How Long Do You Lose Your License for a DUI In Maryland?

After a DUI license suspension, life can feel like it’s put on pause. But, it still goes on – and suspensions won’t last forever. In Maryland, you can even shorten your license suspension to a little over a month through rehabilitation and proven life changes!

If you’re facing a license suspension due to a DUI, then you should know how long you could be without your license – and how to decrease the possible timeline.

How Long Will You Lose Your License for a DUI? It Depends.

So, you got pulled over under suspicion for driving under the influence. Allow yourself a moment to panic, but remember it's not the end of the world. Mistakes happen, and Maryland law is built around recovery and forgiveness.

Bottom line is, no matter what number offense or how serious it is, most adults will lose their license for at least 30 days.

However, if you refuse to take a test when asked, then you will lose your license for at least 120 days, or around four months.

When you take an alcohol test of any sort, the magic number you’re looking for is 0.08 – that is, you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or less.

  • If you take a breathalyzer or “blow” test and your BAC registers as less than 0.08%, then you cannot be charged with a DUI.
    • That said, if your BAC is between 0.06% and 0.08%, you could be charged with DWI – Driving While Impaired – that is still serious if not as bad as a DUI. 
  • However, if you are caught driving with a BAC level between 0.08% and 0.15%, then your license will be suspended for 45 days for a first offense.
  • If your BAC tests 0.15% or above, then now is the time to consult a lawyer. Testing in this range for the first offense means your license could be suspended for 90 days, and 190 days for the second offense.

Modifying Your Automatic License Suspension

For your first offense under 0.15%, you are automatically sentenced the 45 days – but, there is room for modification.

“Modification” means that you can request – “file for” – a future court date (after paying a fee) starting 10 days after your initial arrest. You will then receive a hearing within the next 30 days so you can argue for a different sentence.

If you file for a modification 11-30 days after your initial arrest, then you will have a hearing within the next 45 days.

Don’t wait longer than 30 days, though! Filing for a hearing more than 30 days after your arrest means that your request will be denied.

License suspension shouldn’t be your only concern, however. A DUI in Maryland is also punishable by a maximum penalty of over 90 days in jail. Offenders have a right to defense by trial, which usually requires a lawyer for best results.

>>READ MORE ABOUT DUIs IN MARYLAND<<

DUIs and Commercial License Holders

If you hold a commercial license and are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, then it’s definitely time to lawyer up.

Professional drivers charged for having a BAC of over just 0.04% risk losing their license for over a year.

If they transport hazardous materials, drivers can have their CHL suspended for 3 years. Any second offense, and professional drivers risk losing their CHL completely.

Lawyers experienced in traffic law can help prevent the impact of a DUI for CHL holders and can help prove to the court that it was a one-time mistake.

Underage Drinking and Driving Under the Influence

Maryland has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under the age of 21 driving under the influence.

If an underage driver is caught with a 0.02% BAC or above, they will be cited for drunk driving as well as driving in violation of license registration.

Underage drunk drivers might face a six-month suspension for their first offense. For their second, that suspension extends to one year or until they turn 21 – whichever comes first.

Again, to minimize the potential sentence, traffic lawyers can be a powerful advocate for underage drivers accused of DUIs.

Shortening Your Maryland License Suspension:
Temporary Licenses and Ignition Interlock Device Laws

A license suspension does not mean that you are left without identification. Instead, you are issued a temporary license.

A temporary license for the state of Maryland is an identification card that an individual carries with them instead of a license for the duration of their license suspension. When the ID card is issued to you, you give up your privilege to drive and you may not lawfully drive.

… that is, unless you enroll in the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MVA) Ignition Interlock Program and install an interlock ignition device, or IID. The program can help you avoid losing your license completely, but at a cost.

As part of the Ignition Interlock Program, an IID is a breathalyzer attached to your car ignition. Every time you try to start your car, you must blow into the IID it for a breath test. If it detects a BAC of 0.02% – basically no drinking at all – then you can start your car and drive as normal.

However, if you blow anything above a 0.02% BAC, then another month will be added to your license suspension and the violation will be recorded.

How DUI License Suspensions Can Be Thrown Out or Appealed

A DUI isn’t the end of the world, though it can feel like it at the time. Traffic lawyers defend their clients for these sorts of offenses all the time, protecting their rights under state, federal, and Constitutional law.

For example, a potential DUI case can be “thrown out” – considered legally invalid – if a stop was not made in “good faith.” Proving that, of course, is a traffic lawyer’s job and expertise.

In Maryland’s Court of Appeals, you and your lawyer can request an appeal of the modified license during your administrative hearing.

However, remember that the clock is ticking: You or your lawyer must request the hearing within the first 30 days after your first arrest. Otherwise, the ruling – and the license suspension – stands.

If you’d like to see if your license suspension due to DUI conviction could be shortened, or want to see if your case can be thrown out altogether, our Firm offers free initial consultations with experienced traffic attorneys. We can hear the details of your case and offer a plan of attack that can shorten your mistake’s impact on your life.

[CHECKLIST] If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Maryland, learn the 8 questions you must ask before retaining.

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