Before you have to face a judge or jury on the charges that arise out of a traffic stop for drunk driving, you will have to request a hearing before the Motor Vehicle Administration or you will face the automatic loss of your Maryland drivers’ license. You have thirty (30) days to request a hearing, but if you do not make your request within ten (10) days, your driver’s license may be suspended prior to your hearing, therefore you want to make certain that your hearing request is made within ten (10) days from the date of your arrest. This is a very tight time deadline and you should act immediately or you may lose your license.
Your request must be made, in writing, through the headquarters of the MVA in Hunt Valley, Maryland. You must also enclose a filing fee. There is a form that the officer will give you at the time of your arrest which will enable you to get a hearing. It is on the reverse side of the Officer’s Certification and Order of Suspension. You do not need to wait until you meet with an attorney to request the hearing. You can do it yourself and should do so if there is any chance you will miss that 10 day deadline. It is better to hire an attorney immediately and have the attorney do it. But if you cannot, then do it yourself.
As of this writing, the address to which the form is mailed is:
Office of Administrative Hearings
Motor Vehicle Administration
11101 Gilroy Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031-1301
Check the Maryland MVA website to be sure that is still the right address. You must send a check along with your request. There is a $125 administrative fee which must be paid to the MVA at the time of your request. Make your check payable to Maryland State Treasurer. If you fail to include the fee, your hearing request will be denied.
If a hearing is requested within 10 days, and your Maryland driver’s license was surrendered, a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of the receipt of your request and your license will not be suspended before you appear for this scheduled hearing. If a hearing was requested between 11 and 30 days of the issuance of the Order of Suspension, a hearing will be scheduled within 45 days of the receipt of your request but the suspension still takes effect on the 46th day from the order of suspension. If you wish to be represented by an attorney, you should contact one immediately. But you can still request your hearing yourself. Do not delay your hearing request.
If you request a hearing before the MVA, your case will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ is an employee of the State of Maryland, but is not employed by the MVA. The ALJ acts as a neutral fact finder in your Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge administrative hearing.
The MVA holds hearings at various locations throughout the state. Where your hearing will be held depends on where you live. For the vast majority of our clients, hearings are at the Waldorf MVA full service branch. If you are subject to a hearing, you will receive a notice from the MVA with the date, time and location of your hearing.
St. Charles Business Park
11 Industrial Park Drive
Waldorf, MD 20602
The MVA hearing is similar to going to court. Instead of making a decision on fines and jail time, however, the ALJ will be deciding whether you to get to keep your driving privileges, and under what conditions you will be permitted to drive. In Maryland, the MVA hearing is a records hearing. The officer is not typically present to testify in person. The licensee, however, may provide testimony if desired.
At the MVA hearing, the ALJ will take testimony and receive evidence and make decisions regarding the facts and the law in your particular case. There are set procedures that govern the conduct of these hearings. A Maryland DUI or DWI lawyer will be familiar with the procedures and regulations and can assist you during the hearing.
We really cannot advise anyone to try and handle their own MVA hearing after a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland. We are not just saying that to get more business. There are serious consequences to mishandling this hearing, and the outcome is totally based on the unique facts and circumstances of your particular case. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your individual case, the MVA hearing can result in the loss of your driving privileges, a work-restricted license, or participation in the ignition interlock program.