What is a Maryland MVA Hearing?

What is an MVA Hearing?
An MVA hearing takes place when the MVA is seeking some type of punitive action against a licensee and the licensee wishes to have the opportunity to contest the MVA’s evidence, contest the action, and/or present a defense against the action. For example, if a Maryland licensee was stopped for a DUI/DWI and had a blood alcohol content of between 0.08 and 0.15, the MVA will attempt to suspend the driver’s license. The driver can request an MVA hearing where he or she can attempt to avoid the suspension or present mitigating evidence in an attempt to get a restricted license instead of a suspended license.

How are MVA Hearings Conducted?

MVA hearings are administrative hearings. They are much more informal than court hearings or trials. The Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) assigns an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to oversee the hearings. Generally, the ALJ and the licensee (and the licensee’s attorney) are the only persons present at a hearing. The MVA usually submits their evidence for the record and does not have anyone present at the hearing, although occasionally they will subpoena someone (like the arresting officer) to appear at the hearing.

The ALJ reviews the MVA’s evidence first and the driver has a chance to contest any of the evidence. Once the MVA’s evidence is entered, the driver’s attorney has a chance to argue that the evidence is insufficient or lacking to sustain the MVA’s requested action. If the ALJ disagrees, the driver then has the opportunity to present their case. After the driver’s case, he or she can again ask the ALJ to reject the MVA’s action or for an alternative action.

Is an MVA Hearing different from Court?

The MVA hearing just has to do with actions that the MVA is taking against the driver’s license. If a driver is accused of a DUI/DWI, they will additionally have to go to court to defend the case there.

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