There are two types of traffic offenses in Maryland, “payable” (which are minor traffic offenses) and “must appear” (which are serious traffic offenses). “Payable” traffic violations such as a speeding ticket, running a stop sign, or improper turning are those that one can choose to plead guilty to and pay a fine without having to appear in court. “Payable” traffic violations are not punishable by jail time. A Maryland traffic lawyer can help a person charged with these offenses make the best decisions to minimize the impact of the charges.
Court Options for Traffic Offenses
There are three options when a person has a “payable” traffic citation. One option is to pay the fine. Another option is to plead guilty with an explanation and appear for a waiver hearing. The final option is to request a trial date and appear for trial. If a person chooses not to pay the fine, they must request a waiver hearing or a trial, and must appear in person. If someone does not respond within 60 days to any of the three options, the MVA is notified and may suspend that person’s license.
A person has the right to appeal within 30 days of the trial date. There are non-refundable fees for filing an appeal. Such appeals will occur in the Maryland Circuit Courts.
“Must Appear” Traffic Offenses
“Must appear” traffic offenses such as DUI, leaving the scene of accident, fleeing and eluding the police, and driving while suspended or revoked are serious and incarcerable. When charged with one of these serious offenses, the person cannot simply pay the fine; they must appear in court.
All traffic ticket cases are held in traffic court in the Maryland District Courts. A person can appeal a traffic ticket in Maryland. If the court finds someone guilty, they have the right to an appeal within 30 days of their trial date. There are nonrefundable court costs for filing an appeal and such appeals happen in the Maryland Circuit Courts.
Traffic Misdemeanors vs. Traffic Infractions
A traffic misdemeanor may possibly result in jail time, whereas a traffic infraction would carry only a fine and points as the potential penalty. A traffic misdemeanor is any violation in the Maryland Transportation Article unless there is a civil penalty or unless the misdemeanor is increased to a felony. Most traffic violations are misdemeanors and carry a penalty of sixty days in jail and/or a $500 fine. For traffic infractions, penalties never include any jail time.
Felony Traffic Offenses in Maryland
There are specific violations in the Maryland Transportation Article that are designed as felonies. Some of those include automobile manslaughter, and homicidal DUI. Most felony traffic cases in Maryland are heard in the Maryland Circuit Courts.
Traffic felonies are different from traffic infractions and misdemeanors in terms of the penalty that is assigned to the offense. The period of incarceration is higher – possibly ten years- and wouldn’t be served in a local detention center. A person who has a trial and is convicted of an offense has the right to appeal their case to the Appellate Court. At the appellate court hearing, the judge determines if there was any error made in the judge’s ruling during the Circuit Court trial.