Challenging a Howard County DUI
Because Maryland law enforcement officials take DUI charges very seriously, fighting DUI charges can sometimes be difficult. However, the good news is that administrative hearings are much less formal than court hearings. Regardless of the formality of the proceedings, it is always a benefit to have an experienced Howard County DUI lawyer by your side. He or she will be able to provide advice throughout the process and will attempt to make it as painless as possible.
Appearing In a Hearing
To challenge a DUI in Howard County, you must appear in court. Administrative hearings are much different from what you would get in a court room. Hearings take place in the Office of Administrative Hearings or in a local full-service MVA branch. There is a judge who is an Administrative Law Judge. Administrative law is very different from criminal law. The difference is in substance, the evidence, the actual admissibility of the evidence. Administrative hearings, unlike criminal hearings, are somewhat informal. In court everything has to be certified to or testified to in person. Here, the evidence is sent electronically and officers will only appear if requested.
Administratively, on behalf of the MVA, it is just a record of the events that is sent over electronically. When appealing a DUI you would sit with your Howard County DUI attorney at a table and across the table would be an administrative judge. Everything is transmitted electronically and would be on a screen in front of you, and you have the right to challenge anything on that report. If necessary, the judge can continue the case one time to subpoena the officer to appear and testify at the hearing.
They are again very informal. A lot of conversation takes place there. A lot of questions and answers from the judge and from your attorney, back and forth. It is much less stressful for clients to appear in an administrative hearing because there is an ease of communication there. However, the evidentiary standard here is not beyond a reasonable doubt, it is simply by the preponderance of the evidence. What is reasonable can be inferred as true by an administrative judge.
Getting a Restricted License
Depending on the alcohol concentration in your breath you can be eligible for a restricted license so long as the concentration was under .15. If your blood alcohol content is anywhere from .08 up to .149, it is possible for you to be eligible for a restricted license. As long as your BAC isn’t above .149, you may request the administrative judge at the hearing for a restricted license.
How a Howard County DUI Lawyer Can Help
A DUI lawyer will help you throughout this hearing and with whether you should or should not request the hearing, as well as what suspension might be imposed. Also, it is very important for you to understand that once you do request a hearing there will be no suspension issued against your license until the hearing has concluded in front of an administrative judge.
While that first paper license is only good for 45 days and there is a chance a suspension hearing will not be heard by day 46, with your request, you will have an extension of the temporary license mailed to you from the MVA. If you have not received it you should keep in close contact with your attorney to make sure one is sent directly to you, so that it does not impair your ability to drive up to the date of your hearing.
There are certain applicable defenses, so even in an administrative capacity it is very important to find a good Howard County DUI lawyer to help you through the process.