While the rules of the road can be fairly straightforward, the rules that govern the bureaucracy of the Motor Vehicle Administration can be slightly more confusing. It is entirely possible for a driver or car owner to have the best of intentions – to comply with state laws, to observe speed limits, to keep their paperwork up to date – and still wind up running afoul of the Maryland MVA. This can be especially problematic for those who move into the state; other local governments maintain different laws for vehicle ownership that often differ from those in the Old Line State.
One point to note is that, while it may suspend or revoke your driver’s license, Maryland does not suspend or revoke your registration; more accurately, it flags your vehicle’s record and prevents you from renewing your registration or transferring license plates. If you were targeted by the MVA and are now having trouble squaring your car or truck’s paperwork, an experienced legal professional can help. Contact the law offices of Randolph Rice, former assistant state’s attorney, to set up a free consultation. Call (410) 694-7291 today.
What Does It Mean If My Registration Is Suspended?
Technically speaking, the state of Maryland does not suspend vehicle registrations. Instead, the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration flags your record to prevent you from renewing your registration once it expires. This does not affect your current registration – if you have another six or eight months before yours will expire, you will still be legally able to drive your car for that period of time – but it could make your life difficult in the future.
Try to be mindful of the fact that flags are almost exclusively placed after you have had a chance to rectify your situation. You should receive a notice from the appropriate entity that you are in a problematic situation, something that can occur for any number of reasons.
How Your Vehicle’s Record Gets Flagged
Perhaps the most common reason a person is flagged by the MVA is because they have outstanding tax obligations. If this is the case, the flag was probably requested by the state Comptroller’s office and will need to be addressed with them. Most likely, you will have to pay the balance on any outstanding state taxes. However, this is not the only reason you could be flagged. Other common causes include:
- Failure to resolve a parking or toll violation
- Failure to deal with a violation in which you ran a red light and were photographed by an automated camera system
- Failure to resolve a speeding violation captured on an automated camera system
- The MVA’s insurance records indicate that you are driving without valid car insurance
- State records indicate that your vehicle may not meet emissions standards
- A law enforcement agency has requested that a flag be placed on your record
This is not an exhaustive list; a lawyer can explain in greater detail why your record was flagged. These violations may also come with additional administrative fees that must be paid in full – along with any outstanding fines or penalties – to before the issue can be resolved. However, the state does allow payment plans and other flexible options, depending on your circumstances.
Fighting a Flag on Your Vehicle’s Record
Because the flag can be requested by a variety of state agencies, your first order of business should be to find out who had it put in place. Remember that the presence of a flag may be totally unrelated to your driving or the vehicle itself; if you owe taxes to the state for any reason – a lapse in unemployment insurance or an error on your tax return, to name just two examples – you may wind up flagged by the Comptroller’s office. Until you figure out who your problem is with, you cannot begin to address it.
Once you figure out that your car or truck’s record is flagged and discover the reason behind it, you may be in a position to contest the situation in court. In many cases, one of the key elements that can determine the course of the proceedings is the question of whether you received proper notice of your issue or violation before the flag was placed.
If you can show that you lacked knowledge of the problem, you can establish that your violation was not willful and may therefore be tossed out. If you think you may have received a notice or a hold on your registration because of a clerical error on the state’s part, contact the appropriate agency. Regardless of why the hold is in place, however, complications can arise. If you are having trouble solving your registration issue, reach out to a qualified legal expert for guidance.
Retain the Expertise of a Skilled Baltimore Attorney for Driving on a Suspended Registration
Any time you are forced to deal with a state agency, you will probably wind up jumping through hoops and navigating seas of red tape. If this seems unappealing to you, know that you’re not alone; luckily, help is available. The team at the law offices of Randolph Rice stands ready to help you through this potentially difficult situation. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.