How Do Temporary Licenses (DR-15A) Even Work in Maryland?Having a driver’s license is one of those things you take for granted. It’s not until after you lose it that you realize how much of your life relies on being able to drive where you want, when you want. Most of us have jobs, kids, and other life obligations that simply require having your own transportation. Public transport is great, but it’s usually time-consuming, inconvenient, and doesn’t actually take you to the exact location you want to go — and if your job IS driving, you can’t exactly use a bus.

So, because of how much losing a license can uproot one’s life, the law has a process for allowing those awaiting a DUI conviction to continue to drive. There are restrictions, of course, and conditions that can affect one’s eligibility, but getting a temporary license is one thing you might actually want. Just, make sure you understand how it works so you don’t accidentally get yourself in more trouble.

How a DUI in Annapolis can lead to a DR-15A

If you’re pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence of anything, chances are the officer is going to ask you to take a test. Unless you caused an accident, they say they’re asking and you have the right to refuse. What they say much quieter, though, is that if you DO refuse to take a breathalyzer/chemical test, your license gets suspended — for a long time. If you agree to take the test and it shows an illegal BAC level, guess what! You still lose your license.

Alongside that suspension, however, you might also be given a temporary license known as a DR-15A. These allow you to continue driving for 45 days past your suspension, which can give you time to make other arrangements in your life to make sustaining yourself with no license doable. It’s not always a given you’ll get one, though. For example, if you refuse to take a test OR your test shows a BAC above .15, you can only get a temporary license if you also join the Ignition Interlock Program, which involves installing a device you have to breathe in before your engine will work. (Oh, and you have to pay for it, too.)

If you request a hearing to argue why your license shouldn’t be suspended within 10 days of receiving the Order of Suspension, you can make sure you keep your license until that hearing decides otherwise. But you have to pay for that too, and many people don’t even know it’s an option. That’s partially why getting in touch with an attorney ASAP is so important — because we can answer those questions and illuminate those options.

Now, if you do get a DR-15A, you may be able to drive for 45 days — but you no longer have a picture ID. That means certain privileges like air travel and buying alcohol are off limits. However, you as an individual can contact the MVA to request a “duplicate driver’s license,” which solves the issue. You’ll have to give it up at the same time you give up the DR-15A, but it means your 45 days can be relatively normal as you make your plans. After those 45 days, and only after you give up your temporary licenses, you can get an ID card that allows you to have photo ID but does not allow you to drive. That’s what you’ll be stuck with until your real, normal license is returned.

What if you get pulled over for drunk driving while you have a DR-15A? Well, believe it or not, the officer just issues you a new one. It certainly doesn’t help your chances to avoid an actual conviction, though.

Can an Annapolis DUI defense lawyer help if I lose my license?

If you’re convicted of a DUI, you’re losing your driving privileges. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Regardless of anything else, once you’re found guilty, you can kiss that independence goodbye for as long as they say. So, as helpful as a temporary license can be, it’s best to avoid needing one altogether. Or, at least, it’s best to only need it until your hearing.

Maryland takes DUI convictions at any level incredibly seriously. This doesn’t just mean facing harsh legal penalties like fines, jail time, and a loss of license — it also means collateral consequences like higher insurance premiums, difficulty finding employment, and the need to attend lengthy treatment programs. Whatever your specific mix of consequences turns out to be, it’s definitely going to be expensive, time-consuming, and life-altering.

So, if you are charged with a DUI, don’t wait to contact a skilled Annapolis DUI defense attorney. Not only can they advocate on your behalf at your MVA hearing to help avoid a license suspension, they can also fight for your rights in the courtroom and get the charges against you either dropped or minimized. There are always options to pursue, no matter how complicated or one-sided your case may seem. A good attorney knows to explore defenses like:

  • Questioning the validity of any tests you took
  • Asserting the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over
  • Saying the officer didn’t have authority to test you
  • Questioning the chain of custody of any evidence against you

A great attorney knows that’s not a comprehensive list. These defenses aren’t just something you should google and recreate yourself; you want an attorney’s education and experience to actually mount a defense correctly. Law is complicated. You can accidentally implicate yourself — an attorney makes sure you can’t.

At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys work in Ellicott City and Annapolis to make sure every citizen is treated fairly by the law, no matter what side of it they may be on. We know what we’re doing, and we can prove it. To learn more, call us today at 410-271-1892 or use our contact form. Don’t learn we’re right the hard way.

Just remember – keep calm, and call Drew!