What Is a Minor Traffic Violation in Maryland?
Minor traffic violations can impact your driving record and add points against your license. Though they may not result in severe consequences, accumulating points may eventually lead to a license suspension. These are frequently asked questions regarding minor traffic violations in the Baltimore metro area.
A minor violation is one that does not carry a potential jail sentence if the court finds you guilty of the offense. You will receive a ticket with a fine you can pay to avoid appearing in court; however, you should still retain a traffic lawyer to dispute the violation and avoid points against your license.
Do I Have to Go To Court If I Just Pay the Fine?
If you have been cited for a minor violation, this is possible; however, paying the fine on your ticket carries the same impact as entering a guilty plea or being found guilty of the offense. Ultimately, points will be applied against your license and you may face a future license suspension. The citation will appear on your driving record, which can impact your auto insurance rates. Those who drive for a living may also face consequences from their employer for a minor violation. A traffic violations lawyer can appear in court on your behalf to dispute the violation and the citation.
What Are My Options for Handling a Ticket for a Minor Traffic Violation?
You may respond to a traffic ticket in Maryland one of three ways: pay the fine, request a waiver hearing, or request a trial to contest the ticket. There are consequences to each action, and exploring these will help you make an informed decision.
1. Paying the fine: You pay the fine and acknowledge that the violation will appear on your record as if you were found guilty of the offense. Paying the ticket is another way of entering a guilty plea. Depending on the offense, you will add points against your license.
2. Requesting a trial: When you request a trial, you plead “not guilty” to the offense and demand that the state prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. During a trial, the officer who issued your ticket will be summoned to appear in court so they can testify against you. This is the ideal option for anyone who wants to fight the ticket with the help of an experienced traffic violations lawyer like Attorney Hillel Traub.
3. Requesting a waiver hearing: A waiver hearing allows you to explain the circumstances that led to your ticket to a judge. You admit guilt and notify the court that it won’t be necessary to subpoena the officer who issued your ticket. The judge may decide to reduce your fine. You will still need to pay the ticket and associated court fees.
Are Minor Traffic Violations Classified as Misdemeanors?
Yes. In Maryland, minor traffic violations are considered misdemeanor criminal offenses.
How Does the Traffic Points System Work in Maryland?
Points against your driver’s license make up the core of a demerit point system in which the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), issues points for traffic violations in an effort to penalize repeat offenders of traffic laws. Each violation is worth a certain number of points, with more serious offenses worth more points than lesser offenses.
The Maryland MVA can impose penalties for accumulating too many points within a two-year period. Ultimately, you may be required to attend driver improvement courses or you may face a license suspension or revocation, depending on the severity of your driving record.
What Happens if I Ignore a Ticket for a Minor Violation?
If you ignore a traffic ticket in Maryland, the MVA may send a warning letter that you failed to pay the fine within the specified time frame. The MVA will inform you that if you fail to respond to the ticket, they may suspend your license and/or vehicle registration on a specific date. Ignoring tickets can have drastic consequences for your driving privilege.
Do I Need to Worry About a Traffic Ticket if I am Not a Maryland Resident?
Yes. Even if you do not have a Maryland driver’s license, failing to pay a citation for a minor traffic violation may result in the suspension of your privilege to drive in Maryland. You could be stopped and possibly arrested for driving on a suspended license in the state even if your non-Maryland license is still valid.
Defending Minor Traffic Violations
An attorney like Hillel Traub will see to it that you achieve the best possible outcome in your traffic case. Minor traffic violations can unexpectedly cause long-term problems with your privilege to drive in Maryland, which is why it is crucial to seek intelligent representation.
Attorney Hillel Traub has served as the former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA and has over 25 years of experience protecting the rights of those facing traffic offenses in and around Baltimore including Howard County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Montgomery County. Contact us for a free consultation by calling (410) 5880-1100.