What happens to Your License After a DUI in Maryland?

If an individual is arrested for drunk driving in Maryland and the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that they are driving while impaired or driving under the influence, then the police will request that the individuals submit to a blood or breath test. If an individual refuses to take that breath or blood test then the motor vehicle administration may suspend that driver’s license or require them to participate in the ignition interlock program.

If a driver submits to a test and returns a result of .08 and less than .14, the driver may be eligible for a modified or restricted license. If an individual submits to a test and returns a result of .07 or less, there are no administrative penalties, and the driver’s license will not be taken or suspended. With the help of a Maryland DUI lawyer, you may be able to keep your license after a drunk driving charge.

In addition to the initial MVA consequences if a defendant is found guilty, meaning they do not receive a PBJ in court, then the motor vehicle administration will suspend their license or require them to participate in the ignition interlock program. Many clients have questions about requesting an MVA hearing. Each drunk driving arrest is unique and the individual should consult with a Maryland DWI lawyer to determine if they are eligible for an MVA Hearing. In addition, it may not be beneficial to request an MVA hearing and the individual will be required to pay a $150 hearing request fee. That fee may be avoided if an MVA hearing would be futile.

Will You be Able to Drive After a DUI arrest?

Yes, you will be able to drive after you’re drunk driving arrest in Maryland, but there may be some administrative penalties or sanctions that will apply to your driver’s license. If you are not a Maryland licensed driver, the police will not confiscate your license and you will be able to drive in your home state as well as the other 49 other states.

If you were licensed Maryland driver at the time of the DUI arrest, and you had a breath test result of .08 or more or you refuse to take the test, the police will confiscate your license. The police will issue a temporary license that will allow you to drive for 45 days after the DUI arrest. Depending on your decision to take the test or not take the breath test will dictate the next step.

Preliminary Breath Test in Maryland

It is not uncommon for a police officer who is investigating a drunk driving case to initiate the use of a preliminary breath test. A preliminary breath test (PBT) is typically administered on a field unit that the officer carries in his vehicle.

A police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that an individual is or has been driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or while impaired by alcohol may, without making an arrest and prior to the issuance of a citation, request the individual to submit to a preliminary breath test to be administered by the officer using a device approved by the State Toxicologist.

A refusal to take the PBT nor the taking PBT shall prevent or require a subsequent chemical test at the police station. The results of the preliminary breath test are a guide for the police officer in deciding whether an arrest should be made and may not be used as evidence by the State in any court action.

The results of the preliminary breath test may not be used by the State but may be used as evidence by a defendant in a court action. The taking of or refusal to submit to a preliminary breath test is not admissible in evidence in any court action.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests (FST’s) are tests performed on the road side by a police officer to determine if there is enough evidence to make a DUI or DWI arrest. In Maryland, the most common FST’s are the:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
  • Walk and Turn Test
  • One Leg Stand Test

While these tests are not conclusive, they can be used in Court as evidence that a driver is impaired or under the influence. For more information about this topic, read our page on Field Sobriety Tests.

Do You Have to Take the Field Sobriety Tests?

No, in Maryland you are not required to take the field sobriety tests. Field sobriety test or FST are the tests administered on the roadside by the police officer. They typically include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the walk and turn test and the one leg test. A Maryland DUI lawyer can challenge the FST and may be able to discredit the police officer and the manner they were administered.

These tests are intended to help the police officer establish probable cause to make the arrest. If an individual refuses to take these tests, there are no additional penalties for refusal. However, if an individual refuses to take the tests then they will more likely and not be arrested and taken to the police station to submit to a breath or blood test.

What if You didn’t Take the field Sobriety Test on the Side of the Road?

There are no penalties for not taking the field sobriety test on the side of the road. Field sobriety test are tool used by the police to determine if you are driving under the influence (“DUI”) or driving while impaired (“DWI”).

It is merely an evidence tactic that the police use to build a case against you. There are no administrative penalties for refusing to take the field sobriety tests. The police and the state’s attorney merely have less evidence to use at your trial.

If you refuse to take a breath or blood test, the sanctions are a bit stiffer. You still have a right to request an MVA hearing for the purposes of arguing that the officer did not satisfy one or more of the seven issues they can be argued.

Or you may accept the license suspension for the prescribed period of time according to the DR-15. And finally, you may be eligible to enroll in the ignition interlock program.

The ignition interlock program is a contract with the motor vehicle administration where you agree to place on your vehicle a device that controls the ignition system.

Can You Get Your License Back Pending a DUI Arrest?

According to a letter from the MVA, as to February 2016, individual served with an order of suspension after a DUI, including a 45-day temporary license were eligible to get an ID card in Maryland.

This is been discontinued and now pursuant to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and individual serve with a temporary license, Deere 15a, is authorized to continue to drive for 45 days.

The MVA will, upon request by that individual, issue a duplicate driver’s license so the driver can continue to drive and be able to display a form of photo identification during the 45-day.

The MVA will instruct the driver that they must surrender that duplicate license on the 46 day or at a hearing if one is requested. In addition to a duplicate license, individual issued a temporary license may surrender their license to drive and start the suspension.

Earlier than a 45-day period, an individual then may obtain an ID card or driver’s license, when the ID card is issued the driving privileges also surrendered an individual may not lawfully Drive in Maryland.

If an ID card is obtained from the MVA, the motor vehicle administration will not require the DR-15 temporary license to be surrendered, as the driver may still percent that documentation for the Ignition Interlock system provider.