If you are found guilty of a Maryland driving offense worth 8 points or an offense that brings your total to 8 more points, your license will be suspended. You will also have to pay fines and costs. The points will be placed on your driving record so that when you restore your license, you will have to pay expensive insurance premiums.
The best course of action is to speak with an experienced Annapolis defense lawyer who has experience defending ticket offenses. The lawyer will also represent you at Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearings if you receive formal notice of a suspension. The ticket charges are criminal offenses. The suspension of license hearing is an administrative hearing.
What Maryland traffic violations carry 8 points?
According to § 16-402, the offenses that result in 8 points are:
- Turning off lights of a vehicle to avoid identification.
- Failing to stop after [an] accident resulting in damage to attended vehicle or property.
- Failing to stop after [an] accident resulting in damage to unattended vehicle or property.
- Any violation of § 16–815 or § 16–816 of this title. Section 815 generally applies to drivers who are charged with driving a commercial vehicle without an authorized license. Section 816 applies to the operation of school buses.
Usually, drivers who violate several laws will only be assessed points for the charge that carries the most points.
What are the consequences for accumulating 8 points or more on your driving record?
According to section § 16-404, a driver who is found guilty of a traffic offense that carries 8 points will receive a notice from the Maryland Vehicle Administration that their driver’s license is suspended. The notice will:
- Be personally served on the driver or sent by certified mail with a US Postal Service postmark
- State the length of the suspension.
- Inform the driver he/she had no more than 10 days after the notice is sent (not counting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) to request in writing an MVA hearing. If no hearing is requested, the suspension becomes effective on the 10th
Generally (there are some exceptions), the length of the suspensions are as follows:
- Initial suspension: 2 days minimum, 30 days maximum
- Subsequent suspensions: 15 days minimum, 90 days maximum.
More lengthy suspensions may apply in some cases.
The MVA has the authority to issue a restrictive license for the length of the suspension period if the driver agrees to participate in the Administration’s Ignition Interlock System Program. The MVA may also issue a restrictive license or modify a suspension for other reasons.
How does an Annapolis defense lawyer help fight traffic violations?
The defenses vary depending on the actual charge. Some of the ways we help clients facing traffic violations include:
- Contesting whether the police officer had grounds to stop you. Police officers can’t randomly stop every car they see. Law enforcement officers need to observe you violating a Maryland traffic law.
- Applying aggressive cross-examination techniques. I’ll ask the police officer questions to try to show he/she isn’t presenting the facts correctly, isn’t credible, or to show there are errors in the testimony.
- Questioning the accuracy of the machines. Some devices (radar and lasers for example) need to be validated regularly to ensure they work and are accurate.
- Offering legal justification. You may have had the right to violate the law due to an emergency such as speeding to avoid hitting a deer. The state and local counties such as Anne Arundel County have a duty to keep road signs in good repair. If the signs or lights weren’t working, your traffic conduct may be excusable.
What does a lawyer do at a suspension violation hearing?
We begin by examining the records to determine if the violation that led to your points is still on record. Some or all points are removed after two years. The state still needs to have the correct documentation confirming the traffic violation at the court hearing.
We discuss your willingness to participate in the interlock ignition program. We also try to show that you need your car for work and that you should receive a restricted license. A restricted license means you can use your vehicle to go to work and return home from work. The restricted license cannot be used for any non-work purposes.
Section 16-405 specifically provides:
Except as provided in §§ 16–205(e) and 16–205.1 of this title, if the suspension or revocation of a license would affect adversely the employment or opportunity for employment of a licensee, the hearing officer may:
- Decline to order the suspension or revocation; or
- Modify the suspension or revocation.
How do you obtain your license after the suspension period is over?
Once you’ve served your suspension period, you can apply to have your license restored. Alternatively, you may need to apply for a brand new license. You will need to pay all the appropriate license fees and show proof of insurance. You may be required to retake the driver’s examination test – road test and written examination.
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, our seasoned traffic offense lawyer has earned the respect of clients and the legal profession for his ability to defend clients accused of felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic offenses. He has helped many defendants obtain acquittals or dismissals of the charges. Often, we negotiate plea reductions to less serious charges. To discuss any traffic offense and any license suspension, call us in Annapolis or Ellicott City at 410-271-1892 or fill out the contact form to schedule an appointment.
And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.