A Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer Discusses Baltimore Area Traffic Violations

Getting a traffic ticket can start as a minor inconvenience, resulting in a long-term headache. Do not assume that your ticket is nothing to worry about or that it will resolve itself. Instead, contact an experienced Maryland traffic ticket lawyer to discuss what you can expect and potential pitfalls to avoid.

A Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer Handling All Types of Traffic Violations

Maryland has a wide variety of traffic laws, which means that you could be charged with a traffic offense for violating any of them. These offenses can be categorized in three ways:

  1. Traffic infractions. These are the least serious traffic offenses. The penalties associated with traffic infractions are limited to fines. Speeding or running a stop sign would be considered a traffic infraction.
  2. Misdemeanor offenses. Misdemeanor traffic offenses are more serious than traffic infractions and can result in jail time and significant fines. An example of a misdemeanor offense is reckless driving.
  3. Felony offenses. These are the most serious traffic offenses you can face. If convicted, you could face 12 months or more in prison. Examples of felony traffic offenses include vehicular homicide or hit-and-run.

You can also categorize traffic offenses by how they can be resolved:

  1. Payable offenses are those that can be resolved through a fine. Drivers who have been charged with a payable offense need to understand that paying the fine is an admission of guilt. Traffic infractions, as well as many misdemeanor offenses, are payable offenses.
  2. “Must appear” offenses where you must appear in court on a specific date and time, as noted in the summons. You cannot simply pay a fine to resolve the matter. DUIs, evading the police, or driving on a suspended license are examples of must-appear offenses.

Do not assume that your ticket is nothing to worry about, even if it is only a traffic infraction. A conviction could result in higher insurance premiums and impact your driving record. A conviction can be especially problematic for anyone who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or is employed as a driver of some kind. To understand the potential consequences and your options, you should contact a Maryland traffic ticket lawyer to discuss your case.

Understand Your Options

For most traffic violations in Maryland, you have three options:

  1. Pay the penalty;
  2. Request a waiver hearing; or
  3. Request a trial.

Should You Just Pay the Penalty?

As discussed above, many traffic violations can be resolved by simply paying the fine. However, this is the same as pleading guilty to the offense. You will get a conviction on your driving record, and any points associated with the offense will be assessed against your license. As a result, you should carefully consider your options before going online or to the courthouse and paying for your ticket. Note that the ticket must be paid within 30 days of the date you received your ticket.

Waiver Hearings

Requesting a waiver hearing is a more nuanced approach. When you ask for a waiver hearing, you are admitting guilt but essentially asking the court to allow you to provide an explanation as to why the fine should be waived or reduced. The judge will hear your case and then decide whether to impose the maximum fine allowed by law or some lesser amount. You will also be required to pay your court costs. The judge may choose to grant you a “PBJ” or probation before judgment, which would allow you to avoid a conviction and the related penalties.

Requesting a Trial

When you request a trial, you request the prosecution prove its case against you. They must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the offense you have been charged with. This means they will need to introduce evidence and have witnesses testify to support their case. You can challenge their evidence and cross-examine their witnesses. You can submit evidence in support of your own innocence or simply remain silent.

At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will either find you guilty or not guilty. If you are found not guilty, you do not have to pay any fines or court costs and will have no points assessed against your license. It will be as if the ticket never existed.

If you are found guilty, then there will be a hearing as to your sentencing. This sentencing hearing gives you the same opportunity as a waiver hearing to request that the judge reduce or eliminate any fines or other penalties.

A Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help You Make the Right Choice

The worst decision you can make is to just pay for your ticket to make it go away. If you are unsure what the right decision is, we can walk you through your options and recommend what we think is your best choice based on the evidence and the circumstances surrounding your case.

Maryland’s License Points System

Understanding the driver’s license points system is very important if you have been charged with a traffic offense. Most offenses can result in points against your license if you are convicted at trial or admit guilt by paying the fine or requesting a waiver hearing.

Points will remain on your driving record for two years from the date of your offense. The number of points assessed against your license will depend upon the severity of the offense. For example, most speeding convictions result in two points on your license, whereas a DUI conviction can result in 12 points on your license. The number of points on your license can affect your driving privileges as follows:

  • 3 to 4 points: the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will send you a warning letter.
  • 5 to 7 points: the MVA will require you to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program.
  • 8 to 11 points: your license will be suspended.
  • 12 or more points: your license will be revoked.

If you have been charged with a traffic offense that could result in 8 or more points on your license, you should contact a Maryland traffic ticket lawyer immediately.

An attorney can also help if you have received notice that your license has been suspended or revoked. You can request a hearing that may result in a more favorable outcome. Whatever situation you are in, it is important that you take immediate action to protect your driving privileges.

Charged with a Traffic Offense? A Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help

We have been representing drivers in the Baltimore area for over 20 years. We have extensive experience in getting fair results and protecting our clients’ driving records. We routinely handle cases involving all types of traffic violations, including the following:

  • DUI and DWI
  • Speeding
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license
  • Reckless, aggressive, or negligent driving
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving without registration or with expired registration
  • Driving without insurance
  • Running a red light or a stop sign
  • Seat belt and child restraint violations
  • Unlawful vehicle modifications
  • Tailgating

Whatever offense you have been charged with, we can explain the nature of the violation, the penalties you are facing, and what we can do to help you get a fair result.

A Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer Answers Your FAQs

What are the advantages and disadvantages of just paying the ticket?

One of the main reasons why people simply pay their ticket is that they do not want to spend the time and energy required to go to court and challenge the case. Maybe they have a clean driving record, and a conviction for a minor traffic violation won’t make much of a difference in their lives. It’s easier to simply pay it and move on. In addition, the fine associated with paying the ticket is much lower than the fines you could face if you go to court.

The primary disadvantage to paying the ticket is that you are pleading guilty, especially if you feel that you didn’t commit the violation. On top of having a conviction on your record, points will likely be assessed against your license, and your insurance premiums will increase. If you have prior traffic convictions within the last two years, you could face suspension of your license.

Are the potential fines higher if I request a trial?

If you go to trial, the judge has the discretion to impose a maximum fine of $500, which is typically much higher than the fine you can pay in advance. If you are convicted, you will have the opportunity to argue for a lower fine. Of course, you will not have to pay any fines or have any points assessed against your license if you are found not guilty. Requesting a trial does involve some risk, but there are also potential rewards. We recommend contacting a traffic ticket lawyer to discuss whether you should pay the fine or request a trial.

Contact a Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer Today

The law firm of Timothy A. Dachille & Associates has been helping people in the Baltimore area resolve their traffic violations for over 20 years. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Maryland traffic ticket lawyer from our firm.

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Timothy A. Dachille and Associates

20 South Charles Street, Suite 1102
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Call - 410-752-2325

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