maryland dri­ver’s license or sign a statement certifying that the license is no longer in your possession. An ignition interlock election form is located on the reverse side of the driver’s copy of the Order of Suspension.

You Have the Right to Request an Administrative Hearing:

You may request an Administrative Hearing at any time within 30 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to show why your driver’s license or privilege should not be suspended. You must request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to insure that your privilege to drive is not suspended prior to your hearing. Your request for a hearing must be made in writing. You may use the “Hearing Request” form if available. Send your request to the Office of Administrative Hearings at 11101 Gilroy Rd., Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301. You must include a check or money order for $125.00, which is the required filing fee, made payable to the “Maryland State Treasurer.” Your request for a hearing will be invalid if submitted without the required $125.00 filing fee.

Commercial Driver’s License

If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and were driving a non-commercial motor vehicle when you were stopped, and refuse to submit to a test, your CDL, or privilege will be disqualified for one year for a first offense or for life if your CDL or privilege has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year under § 16-812(a) or (b) of the Maryland Transportation Article, a federal law, or any other state’s law. If you were driving a commercial motor vehicle and refuse the test, your CDL or privilege will be disqualified.

Offenses Occurring While Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle:

In addition to any suspension for a test failure or refusal, if you were operating a commercial motor vehicle and your test result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0,04 or more, or you refused to submit to a test, your commercial driver’s license or privilege shall be disqualified 1 year for a first offense, or 3 years for a first offense committed while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, and disqualified for life if your commercial driver’s license has been previously disqualified for at least one year under MD TM 16-812(a) or (b), a federal law, or any other state’s law.

Your Driver’s 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 for one year instead of requesting a hearing.
    • 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.

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