Maryland traffic offenses can be more than a minor inconvenience or payment of a small fine. These offenses can take away rights that allow you to travel or, in some cases, lead to a jail sentence.
If you are charged with a major offense, you cannot avoid a court appearance by paying a fine. You will receive a mailed summons containing the trial’s date, time, and location.
Courts may reschedule hearings because of sickness, hospitalization, or other good cause if a request is made before trial.
Minor violations are not punishable with a jail sentence. Speeding is an example of a minor offense. If charged with a minor violation, you may forego the hearing if you pay the fine and admit guilt.
But each offense is assigned points that range from one to 12 depending on the violation’s severity. These points are placed on your driving record if you are guilty of the offense. Before deciding on pleading guilty and paying the fine, determine how many points will be placed on your record.
If you accumulate five points within two years, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will hold a conference and discuss your driving record with you. If eight points are accumulated during that time, your license may be suspended. Licenses may be revoked when 12 points are accumulated.
The ticket will contain information on scheduling a court date. Your license will be automatically suspended if you do not pay the fine and fail to attend the court hearing. A driving while suspension conviction for failure to pay the ticket or appearing in appearing in court is punishable by 60 days incarceration and a $500 fine.
If you plead not guilty, the police officer who issued the traffic ticket is required to prove at the trial that you intended to commit the traffic violation. Any reason for speeding is not a defense but may reduce the severity of the fine imposed by the judge.
The offense with the highest number of points will be imposed where there are multiple offenses or circumstances leading to the ticket. The points for all the offenses are not cumulative.
The first license suspension lasts 15 to 90 days. Points remain on license records for two years.
Treating an officer with courtesy may help you in these situations. You must sign the ticket when the officer requests.
Attorneys may furnish you with options. They can assist you with presenting the best defense under the circumstances.