Maryland Traffic Lawyer
When police believe you have violated traffic laws, you will receive a citation. The citation will indicate whether it is “payable,” or whether you “must appear.” If your citation is payable, you have the choice of whether to pay the fine; plead guilty with an explanation; or appear for trial. A Maryland traffic lawyer will help you to decide which of these options is right for you.
Maryland Traffic Laws
Traffic laws in Maryland are found in the Transportation Code. The Transportation Code imposes rules for:
- Overtaking and Passing School Vehicles: Code Section 21-706 requires drivers to stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is stopped and operating its flashing lights
- Speed Limits: Code Section 21-803 prohibits drivers from traveling on a highway at a speed that is faster than what is “reasonable and prudent under the conditions.”
- Driving while impaired: Code Section 21-902 prohibits driving while under the influence or impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Fail to yield at an intersection: Code Section 21-604 requires drivers to follow right-of-way rules before turning at any intersection
These are just a few of many laws that impose restrictions and requirements on motorists. A violation of most rules will result in a citation for a “payable” traffic violation. You have the option to simply pay the fine for these offenses; however, that is an admission of guilt and will affect your license and insurance costs. Before you send in the fine, speak with a Maryland traffic lawyer about whether this is the best course of action.
For some offenses that are “must appear,” you don’t have the option to just write a check and be done with it. You have to go to court for these offenses, which tend to be more serious. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving with a suspended license, are both examples of must appear offenses.
Penalties for Maryland Traffic Laws
Penalties for violating traffic laws in Maryland typically include a fine and points on your driver’s license. The District Court of Maryland [pdf download] has provided a comprehensive list of fines and demerit points for traffic offenses. For example, a failure to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at an intersection can result in a $110.00 fine and one demerit point.
Points on your license will be assessed if you pay the fine, as this is an admission of guilt. You can go to court and plead “Guilty with an Explanation,” which means you admit you violated the traffic code but you request a reduction or waiver in your fine and/or probation for the offense instead of conviction. If you accrue five points on your license, you will be required to attend a Maryland Driver Improvement Program.
If you don’t pay your ticket or if you receive a “must appear” notice, you must go to court as required. Failure to respond or to appear before a judge on your appointed date can result in a bench warrant being issued. Once there is a bench warrant out for your arrest, you could be taken into custody at any time.
Someone who has left the scene of an accident before the authorities could arrive will subsequently face additional and different penalties. Hit and run charges are incredibly serious and will be prosecuted harshly by local law enforcement officials.
How a Maryland Traffic Lawyer Can Help You
If you wish to plead Guilty with Explanation, you must make a request within 30 days of being cited. A hearing will be scheduled and you will have the opportunity to make your argument. Your fine could be reduced, but it could also be increased. A Maryland traffic lawyer can help you to both request a hearing and to make a compelling case to have penalties reduced.
You can also plead Not Guilty. If you choose this option, you avoid conviction and all potential consequences unless a prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated traffic laws. A Maryland traffic lawyer will help you try to make it hard for a prosecutor to prove your guilt.