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License Following a First-Offense DUI Charge in Prince George’s County

After having a DUI charged issued to you, you may have a number of questions that cause you worry. What is going to happen? How could this affect a job? Fortunately, there are attorneys who have experience dealing with DUI charges.

A seasoned legal representative could help you understand what could happen in court and what might happen to your license following a first-offense DUI charge in Prince George’s County.

How a First-Time DUI Charge Affects a License in Prince George’s County

With regards to a person’s driver’s license when receiving a first DUI charge in Prince George’s County, the first thing to determine is if an alleged offender is a Maryland licensed driver or not. If they are not a Maryland licensed driver, the State of Maryland cannot take that license from them. They are not allowed to do that.

Anyone charged with a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher or if they refuse to take a breath test, their license could likely be taken by that officer. It would be sent back to the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) or Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the person would be given a DR-15A form. That is a two page white form with perforations at the bottom and on the back is information about the Ignition Interlock Program or a hearing request to the Office of Administrative Hearings where they could have an MVA hearing with their attorney.

People who receive these forms do not want to go in there without a lawyer because they are not likely to win. It is hard enough to win in an MVA hearing as an attorney, but going in without one sets people up for a loss. If they manage to squeak by, it is more likely than not that the Office of the Attorney General is going to review that case and file an appeal. The Attorney General would have to file the appeal first, to gather the information they need, and they have to do it within the time constraints of a 30-day window. Bearing all that in mind, it is essential to have a lawyer in every DUI component: court administration, administrative appeal, whatever it may be. It is important to have someone on an alleged perpetrator’s side because their driver’s license is their ability to go everywhere.

In Prince George’s County, while they have a number of buses, the state still does not have the public transportation system for everyone to rely on to get them to and from work, school, or anywhere else that they may need.

What Happens to a License after a First-Time DUI Conviction in Prince George’s County

With regards to a conviction, if a person is found guilty of DUI, the Maryland Vehicle Administration reserves the right to send them notice of suspension for a DUI conviction. This comes with eight or 12 points, which means a notice of suspension or revocation of their license. The Maryland Department of Transportation notice arrives quickly, and they have a limited window of time to respond and request a hearing. That hearing costs $150. While they are waiting for the hearing, they cannot suspend their license until such time that the hearing concludes with a decision from an Administrative Law Judge. It is important to have an attorney involved in all aspects of possible suspension or revocation of their driver’s license that comes in the mail.

Challenging a Suspension after a First-Time DUI in Prince George’s County

With regards to challenging the suspension of their driver’s license, the officer would give people paperwork (DR-15A form) and on the back of the second page, under “Hearing Request” it says that they may request a hearing from the Office of Administrative Hearings for their license. If they respond within 10 days, they guarantee an extension letter (which means they could continue to drive until their hearing date). The individual could send their “challenge” in any time within that 30 days, but between days 11 and 30, they are not guaranteed to get their extension letter right away.

As long as they submit their request with a $150 check, they could get an administrative hearing, however, any suspension of their license sticks. If their BAC was under 0.15, they have the ability to choose what they would like at an administrative hearing, and could ask for a restricted license, which has to be granted. They could take 180 days suspension or 180 days in an ignition interlock as well.

Conversely, if their BAC was 0.15 or higher, a license is suspended for 180 days with no exceptions unless they take one year of ignition interlock. If they refuse, they could take 270 days suspension with no exceptions.

For ignition interlock, they must complete 12 clean months. If they have a fail, they add a month. If they have two fails or three, the court continues to add a month. If they have a fourth fail, the authorities have the right to pull them from the program and suspend them outright for 30 days. People are allowed to re-enroll, but they must start at zero. It is very important to have an attorney to be able to explain all this to them.

How People Could Apply for Restricted Licenses after Being Charged with a DUI in Prince George’s County

After a person is charged with DUI in Prince George’s County, they have to make sure that they respond immediately for a temporary license within 10 to 30 days, or they run the risk of not having their extension letter on time. That would get them to an administrative hearing in front of the Office of Administrative Hearings which is held at a number of locations in Prince George’s County as well as Waldorf, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County.

That is how they could formally ask for a restricted license that would allow them to drive to work, school, and alcohol education classes. If they have any major health issues for which they have regular doctor appointments, or someone in their immediate family (children, spouse, or parent living in their home) that they have to take somewhere, the Office of Administrative Hearings could give that allowance for such a restriction. However, where a person could drive under those conditions is exceptionally limited.

If Acquitted, How Could a Person Get Their License Back?

It is important to remember that a DUI carries two paths. One path is through the district court of the county that they are in Prince George’s, Hyattsville or Upper Marlboro. Path two is through the Office of Administrative Hearings for Maryland Vehicle Administration. If they refused to take a breath test and did not get a breath score, their attorney is going to be quite happy with that–there is going to be no evidence to introduce against them at trial.

However, the penalty for the refusal is mandated by legislation and that statute carries 270 days to spend straight in jail or a one year of ignition interlock. Even on an acquittal, they are still suspended because they refused. The suspension of their license, the impact of their inability to drive, the imposition of it having an ignition interlock are restricted or fully suspended, and has nothing to do with what happens in the District Court or Circuit Court. In fact, the Circuit Court and District Court could only be impacted by adding more time. It never relieves them of any time they are penalized to serve.

Speak with an Attorney Immediately

Because the nature of first-time DUIs are so sensitive, it is critical for alleged offenders to connect with an attorney as soon as possible. The courts are more likely to show leniency during a first offence. Your license may even be at stake. Your license following a first-offense DUI charge in Prince George’s County could be suspended or revoked entirely. Because of  this, you need to connect with an attorney immediately.