Suspended License in Maryland
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Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver’s license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what’s on record at the MVA. This report will also show points against your license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.
In Maryland, driving is not an inalienable right. It is a privilege. In this case the right is bestowed upon you by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).
Maryland has a point system that collects and calculates all of your road transgressions. Each offense carries a point value between one and 12. Hitting the high end by amassing too many tickets or with one big infraction will result in your license being suspended or revoked.
There are two types of suspension you can receive from the MVA.
Collecting eight to 11 points, but none of the offenses involving alcohol or drugs, will get you this notice. It is the lighter of the two overall, but not by much: a license suspension still means you cannot drive. If you receive a letter from the MVA informing you that this action is being taken you essentially can do two things:
- Return your license via mail or in person at any MVA office. Depending on the infraction(s) involved, the suspension could last anywhere from three months to one year.
- If you disagree with the notice, you have 15 days to appeal and ask for a hearing. Luckily, the form that the MVA sends out has detailed instructions on how to go about making this request. Once the hearing application is processed, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will get in touch with you letting you know where to go, when, and at what time. Until the hearing your license is still considered suspended and you are not allowed to operate a vehicle.
This involves the same concept as the points suspension, except one of the infractions adding up to a total in the neighborhood of eight to eleven had something to do with driving with alcohol or drugs in your system.
You can also get a standard suspension by not paying a traffic fine, or by falsifying information on your driver license application.
- Return your license via mail or in person at any MVA office. Depending on the infraction(s) involved the suspension could last anywhere from three months to one year.
- If you disagree with the notice, you have 15 days to appeal and ask for a hearing. Luckily, the form that the MVA sends out has detailed instructions on how to go about making this request. Once the hearing application is processed, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will get in touch with you letting you know where to go, when, and at what time. Until the hearing your license is still considered suspended and you are not allowed to operate a vehicle. There is a fee for the hearing for which you are responsible.
- There is a way that you can keep the suspension at bay: allow an interlock device to be hooked to your vehicle. This device can cause quite the embarrassment, making you blow into a tube that checks your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before starting your car, but if you need to drive, this is the route to take.
A suspended license does not necessarily mean you must totally stay out of your vehicle. If in the rare circumstance you can show evidence of need, the state may impose a restriction that allows you to at least drive to work and back.
In some instances, if the suspension was due to an alcohol-related incident, you may install an interlock system on your vehicle to retain your driving privileges.
If you accumulate 12 or more points against your driving record in a two-year span the MVA will revoke your driving privilege. This means the license is kaput. You will not see it again. If and when you receive any type of reinstatement you will need to re-apply for a driver license. Your options are the same as with a suspended license: turn in the document, try for a hearing, or, if the charge was alcohol-related, get the interlock.
If your license was revoked due to driving under the influence (DUI), then you will need to attend an Alcohol Education Program before applying for a new license. The 12-hour program is designed to steer you clear of any future incidents involving intoxicating beverages and cars―unless it is a taxi or bus.
The course also takes a physiological route and analyzes each participant to determine whether there is a more serious problem involved with abuse or dependency. If you fall into this category the division will require you undergo more intensive therapy in the form of a 26-week treatment program.
One way to lose your license in one fell swoop is by being charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Like most states, Maryland just does not mess around with this sort offense. In most cases, when you fail the roadside sobriety test administered by a law enforcement officer your license is the first thing you lose. The officer takes it. You go in the back seat, most likely in handcuffs. Not fun stuff, especially if the evening was going great.
One thing that the state will do once you get a license back is keep an alcohol restriction on the license, much like someone who wears glasses has a restriction. These restrictions can come in a few ways (most likely if you use an interlock) and can last up to three years before you can apply to have it removed.
The MVA Administrative Adjudication Division is who you will need to contact when you are asking for a restriction to be removed.
A reinstatement from a revocation is a little easier than trying to get a restriction removed, but it still requires plenty of waiting. And at least with the restriction you can actually drive, which you can't do with a revocation.
If you are only on your first alcohol-related offense you may be able to reapply for a license in as little as six months. But most likely you will have to wait a year.
The more DUIs you build up the longer you have to wait before trying to get back on the road. When you feel like you have met all of the prerequisites for reinstatement, contact the MVA Driver Wellness and Safety Division.
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