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DUI & DWI Handbook

Hey there! So, you’ve gotten a DUI/DWI in Maryland, and that’s a pretty serious situation. Part of that whole process involves something called an MVA hearing, which stands for Motor Vehicle Administration hearing. Think of it like a mini-trial, but instead of going to court, you’re dealing with the MVA, the state agency that handles driver’s licenses and all that stuff.

What’s the point of an MVA hearing?

This hearing is basically your chance to fight the suspension of your driver’s license. Remember, when you get a DUI/DWI, your license is automatically suspended for a certain period, even before your actual court case. This MVA hearing is separate from the court case – it’s just about your driving privileges.

Why choose between a hearing and the interlock?

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. You have two main options after a DUI/DWI:

  1. Request an MVA hearing: This is where you try to convince the MVA officer that your license shouldn’t be suspended, or at least, not for the full duration.
  2. Install an ignition interlock device (IID): This is a breathalyzer-like device that you have to blow into before your car will start. If it detects alcohol, your car won’t start.

You can’t do both. If you choose the hearing route, you can’t get an IID. And if you install an IID, you’re essentially giving up your right to a hearing.

Why would I want an IID?

The IID might seem like a pain, but it actually has a big advantage. If you install it, you can usually get a restricted license right away, meaning you can still drive to work, school, etc. If you only go with the hearing, you won’t be able to drive at all until after the hearing – and even then, you might lose your license for a while.

What if I lose the hearing?

Even if you request a hearing and end up losing, the MVA officer might still give you the option to install an IID to get a restricted license. So, you might end up with the interlock anyway.

The 10-day deadline:

This is super important! You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request an MVA hearing. If you miss that deadline, you lose your right to challenge the suspension.

The bottom line:

It’s a tough decision to make. Do you take your chances with the hearing and risk losing your license completely? Or do you install the IID and get a restricted license, but with the hassle of the device? Talk to a lawyer ASAP – they can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your situation.