Many drivers lose their driving privileges due to a DUI conviction, their refusal to take a breath test, or because they accumulated too many points on their driving record. Drivers in Maryland can also lose their right to drive if they fail to pay their child support.

The Motor Vehicle Administration and the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) work together to collect child support payments. Parents who fail to comply with their child support order may have their driving privileges suspended. As a general rule, the driver must pay any arrears on the child support order or make a partial payment with the approval of CSEA. If the CSEA accepts a partial payment, the acceptance is usually based on the understanding you need your driver’s license in order to get to work – to earn the money to pay for the child support.

The decision to suspend a parent’s driver’s license is made by the Child Support Enforcement Administration. The CSEA has the right to authorize the MVA to suspend your driver’s license for nonpayment of the child support order for 60 days or longer. It is the CSEA, not the MVA, that decides when your suspension can be removed. The MVA acts at the request of the CSEA.

Drivers whose receive a notice from the MVA need to contact their local support agency and not the MVA. The CSEA may be willing to lift the suspension if you contact them and make satisfactory arrangements to pay part of the child support order and explain how you can make the remaining open order. If you and CSEA reach an agreement, the CSEA will then notify the MVA.

A parent’s/driver’s obligations once a license is suspended

Any driver whose license is suspended must immediately return their most current driver’s license in person or by mail to any MVA branch office. If you drop off the license in person, you should receive a signed “Receipt for License/Identification form.”

If you don’t have your license you then need to provide an MVA full-service branch office an explanation – and complete a “Certified Statement” that you don’t have your driver’s license anymore.

How to restore your license

You must make arrangements with the child support office that is handling your case. Once you pay the arrears, the CSEA will notify the MVA. You can then apply for a new, unrestricted driver’s license.

If you make a partial payment, “your driver’s license suspension will be lifted when you take your Work-Restricted Driver’s License Authorization letter to the MVA and obtain a work-restricted driver’s license.” This work-restricted license should have the letter H in the Restriction field. The words “Employment Purposes Only-CSE” should be printed at the bottom, in red.

When you can request a hearing?

Drivers can request a hearing “before the Maryland State Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), through the MVA’s Administrative Adjudication Division (AAD), – only if the cases of a mistaken identity – you are not the person who owes child support. You can’t request a hearing because you don’t agree with the child support order. Requests for a hearing based on mistaken identity only should be made to the Administrative Adjudication Division (AAD) before the suspension date.

You don’t need to surrender your license if you request a hearing. You will need to surrender it if you lose the hearing.

There are fees if you request a hearing, for obtaining a “corrected driver’s license for work-restriction, or for obtaining an unrestricted driver’s license.”

At Carey Law office, we understand how essential it is to have a driver’s license for work, for school, for family, and for personal use. We understand how and when your driver’s license can be suspended and what rights you have to contest any suspension. When authorized by Maryland law, we represent your rights at an MVA hearing. Our Bowie and Crofton MVA hearing lawyers fight to get you back on the road. To review your rights in driving suspension cases, call us at 301-464-2500 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.