Maryland Rescinds Suspensions for Red-Light Violators


Six counties in the State of Maryland, including Baltimore and 22 other jurisdictions, have implemented red-light camera programs that require violators to pay fines up to $100. All drivers within these jurisdictions who violate traffic signals and receive a ticket due to red-light cameras risk their vehicle registration being suspended if they fail to pay the ticket and the mandatory $30 administrative fee.

In recent months, however, the Maryland General Assembly has approved legislation intended to help keep these drivers on the road after ticketing from red-light cameras and other minor traffic violations.

Registration Suspension from Red-Light Violators is Largely Unused

States around the country use red-light cameras to ticket drivers who violate traffic laws. However, while many states issue fines for running a red-light, Maryland is the only state to suspend drivers’ registrations when they fail to pay the ticket. As a result, Maryland’s House and Senate lawmakers have endorsed legislation to do away with this law.

Delegate Al Carr, D-Montgomery, described this law as an example of the “criminalization of poverty.” He noted that suspending registration for minor traffic debt is a bad policy and an unnecessary rule – a rule that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) does not like either. Carr explained during the bill hearing,

“This provision is unneeded, and it is unused. The MVA doesn’t really want it. In the past three years, there have been zero registrations suspended for red-light camera debt.”

Maryland law already prohibits drivers from renewing their vehicle registrations when they owe fines or fees for unpaid tickets. Considering that red-light tickets have not resulted in any registration suspensions in over three years, this rule is unnecessary.

The legislation, Maryland Senate Bill 177/House Bill 0046: Motor Vehicle Administration – Authority to Suspend Registration for Violations Recorded by Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems and Speed Monitoring Systems – Repeal, is set to go into effect on October 1, 2020.

What Happens If I Drive a Vehicle with a Suspended Registration in Maryland?

Having a valid vehicle registration is mandatory. Under Maryland law, all operable vehicles must be registered with the MVA. Anyone who is stopped by law enforcement for driving an unregistered car or allows another driver to operate their unregistered vehicle can be charged with a criminal misdemeanor that’s punishable with up to $500 in fines. Generally, however, most traffic citations for driving an unregistered vehicle are about $300.

Suppose you are charged with a misdemeanor for driving without valid registration or allowing someone else to drive your unregistered vehicle. In that case, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced traffic attorney as soon as possible. Taking a preventive approach to your defense can help you defend yourself against avoidable negative consequences like fines and further restrictions on your driver’s license.

Contact an Experienced Baltimore Traffic Attorney for a Free Consultation on Your Traffic Violation

If you’re facing criminal charges from a traffic violation in Baltimore, an attorney like Hillel Traub will take care to ensure that you reach the best possible result in your traffic case. Like driving on a suspended registration, minor traffic violations can be the reason for long-term difficulties with your privilege to drive in Maryland, so it is essential to seek skilled representation.

The Law Office of Hillel Traub is led by senior traffic attorney Hillel Traub who served as the former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA. He brings over 25 years of insight and experience in protecting the rights of his clients in Baltimore who face traffic offenses. To speak with him about your Maryland traffic offense, schedule a free consultation by completing a contact form or calling 410-580-1100.