There are many reasons why your driver’s license might be suspended. You may have too many points on your driving record. You may be convicted of an offense so serious that your driver’s license will be taken away, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In many cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer is needed during an MVA hearing so that your license is not subject to suspension. Your lawyer may be able to convince a hearing judge that, even though you were convicted of a traffic violation or criminal offense, you should be able to keep your driver’s license.
Is an MVA hearing like a court hearing?
MVA hearings are different than hearings in front of judges for criminal courts. The MVA is not a criminal court. It is an administrative court with unique rules.
There are specific time limits for filing for an MVA hearing depending on the reason for your suspension. Your lawyer can explain the time limits – but only if you call him as soon as you receive a suspension notice.
What are the reasons a driver’s license could be suspended?
There are a lot of reasons your driver’s license could be suspended, and almost all of them stem from traffic violations:
- You’ve got too many points on your license.
- You don’t have a valid license and you get caught driving around.
- You’ve gotten too many speeding tickets, or your ticket was for an excessive speed.
- You got busted for street racing.
- You’ve been convicted of a hit-and-run.
- You’re driving around without insurance.
- You got busted for reckless driving.
- You got convicted of a DUI or DWI.
- You refused to take a breath test.
- You ignored a traffic ticket (or 12) and now the State wants your license until you pay up.
What happens if you drive while your license is suspended?
If the Maryland Department of Transportation learns that you drove while your license was suspended, your right to drive can be revoked. With a driver suspension, you can normally drive again if you serve the driving suspension and comply with any other conditions. Other conditions generally include filing fees and proving proof of liability insurance. You may need to complete a driver improvement program.
If your driver’s license is revoked, you need to:
- Wait out the revocation period.
- Visit or call the Maryland MVA Driver Wellness and Safety Division. This agency will review your driving record to determine if you are eligible for reinstatement. If you are eligible, you’ll need to bring the reinstatement notice and fee to the MVA Driver Wellness and Safety Division. You can then apply for a new driver’s license.
If you drive while your license is suspended you can be charged with a crime – Section 16-303 of the Maryland Transportation statute. You will likely be assessed 12 points which means your license will be instantly revoked (if it hasn’t been revoked already). With limited exceptions:
- The penalty for a first offense of driving while your license is inactive (due to a suspension or revocation) is imprisonment up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- The penalty for a second or subsequent offense increases to up to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- Violations of some sections of the law may result in fines up to $500.
If you had liability insurance for an auto accident, that coverage will likely not apply if you drive on a suspended license. This means, if you cause a car crash, you will be personally liable for any injuries or deaths you cause. You can also be charged with driving without having proper insurance coverage.
Whether and when your insurance is canceled depends on the language in the insurance contract. Normally, insurance companies provide that your coverage is (or can be) canceled if your license is suspended.
A question you should review with your lawyer is whether another member of your family (one whose license has not been suspended) can drive your car and whether he/she will be covered by your insurance in the case of an accident.
Can I apply for a restricted license?
The Maryland MVA is also the agency that reviews your request for a restricted license. The agency may grant a restricted license that permits you to drive to work, school, or authorized locations, like a doctor’s office or probation meetings. If you drive anywhere other than work, school, or the approved locations, you can be charged with driving while your license is suspended.
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, we fight aggressively to help you defend any traffic citations or criminal charges that may result in a suspension or revocation of your license. We represent defendants at criminal hearings and MVA hearings. We’ll explain your rights regarding restrictive licenses. To discuss any traffic offenses or criminal offenses, it is important that you speak with an experienced Annapolis MVA hearing attorney as soon as possible. There are strict timelines for both criminal cases and MVA hearings. You can schedule an appointment by calling 410-271-1892 or completing our contact form. Serving Annapolis, Ellicott City, and the surrounding areas.
And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.