Traffic Violations in Maryland
Maryland enacts and enforces traffic laws to help make road travels as safe as possible. When you violate a traffic law and are caught, you will be issued a citation for either a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. A civil infraction is not a criminal violation, but a misdemeanor is a low-level criminal act. Neither is likely to land you in jail, though. Instead, traffic violations in Maryland generally result in fines and points against your driving record. If you accrue too many, you could lose your driving privileges.
Maryland Points System
Upon conviction of a moving violation in Maryland, the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA) applies points to the offender’s driving record. The amount of points varies based on the number and severity of the traffic violations as applied by the Maryland points system.
Anyone who obtains 3 or 4 points will receive a warning letter from the MVA. The letter simply informs the driver that he or she is endangering his or her driving privileges if improvements are not made soon. When a motorist accrues between 5 and 7 points, the MVA will demand the offending motorists enroll in and successfully complete a driver improvement program. Successful completion could help to reduce the number of points on a driving record.
When a motorist obtains between 8 and 11 points, the MVA will suspend his or her driving privileges and send notice informing the offender of what he or she can do to regain them. It usually includes completing a driver improvement course but also might include substance abuse counseling or other relevant treatments for more specific problems, like drunk driving.
A motorist who accrues 12 or more points will lose driving privileges. The MVA will revoke the license and send a notice of revocation. Regaining Maryland driving privileges after that point likely would require the help of an attorney.
How Long do Points Stay on Your Record?
Maryland law requires points to remain on a driving record for two years following the date of the moving violation. The two-year rule can help a motorist who has accrued points already but is near the two-year mark for at least some points to expire. Challenging a moving violation could delay a conviction long enough for prior points to drop off and no longer trigger a more serious punishment – like a license suspension.
License Suspension and Reinstatement in Maryland
Whenever the MVA suspends a driver’s license, it will mail notice to the offending driver and outline the reasons why the license is suspended. Upon completing any required steps to regain driving privileges, motorists can go to a local MVA services center, pay fees and regain driving privileges.
Traffic fines must be paid through the respective court system whose jurisdiction handled the traffic offense. Unpaid fines are reported to the MVA and could trigger a loss of driving privileges until paid