Maryland Driving without License DUI Lawyer
The fact is that even those people without a license in Maryland sometimes feel compelled to get behind the wheel. In many cases these decisions are made out of necessity, often because you need to get to work, pick up children or tend to a family emergency. Regardless of the reason, the law considers the decision to drive without a license a crime and those found guilty face serious penalties.
Consequences for Driving Without a License or Insurance in Maryland
Both the charge of driving without a license (DWOL) and driving without insurance (DWOI) are offenses that can stem from driving under the influence (DUI) – a separate charge that is explained in greater depth.
Driving Without a License
Driving without a license in Maryland happens in those cases where a person does not have the legal right to operate a motor vehicle in the state. If you are found operating a vehicle without the necessary license, chances are you will be charged by a police officer with a traffic offense.
Several years ago driving without a license was known as a fine only offense, meaning that there was no risk of jail time. Unfortunately the laws have changed since then and now those who are convicted of driving without a license face possible time behind bars. For a first offense, anyone found guilty of driving without a license faces 60 days in jail as well as a $500 fine. Second offenses can result in up to a year behind bars.
In addition to these criminal penalties, defendants also face five points being placed on their driving record. This might seem a curious punishment given that the person does not have a license, but it is meant to make it more difficult for the person to get a license in the future.
Driving Without Insurance in Maryland
Experiencing a lapse in car insurance is a problem experienced by many drivers in Maryland, with some surveys estimating that as many as one in six drivers endure a lapse in coverage at some point during the course of a year. While these lapses in coverage may be unintentional, they can still lead to serious trouble, even if you are never pulled over by a cop.
The reason is that Maryland has created a system that automatically fines drivers for lapses in insurance coverage, even if they are unaware of the trouble. If you fail to pay your insurance on time, your insurance company will automatically send a letter to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration notifying them of the lapse. The MVA will then charge drivers $150 in fines for the first 30 days without insurance and $7 per day for every day beyond that. These fines can go as high as $2,500 in some extreme cases.
In addition to costly fines, a person driving without legally required auto insurance could face driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension as well as forfeiture of future registration until the insurance is reinstated. Though insurance may seem like an afterthought, the reality is that a failure to comply with this law can lead to some seriously expensive problems.
The Benefit of Legal Representation
While the penalties may seem relatively minor in comparison to consequences associated with other criminal offenses, a person should not underestimate the sanctions associated with DWOL or DWOI. The state of Maryland rigorously enforces these offenses, and you could be subject to a term of imprisonment for DWOL. Thus, if you have been charged with either DWOL or DWOI it is invaluable to speak with a Maryland criminal defense attorney. Seth Okin has a wealth of experiencing handling such cases, and offers a free initial consultation to discuss the particular facts of your case.