Maryland Traffic Offense Lawyer
Although most people do not consider traffic offenses to be all that serious, in fact, in some cases, they can be quite serious, leaving you to deal with the fallout for months or even years to come. Driving on a suspended license can be an extremely serious offense, particularly if it is not your first offense for driving on a suspended license. The outcome can be much more positive when you have an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney by your side.
You may not think driving on a suspended license is a charge which requires the services of an attorney, but in reality, you could potentially end up in jail for such a ticket. Scott MacMullan is the owner and founder of Scott MacMullan Law. Scott places his clients in the best position possible after considering the facts of the case. Scott is passionate about helping his clients solve their problems, devoting himself to fighting for the rights of the individual in a system that is often unfairly skewed against individual rights.
Is Driving on a Suspended License in Maryland a Serious Offense?
Driving on a suspended driver’s license in the state of Maryland is considered a fairly serious traffic offense, requiring that you appear in court to defend the charges. Under Maryland law, “a person may not drive a motor vehicle on any highway while the person’s license or privilege to drive is suspended in the state.” Since the state of Maryland prosecutes a charge of driving on a suspended license, the prosecutor will decide whether to pursue the charges when you appear for trial. Few people are confident about appearing in court on their own; having an experienced attorney by your side can greatly alleviate your apprehensions, plus you can be assured you will receive the best defense possible.
What are the Reasons for a Suspension or Revocation?
Overall, there are nine different ways in Maryland to be charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, with driving on a revoked license a more serious offense than driving on a suspended license. The reasons for a suspension or revocation include:
- Too many points on your driving record;
- Violating a license restriction;
- Suspension due to a medical condition;
- Too many DUI or DWI convictions;
- Non-payment of child support;
- Refusing to take a breath or blood test after a police officer suspects you of DUI or DWI;
- Failure to pay a traffic ticket;
- A civil judgment against you, or
- Having a suspended license in another state.
Could You Go to Jail for Driving on a Suspended License in Maryland?
You can go to jail for driving on a suspended license in the state of Maryland—a devastating consequence all on its own. Even the more minor driving on a suspended license can land you in jail for between 60 days and a year while driving on a revoked license can result in up to a year in jail for the first offense, and more time in jail for subsequent offenses. If you have a prior criminal traffic violation conviction, you are a habitual driving while suspended offender, you have other charges (speeding, reckless driving, DUI), or you were on probation at the time of your arrest for suspended license, you are more likely to be sentenced to jail time—and more like to benefit from an experienced Maryland defense attorney.
What Are the Typical Fines and Sentences for Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License in Maryland?
Driving on a revoked license can result in 12 points added to your driving record, up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense. Jail time and fines increase for subsequent offenses of driving on a revoked license. Driving on a suspended license has two basic “varieties,” depending on the underlying reason the license was suspended. An “H” charge adds three points to your driving record, up to 60 days in jail, and a fine of up to $500.
An “H” charge is usually the result of failure to appear in court for a minor traffic citation, or failure to pay a traffic ticket. A “C” charge of driving on a suspended license, can bring up to 12 points on your driving record, up to a year in jail, and a $1,000. A “C” suspension is usually associated with too many points on your driving record, noncompliance in paying child support, or a mandatory suspension for a drinking and driving conviction.
What if You Did Not Know Your Driver’s License Was Suspended?
In order to be convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license, you must have knowledge that your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. This is not just actual knowledge but inferred knowledge as well. In other words, while you do not have to admit to a judge that you knew your driver’s license had been suspended or revoked, the judge can infer from the circumstances that you either knew or should have known.
That being said, proving knowledge is the prosecutor’s burden. The most common way to show you knew your license had been revoked or suspended is to show that the MVA mailed a letter to you informing you of that fact. Of course, not every person charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license will go to jail. The facts of your case, what the State Prosecutor recommends, your judge, and your own attorney’s abilities and experience will all come into play as far as whether jail will be the result of your suspended license ticket.
What is the Difference Between Driving on a Suspended License and Driving on a Revoked License?
Driving on a revoked driver’s license in the state of Maryland is considered a jailable offense as well as a “must appear” ticket. If your license has been revoked, that means the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has revoked your privilege to drive in the state of Maryland. A suspended license means you cannot legally drive for a specific length of time. In short, if your license is revoked, it is officially gone, while if it is suspended, it is waiting to be reactivated. To regain your license after a revocation, you are starting from scratch—as though you have never had a driver’s license.
What Are the Common Defenses to Driving on a Suspended License?
There are few solid defenses available for driving on a suspended license. As noted above, if you were truly not notified that your license was suspended, then your attorney might be able to argue lack of actual or inferred knowledge, however, this is a long shot. If you changed your address and failed to notify the motor vehicle department, if you refused to sign for certified mail which contained the suspension notification, or if you were informed by a judge that your license was suspended, then you are unlikely to be able to implement lack of knowledge as a defense. The other defense to driving on a suspended license might be a real emergency, which made driving a necessity. Such an emergency could include an injury or immediate threat of injury to human or animal life, in conjunction with an urgency of circumstances.
Can an Experienced Maryland Attorney Increase Your Chances of Avoiding Serious Penalties?
As you can see, the consequences can be fairly severe if you are convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license, particularly if you are sentenced to high fines and jail time. Such a conviction could make it difficult for you to keep your current job, find a new job, stay in school, keep your current auto insurance, or obtain insurance. There are a number of other areas of your life that could also be adversely affected by a conviction for driving on a suspended license. Scott MacMullan will tirelessly fight for your rights and your future after you have been charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license. Scott believes in his ability to make a difference in the everyday, ordinary lives of his clients and prides himself on getting back to clients promptly. Call or text Scott MacMullan Law, LLC today at (443) 494-9775.