DRIVING WHILE SUSPENDED or REVOKED

A Maryland driver’s license can be suspended for a variety of reasons.  For instance, your license can be suspended if you fail to show up in court or neglect to pay in time a traffic ticket such as speeding or running a stop sign.  Or maybe you’re behind on your child support payments.  Other reasons include getting too many points on your driving record.  If you collect 8 points or more in a 2-year period, the Motor Vehicle Administration can suspend your license.  (16 points are necessary if you need to drive a vehicle as part of your employment.)  As an example, speeding under 10 mph is 1 point.  30 mph or more over the speed limit, however, is 5 points.  Other examples are 1 point for a stop sign or making an illegal turn.  If you were involved in an accident as a result of your driving infraction, the minimum point assessment is 3.  Likewise, driving under the influence (DUI) is 12 points.

If you are caught driving after your license has been suspended or revoked, you will face a maximum jail term of 1 year and a fine of $1,000.

You can beat a driving while suspended charge if you can show that you did not know that you were suspended at the time of the traffic stop.  As a matter of procedure, the Motor Vehicle Administration is required to send you a notice when your driving privilege is suspended or revoked.  If that notice is returned by the post office due to the fact that you moved or the MVA otherwise has a bad address for you,  that is usually persuasive evidence of your lack of knowledge.  There are other defenses as well.  For instance, the computer data entry might be in error.  You may have gotten a traffic citation and later paid the fine, but the fact that you made payment may not have been reported to the Motor Vehicle Administration.  Thus, the computer records accessed by the police officer at the time of your stop may falsely show that you were suspended.

If you did know that you were suspended or revoked at the time of the stop, the best thing that you can do to improve your chances in court is to try and get your license reinstated (for instance, pay the fine on the old ticket).  Your license may be suspended because you have an unpaid judgment against you resulting from an automobile accident which insurance did not cover.  In that case, you can usually get your license reinstated by making arrangements with the creditor to make installment payments or, if that is not a good option for you, file for bankruptcy which might eliminate the debt.

If you are able to reinstate your driving privileges, you can become a lawful driver before your trial date on the driving while suspended or revoked charges.  That fact can be persuasive in having the charges against you reduced if not outright dismissed.

Please contact Richmond Davis at 410-730-5550 for further information and an appointment.

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