The State of Maryland enforces strict traffic laws. There is little room for interpretation in many cases. If you are pulled over for speeding, even 1 mile per hour over the limit for the area in which you were driving, you can receive a speeding violation charge.
Defending a Speeding Charge in Maryland
Although traffic law is strict in Maryland, there are some acceptable defenses which may apply to your case. These defenses are not meant to be used as loopholes and should only be made if the claim is valid.
Assessment of Speed
An officer of the law who is enforcing speed limits is required to determine the speed you were driving using a predefined protocol. If an officer does not use a valid method for interpreting speed, the case has potential to be dismissed.
There are certain situations which are designated as “emergencies”. A court may dismiss a speeding charge if it decides the driver was speeding in order to avoid serious damages or injuries caused to either the driver, or other individuals.
There are some instances in which your car may have been mistaken for another vehicle. These situations can be very complex, but do require official assessment from the court.
Traffic fines are uniform throughout the state of Maryland and do not vary from district to district. Fine amounts can be found on the citation.
Penalties come in the form of points on an individual’s driving record and loss of driving privileges. These vary based on driving record, severity of infraction, and type of license held by the driver. Points remain on a driving record for two years from the date of the infraction.
Common infractions with penalty points
- DUI – 12 points
- Failure to stop at a red light – 2 points
- Improper passing – 1 point
- Improper U-turn – 1 point
Accumulating points will result in the following consequences and punishments:
- 3 to 4 points – the MVA will send a cautionary letter
- 5 to 7 points – required enrollment in a Driver Improvement Program
- 8 to 11 points – driver’s license will be suspended for at least 6 months
- 12 points or more – revocation of driver’s license
Again, points accumulate and remain on a driving record for two years from the date of infraction.
Loss of Driving Privileges (Temporary and Permanent)
There are three levels of Loss of Driving Privileges:
Temporary withdrawal of a driver’s license. Depending on the situation, the MVA may allow the offender to drive on a restricted license (limited to driving to and from work or school).
The withdrawal of driving privileges until the MVA decides the offender is fit to drive again. Unlike a suspended license, a revoked license comes with an extended waiting period before able can drive again. There is no guarantee that the offender will be allowed to apply for a reinstated license.
Driving privileges are completely terminated
In addition to too many points on a driving record, loss of driving privileges can occur for the following violations:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Attempting to elude a police officer
- Turning off vehicle lights to avoid being identified
Penalties for Underage Drivers
If a driver is under 18 years of age and holds a provisional driver’s license, they will face the following penalties:
1st offense ― Mandatory enrollment in a Driver Improvement Program..
2nd offense ― 30-day suspension of driving privileges, followed by a 90-day restricted license period (can only drive to and from school and/or work).
3rd offense ― 180-day suspension of driving privileges, mandatory enrollment in a Driver Improvement Program, followed by a 180-day restricted license period.
4th offense or subsequent offenses ― Revocation of driving privileges.
Penalties for Commercial Drivers
Commercial drivers will lose MD CDL for 1 year if convicted of any of the following offenses:
- Driving with an illegal blood alcohol count (BAC), meaning greater than 0.08%
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of or greater than 0.04%
- Not submitting to a sobriety test
- Leaving an accident scene
- Using the vehicle to commit a felony
- Driving a CMV with a invalid CDL
- Causing a death through negligent driving
Serious violations include:
- Driving 15 mph over the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Improper lane changes
- Following too closely behind another vehicle
- Driving a CMV without having properly attained a CDL
- Driving a CMV without a CDL in possession
- Violating a texting while driving law
Two convictions of any combination of serious violations will lead to the loss of driving privileges for two months or 60 days. Third and subsequent convictions will lead to loss of driving privileges for 120 days or more.
How we can help you
If you have received a speeding charge in Maryland, you should consult with an experienced traffic defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. There are certain situations which can lead to your charge being lowered to a lesser charge, or even dismissal of your case.
Have You Been Charged With A Traffic Violation In Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been charged with a traffic violation you need to speak with an experienced traffic defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your free case consultation.