Driving Defense Actions for You
When you were stopped the police
may have taken your license and given you a temporary license to drive.
Attached to that temporary license is a form which looks like a duplicate
temporary license -- but it is not. Turn the "duplicate"
over and you will see that it is a form which you must complete and
submit in order to request an administrative hearing. You must mail
or deliver that form to the Office
of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301.
You must send in the form
within 10 days after your arrest or your driving privileges will be
suspended without a hearing. You must also enclose a check or money
order for $150.00, made out to the Maryland State Treasurer, as your
filing fee. Failure to enclose the check or money order invalidates
your request. Do not send cash. I suggest that you send the form and
filing fee via registered or certified mail.
Kindly telephone or go to the
or MVA Express and request the following 2 reports from the driver record
database  Your Complete Driving Record, and  Your PBJ (Probation
before Judgment) Driving Record. They must be certified by the MVA.
Get these to me promptly. I will also need the complete driving record
from every state in which you have been licensed to drive.
If you have held licenses to drive in any other state, kindly obtain
your complete driving record from each of those states, as well. State
Motor Vehicle Departments for each of the states are listed here.
In chronological order, give
me a detailed personal history showing me all your accomplishments and
all traumatic events that have affected you.
The court will expect you to
be enrolled in an alcohol education/treatment program that is state
certified. Participating in such a program is not an admission which
will injure your case. In fact, participation is not disclosed to the
court unless the court finds that you have committed an offense and
is preparing to sentence you. In this setting, your participation shows
the court that you took prompt action in order to learn how to prevent
a repeat offense. Generally, courts are more compassionate toward a
defendant who shows such a personal desire to prevent such a risk to
other persons in the future.
Some defendants have previous
stops, arrests or convictions for intoxicated driving offenses, it is
even more important for them to begin a program early to demonstrate
good faith to the court. When repeat offenders begin a program it is
wise to inquire about a potential "dual diagnosis," i.e. a
search for an underlying difficulty which may have affected their desire
for alcohol or drugs. Frequently, such people are self medicating for
an undiagnosed disorder, such as hyperactivity, which is now called
attention deficit disorder. Courts are responsive to defendants who
take all reasonable precautions to prevent additional behavior which
has already placed others in jeopardy.
You can find a program, which
must be state certified, with the National
Directory of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs. Once you find a program,
inquire about costs and scheduling. Make sure the program schedules
classes that work with your schedule [e.g. evenings and/or weekends].
Clients who live and are licensed outside Maryland, should attend a
program in their home state.
Schedule an intake interview.
Tell them that I represent you and that you want them to send all reports
concerning your evaluation and progress to my office. They will ask
you to fill out a release form -- please do so -- otherwise they cannot
send me anything.
Programs will request that you
complete different components, and attend over a longer period of
time, depending on how they view your alcohol or substance use. You
can, of course, get a second opinion from another program, and attend
the program of your choice. However, it is necessary for you to attend
and be well into a program by the time you appear in court. A court
will give far more consideration to a defendant who is prepared to show
what he has done -- not just what he promises to do -- in return for
If you are currently receiving
medical treatment or therapy, or if a medical situation affected your
driving or sobriety test performance, tell your health care providers
what happened and that I will need to speak with them. They should also
give you release forms which you must complete before they will release
information to me. Provide them with my name and telephone number, and
provide me with their names and telephone numbers.
Select a nonprofit organization
for community service. You can find many volunteer opportunities on
the Internet at VolunteerMatch,
Greater DC Cares,
Way, and HandsOn Network. In Montgomery County, you can contact the County's own Montgomery
County Volunteer Center. Medical based community service is very
helpful in showing the court that you already have repaid your debt
to society, because judges respect the effort it takes to perform those
hours where you or a possible victim may have ended up as a result of
your behavior. Check hospitals, hospices, old age homes and similar
When you have selected a program,
speak to the community service director, explain your circumstances,
and make sure they know you'll need a letter on official letterhead
for your court date. The letter must state what your duties were, how
many hours you performed and any other positive information they can
provide. The letter should be addressed to me.
Generally, 20-30 hours of service
begins to show the court that you are the type of person who helps,
rather than harms, people. The goal is to make it difficult for the
court to jump to the conclusion that you are a "taker" rather
than a "giver." Once the court sees you as a "giver,"
the court begins to see you as less of a risk, and therefore less likely
to need a harsher sentence to prevent a future episode of driving under
Please note that volunteer organizations
may only be able to give you 2-3 hours per week. Therefore, an early
start as a volunteer makes it more likely that you will have 20-30 or
more hours at the time of sentencing.
If you took a chemical test for
alcohol, and your job requires you to drive in Maryland, you will need
to obtain a letter from your employer for the MVA Hearing. The MVA is
authorized to allow you to drive to perform your job duties, by giving
you 'work restricted' driving privileges, but only if you provide them
with a letter from your employer. The letter must be on official letterhead,
typed, signed by a company representative, and must include the following
information: Your name, duties, length of service, a statement that
you are required to operate a motor vehicle to perform your duties,
and a statement that the employer is aware of your pending drinking
driving charge. In addition, it would be helpful, though not required,
if the letter states that you have been an excellent employee, and that
the employer has never seen any evidence of your having abused alcohol
during work hours.
I understand that you may have
questions as to whether you will lose an employment opportunity by asking
for this letter. You may be able to avoid the letter through a new program
which would require you to install an Ignition Interlock system in your
vehicle-- however, due to the fact to that the Ignition Interlock Program
is new -- it is far from a sure thing and your best opportunity for
a restricted license lies with obtaining an employer letter.
If you took the breath test you
may also be eligible for an education, alcohol treatment, or commuting
restricted driving privilege. Similarly, you must provide me with documents
to show such a need so that I can present them to the administrative
If you refused a chemical test
for alcohol you are not eligible for a restricted license. However,
you may be able to avoid suspension through the Ignition Interlock program
. If you are willing to install this device before going to your MVA
hearing, you may increase your chance for having the Administrative
Law Judge approve the program as an alternative to suspension. In addition,
the Court may be impressed with you for having taken this action to
protect others while you explore the role of alcohol in your life. If
you are prepared to take this action, I will need to refer you an Ignition
Interlock installer. Please advise me by e-mail if you want a referral.
Please note that all persons
scheduled for an MVA hearing must bring their temporary license and
all extensions with them to the MVA Hearing. In addition, if you drive
to the hearing you will need a licensed driver available to drive you
from the hearing, in the event your privileges are suspended.
Finally, if you are in the military,
or were honorably discharged, please provide me with copies of all military
records which show honorable discharge, awards, medals, letters of commendation,
special class certificates and anything else which distinguishes your
military service. This information often impresses the court, which
understands that you have made far more deposits to the safety of others
by your military service, than the risk to safety indicated by your
This information begins to make
you a true and equal partner in your defense. Now,
let's get to work.