Baltimore Traffic Lawyer
Maryland law enforcement issued over 760,000 traffic tickets in 2015, if you were unfortunate enough to receive a ticket, call Baltimore traffic lawyer Randolph Rice to discuss your options. New driver or a seasoned pro, it is almost a certainty that everyone will receive a traffic ticket during their lifetime.
Traffic tickets are frustrating; they cost money and time and can increase your car insurance rates. In addition to the court fines and costs, drivers could be slapped with points on their driving record. Too many points can result in a loss of your driving privilege in Maryland.
In serious cases or “must appear” tickets, a conviction can result in jail time and probation. That is why it is so important to hire a trusted Baltimore traffic lawyer. For information on trial dates and tickets, visit the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. Enter the driver’s last name and first name to find all pending and closed matters.
Two Types of Traffic Tickets in Maryland
There are two types of traffic tickets in Maryland; payable tickets and must appear tickets. Drivers can receive both types of tickets for a single incident/stop. If any tickets are marked “must appear,” drivers should not pay the “payable tickets.” The payable tickets will be litigated when the driver appears for the must appear ticket.
The two types of tickets in Maryland are:
- Payable tickets
- Must appear tickets
If a driver receives a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ), points will not be assessed to their driving record.
Payable Tickets in Maryland
Payable tickets are just that. Tickets where the maximum penalty is a fine. As opposed to a must appear ticket, where the maximum penalty is jail. If a driver receives a payable ticket, they have 3 options:
- Pay the fine
- Waiver Hearing
Pay the Fine
Drivers can choose to pay the fine for the ticket(s). The fine is pre-printed on the ticket. The fines can be paid at any District Court in Maryland or online here. If a driver pays the ticket, and points are associated with the charge, then the driver’s record will be assessed points. Click here for a list of all traffic tickets in Maryland the fines and points associated. Too many points can result in Driver Improvement Program, suspended license or revoked license.
A waiver hearing is not preferable. If a driver elects a waiver hearing the officer will not appear. Had a driver elected a trial and the officer does not appear, then the State does not have any evidence and the case will more likely than not be dismissed.
If a driver elects a waiver hearing, they will be required to appear in Court. The Court will not summons the police officer. The driver will only have the option of pleading guilty at a waiver hearing. Since the police office is not summonsed, then the driver will not have the option of pleading not guilty and electing a trial.
If a driver appears in Court and decides to plead not guilty, most Judges will allow the driver to request a postponement and reschedule the hearing. At the new hearing, the officer will be summonsed and the driver can then plead not guilty and have a trial.
Drivers that elect to plead guilty at the waiver hearing will still have a chance to be heard by the Judge. The Judge can grant a probation before judgment (PBJ), reduce the speed if the driver is charged with speeding or keep the guilty in place. If a driver is found guilty, they have the option of appealing their case. An appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date the guilty was entered by the Judge.
If a driver elects a waiver hearing and is found guilty or receives a PBJ, the Judge can fine the maximum amount for the ticket, which is typically $500.00
Drivers do not have to appear for a waiver hearing if they hire a lawyer. Under Maryland law, attorneys may appear without the Defendant for waiver hearings.
The police officer that issued the ticket(s) will be summonsed to appear in Court if a driver elects a trial. At the trial, the driver can plead guilty or not guilty. If the driver pleads guilty, then the driver can tell the Judge anything about themselves or why they committed the traffic offense(s).
On a rare occasion, the police officer will not appear in Court. If the officer does not appear, then the driver can plead not guilty and the State will present no evidence. The Judge will typically find the driver not guilty. Sometimes, the Judge will postpone the case if the officer has contacted the Court prior to the trial date.
PBJ and Points
The Judge then has the option of granting a probation before judgment (PBJ) or keeping the guilty in place. If the driver receive a PBJ, points will not be assessed to the driver’s driving record.
If the Judge does not grant PBJ and the guilty remains, then points will be assessed to the driving record. In addition, the driver has the options of filing an appeal. That appeal would be heard in the Circuit Court and is a brand new trial.
If a driver elects a trial and is found guilty or receives a PBJ, the Judge can fine the maximum amount for the ticket, which is typically $500.00
Drivers do not have to appear for a payable ticket trial if they hire a lawyer. Under Maryland law, attorneys may appear without the Defendant for payable ticket trials.
Must Appear Tickets in Maryland
Must appear tickets are ticket that carry the possibility of jail time. Thus, a driver must appear in Court and is not allowed to prepay the ticket before the trial date. If a driver is stopped for a must appear violation, like driving on a suspended license, the officer may arrest the driver or issue a notice to appear for a preliminary inquiry before a commissioner.
Must appear tickets are serious and legal action should be taken immediately. The possibility of jail time is why must appear tickets can be devastating to a driver. Police officers are summonsed to appear for all must appear tickets. On a rare occasion, the police officer will not appear. However, since the must appear tickets are prosecuted by a State’s Attorney, the State will ensure the officer is present.
Must Appear and Trial
A must appear ticket trial is similar to any other criminal prosecution. The prosecutor is present and will be moving forward with the case if they believe they can prove the facts before the Judge.
A driver has the option of electing a jury trial for must appear ticket that carries the possibility of jail time over 90 days. If a driver has 5 tickets and 4 are payable tickets and one is an offense where the maximum penalty if greater than 90 days, then the driver has the options of a jury trial.
At a must appear trial, a driver can plead guilty and the driver or the lawyer will present mitigation to the Court. If the driver pleads not guilty, then a trial will occur that day in the District Court.
Driver’s should talk to a lawyer before electing a jury trial or appearing in Court where the wish to contest the ticket by a trial. The rules of evidence are complicated in Maryland. The State will use those rules to prevent the driver from introducing evidence. At the same time, the driver can use the rules of evidence to prevent the State from introducing evidence.
When to Call a Baltimore Traffic Lawyer
Anytime a driver is facing the possibility of jail, they should hire a traffic lawyer to defend their case. Traffic tickets may seem minor in the grand scheme of things. However, too many tickets or a conviction for a serious offense can last for years. A traffic lawyer will ensure that each driver receives the best possible outcome. In addition, a lawyer will make sure the best decision is made to have the least impact on the driver.
Stay current with Baltimore traffic conditions provided by WBAL-TV11.
Tips to Avoid a Traffic Ticket in Baltimore Maryland
Tips to avoid a traffic ticket in Baltimore, Maryland. Always follow the rules of the road. There are hundreds of traffic violations that can occur when operating a motor vehicle. Below are some common sense tips to follow to avoid the need for a Baltimore traffic lawyer:
- Don’t speed, this is one of the most common tickets that police officers issue in Maryland.
- Avoid passing on the right of another vehicle
- Don’t apply tint that is greater than allowed by law
- Littering is a sure way to get a ticket, don’t throw things from a vehicle
- Aggressive driving, a combination of multiple offenses
- Following too closely, this is a signal to all police officers to make a traffic stop
Common Payable Traffic Tickets in Maryland
Payable traffic tickets in Maryland are classified as misdemeanors. Payable traffic tickets are either moving or non-moving violations. These types of tickets can be resolved by paying a fine. If issued a payable traffic ticket, jail is not a possible sentence. Some of the most common payable traffic tickets are:
- Reckless driving
- Negligent driving
- Driving with suspended registration
- Failing to attach plates to the front or rear of the vehicle
- Driving with an expired license
- Failing to display license on demand
- Driving right of center
- Fail to stop at a stop sign
- Following too closely
- Failure to control speed to avoid a collision
- Unsafe lane change
- Fail to obey properly placed traffic control device
This is just a sample of some of the most common traffic tickets issued in Maryland. In Maryland, there are hundreds of traffic violations that can be issued by a police officer.
Do You Have to Appear in Court for a Traffic Ticket?
If issued a “must appear” traffic citation, the defendant must appear in Court. Call a Baltimore traffic lawyer as soon as possible if you received a “must appear” ticket. How to know if it is a must appear ticket? On the ticket “must appear” will be printed to the right of each citation, if applicable. This means that you are facing the possibility of jail time and you must appear in Court to answer the charges. Some of the most common must appear tickets are:
- Driving without a license
- Suspended license
- Revoked license
- Driving on a suspended out of state license
- Uninsured vehicle
- DUI or Driving while under the influence
- DWI or Driving while impaired
Points and Consequences in Maryland
Too many points can result in various punishments by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). In Maryland, too many points will result in driver improvement program, license suspension or revocation. The penalties for too many points are:
- 3 to 4 points – The MVA will send you a warning letter.
- 5 to 7 points – The MVA will require a driver to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program (DIP).
- 8 to 11 points – The MVA will send a notice of suspension.
- 12 or more points – The MVA will send a notice of revocation.
Points remain on a driving record in Maryland for 2 years. If you have too many points, contact a Baltimore traffic lawyer to discuss your options. This means the MVA looks back two years to determine penalties for points on a driving record. Expungement is possible for some types of tickets in Maryland. Payable tickets are automatically expunged after 2 years from a driver’s record.
Drivers with points should consult a Maryland expungement lawyer to determine if they are eligible.
Profile for Baltimore Traffic Lawyer Randolph Rice
If issued a traffic ticket an experienced Baltimore traffic lawyer can prove invaluable. The fear of points on your license and the increased insurance can prove costly.
Call attorney Randolph Rice at 410.288.2900 if issued a traffic ticket in Maryland. Randolph Rice has been helping drivers in Maryland fight for their rights in Court. Don’t let a simple ticket balloon to a serious problem in life.
Baltimore traffic lawyer Randolph Rice is Ranked by Super Lawyers and has received a 10 out of 10 Superb rating by Avvo. Mr. Rice is Lead Counsel Rated for multiple years. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Maryland Bar Association, Baltimore County Bar Association and Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association.
Call the office today at 410.288.2900 or email the office for immediate legal help.