Prince George’s County Traffic Citation Lawyer
Moving violations in Prince Georges County, Maryland, are a nuisance. But they can also be a serious threat to your privilege to drive and in some instances, mean you might have to spend a few days or a few months in jail if convicted. And with the explosion in “traffic camera tickets,” it’s possible to be convicted of a moving violation without even having the opportunity to face your accuser, and to be treated as “guilty until proven innocent,” contrary to the principles of our judicial system. If you find yourself charged with a traffic-related offense, a Prince George’s County traffic citation lawyer can help you to navigate the intricacies of the legal system.
Some of the more serious “must appear” moving violations are:
- Speeding [Section 21–801] – This offense was recently modified by the legislature and now bases its penalties on how fast you drive over the posted limit, whether there’s an accident involved, and the number of previous convictions. Penalties range from $80 and one DMV point, to $530 and five points. Fines can be doubled if you’re convicted of speeding in a school or work zone.
- Driving without a license [Section 16–101] – The penalties can be up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and five DMV points. If your license is suspended or revoked, additional time is added to the waiting period before you can reapply, as is driving if you never had a license, or with a learner’s permit and no licensed driver was in the front seat.
- Fleeing and eluding [Section 21-904] – Up to a year in jail, a fine of $1,000, and eight MVA points can await a first–time conviction. After that, the sentences get worse. And if there are more than three convictions, the sentence can be as high as 10 years, especially if you caused an accident that injured someone. The same penalties are assessed for leaving the scene of an accident.
- Reckless driving [Section 21–901] – A fine of $500 and six MVA points are the punishment for a first-time conviction. Subsequent convictions can be more expensive, though the MVA points are the same.
- Aggressive driving [Section 21–901.2] – An offense where a driver is simultaneously ticketed for three or more moving violations on a pre-determined list of seven. Sentences can bring six DMV points and the cumulative fine amount for all ticketed offenses.
- Driving without insurance [Section 17-107] – There are minimum liability coverage requirements that all drivers must carry. Penalties involve up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, and five DMV points
New Rules Governing Trials
When the legislature modified the driving penalties, it also adjusted the way all traffic violations are handled by the courts. Prior to these changes, a court date was automatically assigned to every citation. But now, all ticketed offenders must request a trial (or waiver hearing if applicable) [Maryland Transportation Code Section 26–201]. Failing to do so within 30 days of being ticketed means an automatic verdict of guilty, and the ticketed offender will receive a bill in the mail, which must be paid immediately, in addition to notification of when and where to report for their jail sentence if one applies to the offense.
If you wish to plead “guilty with explanation (meaning there were extenuating circumstances that contributed to the offense), you must request a pre-trial waiver hearing within that same 30-day period. At the hearing, you (or your Prince George’s County traffic citation lawyer) will explain your situation to the judge, who will then decide whether you have a viable defense that can be used at your ticket trial.
Traffic Camera Offenses
“Traffic cams” – especially those used to catch speeders and those who run red lights or commit other “intersection-related” offenses – are attracting more attention not only from drivers, but also the media, politicians, and the judiciary. They are provided by private companies that are contracted by local municipalities. In localities throughout Maryland and the U.S., one of the widely debated questions is “Do they make driving safer, or are they just a means for cities to make money?” Public outcry centers on the less-than-transparent manner in which drivers can be mistakenly ticketed by these devices. Many critics also point out the unresponsive treatment given to those who dispute these “tickets in the mail.” And especially in Maryland, clear rules for identifying drivers of a vehicle that was “ticket cammed” when loaned to them by the owner do not currently exist.
Fortunately for drivers, these infractions are considered civil offenses, so no jail time is involved. Nor do the offenses go on their driving record, which means their insurance company is not informed. But those advantages can be outweighed by the difficulty innocent drivers have in getting out from under these “nuisance tickets.”
Your Prince George’s County Traffic Citation Lawyer
Whether you are attempting to dispute a traffic camera citation or looking to avoid MVA citation points on your record, a Prince Georges County traffic citation attorney can save you a lot of time and frustration. The lawyers at our firm have experience handling a diverse range of traffic-related cases and can help you to mount an aggressive and proactive defense. Call our firm today to conduct your free initial consultation.