When Should You Call A Traffic Defense Lawyer?
When cited for a traffic violation, many people appear in court, pay the fine, and carry on without the assistance of traffic lawyers in Maryland. In reality, many traffic citations can benefit from the legal insight of an attorney like Andy Jaskulsky. Having an attorney representing your interests can not only save you thousands of dollars, the inconvenience of a suspended license, and increases in insurance premiums, representation can save you jail time in serious offenses. Listed below are some of the common penalties enforced in Maryland for traffic violations.
- Driving an Uninsured Vehicle – In addition to losing license and registration privileges for their vehicle, drivers of an uninsured vehicle may be subjected to hefty penalties for each lapse in insurance, a restoration fee for the vehicle’s registration, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or one year imprisonment. What’s more, drivers of uninsured vehicles may be prohibited from registering any future vehicles or renewing a suspended registration until the violation is cleared.
- Driving an Unregistered Vehicle – A criminal misdemeanor, driving an unregistered vehicle or allowing another person to drive an unregistered vehicle can result in a $500 fine.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – In Maryland, a person driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater is considered driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). A person convicted for a first offense can be fined up to $1,000 and face up to a year in jail with revocation of their driver’s license for up to 270 days. A person arrested under a second or third suspicion of DUI faces increasingly severe penalties including mandated participation in the Ignition Interlock program. Beginning October 1, 2016, repeat offenders are required to have the device installed in their car that prevents the car from starting unless the driver passes a breathalyzer test.
- Driving While Impaired (DWI) – In Maryland, a person who drives with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 to 0.08 is considered Driving While Impaired (DWI). A person convicted for their first offense can face a $500 fine and up to two months in jail and 6 months of license suspension. If a person is under 21, they will face a 1 year suspension of their license. Penalties increase exponentially for repeat offenses and are substantially higher if the driver is transporting a minor.
- Driving Without a License – More than a decade ago, if a person was cited for driving without a license, it was possible to pay a fine without appearing in court. Since October 2006, driving without a license in Maryland is a “must appear” offense carrying with it a penalty of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.
- Hit-and-Run – Anyone who has been involved in an accident of any kind who flees the scene should consult with a traffic defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the case. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, even if no one is injured. In Maryland, it is required that all parties exchange insurance and contact information. If a person strikes another vehicle and the owners are not present, that person is required, by law, to leave a note with their contact information and then file an accident report on their own. Failure to do so can result in a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail for accidents without injuries, and a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison for accidents with injuries. In the event of an accident resulting in a fatality, those leaving the scene without filing a report with a police officer face conviction of a felony with a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. In the event a person has fled from the scene of any accident, it is essential to consult with traffic lawyers in Maryland.
- Reckless Driving – The state of Maryland has defined reckless driving as someone driving a vehicle without concern for the safety of the people and property around them. This broad definition includes a variety of behaviors such as passing at a railroad crossing, driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, and passing another car in a railroad crossing. Those convicted of reckless driving can expect the possibility of a $1,000 fine and six points added to their license, thereby causing their insurance premiums to go up.
- Speeding – Every time a person is convicted of speeding, “points” are added to their driving record. A person with 3 to 4 points will receive a warning letter from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), 5 to 7 points will result in required enrollment in the state’s “Driver Improvement Program”, with suspension following for 8 to 11 points and revocation for more than 12 points. Points accumulated over a two year period of time are eligible for action, but points that are older than two years are not expunged from a person’s record unless they request it. When the MVA sends a notice of suspension or revocation, a person has the option of accepting the actions of the MVA or requesting a hearing on the matter. Having a traffic defense lawyer who is knowledgeable of the laws, regulations, and courses of actions in such a situation can prevent a license suspension or revocation from taking place.
- Street Racing – Street racing, whether flagrant or covert, on private property accessible by the public, or on public roads is illegal in Maryland. A driver who participates in the race can be convicted even if there are no other people on the road. Convictions carry fines up to $500 with the potential of jail time or probation, even if no one is injured during the race.
- Vehicular Homicide – In Maryland, there are varying degrees of manslaughter by vehicle. All are statutory felonies that carry fines and jail time. Vehicular homicide with “gross negligence” carries the heaviest penalties of up to $5000 in fines and 10 years in prison. Any time a person is arrested for any form of vehicular homicide, they require the counsel of a traffic defense lawyer.
While many traffic law violations do not carry penalties beyond the payment of a fine, it is important to consult with an experienced traffic defense lawyer who can evaluate your case, and present a course of action that will minimize any long-term repercussions. If you or someone you know has been arrested for or is facing traffic charges, contact the office of Andy Jaskulsky to discuss the case today.