Restricted Licenses in Maryland
Though no one wants to have to endure the frustration of working around restrictions on when and where they can drive, the fact is that for people who have been convicted of DUI, having a restricted license in Maryland can be a huge help. For those whose only alternative is no driver’s license at all, a restricted license can be a great benefit that allows them to continue managing their daily responsibilities. Another way for drivers to have their driving privileges reinstated is to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This can allow them to continue driving in their day-to-day life, albeit on a monitored basis.
What is a restricted driver’s license?
In Maryland, a restricted license is precisely what it sounds like: a driver’s license that comes with certain stipulations as to when and how it can be used. Restricted licenses are issued to those drivers whose normal licenses have been suspended or revoked due to legal trouble, usually because they have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). These licenses allow drivers to use their vehicles in order to get to and from work, school, childcare centers, or religious locales. Drivers who have been found guilty of DUI can request a restricted license in order to reduce the negative impact that the DUI would have on their driving privileges.
Not all drivers who have faced a drunk driving conviction are eligible for a restricted driver’s license. The law says that only those drivers who agree to submit to a chemical test and are found to have a BAC between .08 and .15 percent are eligible for a restricted license. If you are in desperate need of a restricted license due to work or school obligations, it’s usually a good idea to get your boss or school to provide a letter on your behalf explaining your need for the restricted license. Enrollment documents for childcare programs, alcohol treatment centers, and other obligations can help in your attempt to win a restricted license.
Other Ways to Get a Restricted License
Even if you are not eligible for the restricted license due to a BAC above the limit or because you refused to submit to a chemical test, there is still another way to have your driving privileges restored. The easiest option is to request the ability to install an ignition interlock device, something that allows the driver to be issued a restricted license.
What is ignition interlock?
An ignition interlock device is a piece of equipment that behaves much like a Breathalyzer, except that unlike a handheld Breathalyzer, the ignition interlock device is installed in your car’s dashboard. The device works by requiring the driver to breathe into a tube that performs a test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration. Assuming that the test comes back below the programmed amount, the device will then allow the car to start. If the breath test reveals that the person has a higher than permitted BAC, the car will not start and a failure will be reported to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). The ignition interlock device will also require the driver to blow into it periodically while the car is in motion. This prevents people who have been drinking from having a sober friend blow into the interlock device to get the car started so that they can then drive the car themselves.
Maryland, like many other states, has begun using ignition interlock devices to monitor the behavior of some drivers who were found guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol in conjunction with restricted licenses. The system in Maryland has recently undergone changes related to which drivers will be required to install the device, a process that will mean many drivers in the state will have to install the monitoring technology in their vehicles.
Benefits of Ignition Interlock
In many cases, having an ignition interlock installed is the only way that a person will be allowed to maintain their driver’s license. The MVA will issue restricted licenses to those with an installed interlock device, which allows the person to drive to work, run errands, go to school, and pick up their children. Though the devices can be a burden, for some people they are actually a welcome relief. The ignition interlock device can greatly reduce the negative consequences that a DUI conviction has on a person’s life.
Who will be required to install an ignition interlock device?
Under recently implemented laws in Maryland, there are three groups of drivers that will be required to participate in the ignition interlock program. The first group includes those under 21 who violated the state’s zero tolerance alcohol policy. The second group is made of up drivers over 21 who have been convicted of a second DUI within five years of their first offense. Finally, those drivers over 21 who are found to have a BAC greater than .15 will have to install the interlock devices if they want to continue to enjoy their driving privileges.
Contact a Maryland Restricted License Attorney
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you may want to explore a restricted license in Maryland or an ignition interlock as methods to maintain your driving privileges. Criminal defense attorney Seth Okin has extensive experience with DUI cases and he can help you explore all your options in terms of mitigating the negative impact that a conviction would have on your life. Call his Maryland law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.