The Maryland demerit point system determines the standing of a person’s driving record following traffic violations by assessing a different numbers of demerit points to a driver’s record based on the offense. Eventually once an individual meets a certain number of points, penalties will be triggered that limit or revoke a person’s legal ability to drive. Because the demerit point system in Maryland can greatly affect a person’s transportation and commuting ability, it may be prudent to consult with a Maryland traffic lawyer when facing the addition of demerit points to your driving record.
How Points are Assigned
When someone is convicted of a vehicle related law violation in Maryland, the Maryland court notifies the MVA of the conviction, and then the MVA applies the appropriate points to their driver’s license. The number of points assessed for each type of violation is found in the Maryland Annotated Code or the Code of Maryland Regulations. The number of points assessed to an offense is determined by the MVA, not by the court.
How Long Do Demerit Points Last?
Points remain on a person’s driving record until they are officially expunged by the MVA. After two years from the violation date, the points are no longer considered current points, however, these points are public information for three years from the violation date.
Points are automatically removed after three years if the person has:
(1) not committed, or was not convicted for another moving violation or any other criminal offense involving a motor vehicle during this period;
(2)their license was not suspended or revoked; AND
(3) the person wasn’t convicted of driving while intoxicated, fleeing a scene of an accident, or any other similar violation.
Demerit Point Accumulation
The MVA may take different actions depending on the number of points someone accumulated over the previous two years. In the Maryland demerit point system a person’s driver’s record is reviewed for the total number of points each time the MVA adds more points to their record. With three to four points, the MVA sends a warning letter, which is a reminder that getting another infraction will result in more stern penalties.
With five to seven points, the MVA requires the person to enroll in a driver improvement program. These are offered by various third party providers across the state and thus the fees vary with each location. With eight to eleven points, the MVA sends a notice of suspension. With 12 or more points, the MVA sends the person a notice of revocation and asks them to relinquish their driver’s license to a MVA office.
Points for Infractions in Other Jurisdictions
The Maryland demerit point system includes points for infractions in other jurisdictions. The type of out-of-state violations for which points may be assessed in Maryland include alcohol or drug related offenses, leaving the scene of a personal injury, accident, homicide, or manslaughter involving a vehicle, or use of a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony. The point values identified in the Maryland demerit point system for similar offenses determines the number of points a person is assessed for in other jurisdictions.
Application of Demerit Point System to Out of State Drivers
Maryland doesn’t use a uniform demerit point system. Maryland is a part of the Driver License Compact, which guides the MVA’s actions. This means that Maryland notifies an out of state driver’s home state when there is a violation of the traffic laws of Maryland.
Point Removal Process for Maryland license
Typically, the point removal process for a Maryland license does not require any sort of hearing because points are automatically removed after 3 years. However, some people may prefer to go to trial as it provides an opportunity to plead guilty and fight the traffic ticket. If a person chooses to go this route they will receive a trial notice after 15 days, giving details on the date and location. If the verdict is not in their favor, they may appeal after 30 days. A person may also go to a waiver hearing and plead guilty with an explanation. This gives them an opportunity to explain their version of the event and ask for a reduction in fees or the waiver of points.
What are the different effects it has on your hearing to plead guilty or not guilty?
When a person pleads guilty, they are admitting to the offense. The only remedy that they have is to explain their version of the event. The judge has the discretion to determine whether to reduce the fees or waive the points that are associated with the ticket.
If a person pleads not guilty, the prosecutor then has to prove their case and show that the person did commit the violation.
How a Traffic Lawyer Can Help
Minor traffic offenses can have other consequences besides the payment of the fine, such as increased insurance rates, suspension and revocation of licenses, or losing one’s job if driving is an essential part of their employment. An attorney can help the person evaluate how a ticket may affect their specific situation and can also help the person defend the case.