Driver's License Suspension & Revocation
A driver's license suspension is defined as the temporary withholding of driving privileges. An offender's license is withheld for a given period then returned. A suspension is different then a revocation where the driver's license is actually fully taken away from the licensee on a permanent basis. When a licensee or driver is revoked he generally will have to reapply for his license after a given period of time and may or may not be granted the permission at that time to get a license back. It will depend upon the reason the license was revoked in the first place. If the licensee driver is given permission at a future date to reapply for the privilege to drive, then that person will have to take and pass the tests all over again.
In the DUI realm, driver's licenses are not typically revoked, unless the person has many DUI offenses and just keeps driving, or keeps driving on a suspended license. That is always a bad idea because the MVA will ultimately catch up with the behavior and the licensee only succeeds in digging a very deep whole which is difficult and expensive to emerge from.
Having said that, typically in DUI cases a licensee will be suspended administratively for the offense of driving a car with a blood alcohol or BAC content which is too high. As we have seen, the present legal limit is .08 which means that if you are stopped a provide a breath sample that results in a .08 or higher, up to .14, then Maryland's MVA will suspend your driving privilege for 45 days for a first offense. This suspension is however modifiable if you timely request an MVA. A timely request for MVA hearing is one that is filed within 10 days of the arrest for DUI. If the request is not made within 10 days then the MVA has the right to say no to your hearing and you will then suffer the consequences of the BAC number.
A driver's license can also be suspended for other reasons that are not alcohol or DUI related. So for example if you miss your court date for any type of charge, or if you get a ticket and forget to pay that ticket, or if you do not pay child support then the MVA can suspend your license. Then once your license is suspended, if you continue to drive your car because you didn't know it was suspended, then you can become suspended against, ie. get a ticket for driving on a suspended license. Then you begin down a slippery and expensive slope.
In order for the state to prove their case of driving on a suspended license, which is a serious ticket with teeth, they do have to prove that you had knowledge of the suspension yet were driving anyway. Sometimes this can be difficult if you moved to a new location and didn't receive your mail or if the MVA screws up which is so often the case. It is important to contact counsel if you are charged with this offense because it carries a lot of points and can impact your insurance and your freedom depending on your situation .