Attorneys are usually not involved in speeding and other minor traffic charges because they do not involve the risk of jail. In Maryland, in fact, the maximum fine is $500 for such charges. However, there are exceptions when having a lawyer with you is very advisable.
Warning! Under a new Maryland law, if you get a “non-jailable” (payable) traffic ticket, you have 30 days to pay the fine or request a trial. If you do not act within 30 days, you will be suspended.
If you already have a large number of points on your driving record, getting another traffic conviction may result in putting your driver’s license at risk for suspension or revocation. If you have 8 points or more on your driving record in a 2-year period, you can be suspended. You can be revoked if the points total 12 or more. (If you drive as a part of your employment, 16 points are required for suspension or 19 for revocation.) Also, if you have picked up several minor traffic violations in a short period of time, the Motor Vehicle Administration may attempt to suspend or revoke your license on the grounds that you are an “habitual traffic offender”.
Non-jailable traffic offenses are held at different times from serious traffic charges (such as drunk driving or hit and run). Assistant State’s Attorneys (“prosecutors”) are not assigned to minor traffic court. Thus, the police officer who gave you the ticket is typically the only person in the case against you. Sometimes the police officer has not filled out the ticket correctly, or is simply not prepared, when challenged, to prove the case against you.
In speeding cases, for instance, the police officer typically will claim that your speed was recorded on radar or by laser printout. The law requires that the police officer be certified in the use of such equipment. In court, the police officer can be required to produce documentation of this certification. They often do not have it. If the police officer claims he determined your speed by “pace”, that means he was following you at a set distance for a certain period of time and was able to gauge your speed by looking at his speedometer. Again, the police officer is required, when asked, to provide proof that his vehicle’s speedometer was recently calibrated for accuracy. In all of these instances, if the police officer cannot provide the requested documentation, the judge will invariably dismiss such charges against you.
Whenever a person is involved in an accident which the police officer believes was caused by a particular driver, that individual will typically receive a citation for “failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision”. But unless a police officer or a witness can testify from personal knowledge as to how the accident occurred, that citation will be dismissed as well.
Please contact Richmond Davis at 410-730-5550 for further information and an appointment.
Law Offices of Richmond Davis, LLC • 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 300, Columbia, MD 21044-3559