Getting pulled over by the police and issued a traffic citation can be a frustrating, confusing, and potentially scary situation. Some offenses–such as Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), Driving While Impaired (DWI), Driving on a Suspended License and Driving without a License–are “must appear” offenses where the defendant has to go to court and faces a maximum penalty of jail time. Even minor traffic tickets such as speeding can have major ramifications on your insurance or your ability to keep your license to drive in Maryland. No matter how serious or insignificant your Maryland traffic citations may seem, it is always beneficial to consult with an attorney on how to proceed.

My office deals with all types of Maryland traffic citations and has helped many folks in your same situation resolve these issues and move on. Here are some of the types of traffic offenses our office handles:

  • Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
  • Driving While Impaired
  • Driving on a Suspended License
  • Driving Without a License
  • Reckless Driving
  • Negligent Driving
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Driving Without Insurance
  • Speeding
  • Any other moving violation (Failure to Stop at Signal, Failure to Yield Right of Way, etc.
  • Maryland MVA hearings

If you find yourself facing one or more traffic citations, do not panic. Call my office anytime at 301-875-3472. I can help you make sense of it for you, protect your rights and potentially your driving record.

Do I have to go to court for my traffic case?

If you are charged with a “must-appear” traffic offense then yes, you do need to appear for court. Must-appear offenses carry a maximum penalty of jail time. If you do not appear in court when instructed to, the judge can issue a bench warrant in order to get you to appear. However, just because the maximum penalty is jail does not mean you will go to jail. An experienced traffic defense attorney can help keep you out of jail and keep you on the road.

I just have a minor traffic citation–should I just pay the fine?

Remember that if you just “pay the fine” on a traffic citation then the court finds you guilty of that offense. If the offense is a moving violation that carries points, those points will go on your drivers license. Depending on number of points and your driving record, this could cause your insurance rates to rise or could result in a suspension of your license by the MVA. If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) then you could be facing a loss of your CDL privileges and your job could be in jeopardy.

In some instances it may be that your best move is to just pay the fine, but a lot of times an attorney can help you minimize the negative collateral consequences of a traffic citation. It is always beneficial to discuss this matter with an attorney.

What is an MVA Hearing? Is that the same as going to court?

The MVA is the administration that issues drivers licenses in Maryland and is wholly separate from the court system. There are certain instances where the MVA will suspend or revoke for a period of time a driver’s license to drive–for example, if a driver accumulates a certain number of points on their license or is charged with an alcohol related driving offense. Requesting an MVA hearing may help a driver keep his or her license or continue to drive with a restricted license. The MVA hearing itself and the process is completely separate from the court’s handling of the traffic offense.

What is a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) in a traffic case?

Instead of entering a guilty disposition in a case, a judge can enter a disposition of probation before judgment. There is a big difference. If the disposition is guilty, then the driver will accumulate points on his or her license and the guilty finding will be transmitted to the driver’s insurance company, potentially resulting in a increase in rates. However, if the judge enters a PBJ then the driver accumulates no points for the offense. Insurance companies also do not find out about PBJs. Having a PBJ instead of a guilty finding can be a tremendous help in keeping a driver’s license intact and keeping insurance premiums low.