What are common traffic violations?
Some of the most common traffic violations include:
• Failure to comply with the child restraint and child safety seat laws
• Turning abruptly
• Disregarding traffic control devices
• Failure to use seat belts
• Failure to stop at red traffic lights and stop signs
• Failure to comply with the auto registration law
• Driving while intoxicated
• Failure to comply with vehicle safety inspection laws
What is DWI/DUI, and what is the potential punishment for it in Maryland?
In Maryland, there are two levels of drinking driving offenses. “Driving while impaired” (DWI) requires a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.07%. “Driving under the influence” (DUI) requires a BAC of 0.08 percent or above. Both carry similar penalties, but greater punishment may be imposed for DUI. The BAC threshold for commercial drivers is 0.04%. Under Maryland’s “zero tolerance” policy, drivers under 21 found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher are subject to driver’s license suspension or revocation.
As with many states, the penalties escalate with the number of offenses. First-offense DUI carries a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine, along with a possible driver’s license revocation after trial. The jail and fine penalties double for convicted drivers who are transporting a minor at the time of arrest. First-offense DWI carries a punishment of up to 2 months in jail and a $500 fine, along with a 60-day driver’s license suspension after trial. Second and third offenses for both violations carry stiffer penalties. Refusing to submit to chemical testing for BAC exposes the driver to a possible suspension of driving privileges for 180 days for a first offense, and a mandatory one-year suspension for a second offense.
What is the difference between moving and non-moving violations?
A moving violation is a traffic violation that takes place while a vehicle is in motion. Examples of moving violations are speeding, illegal U-turns, failure to obey traffic signals, and DUI/DWI offenses. Non-moving violations occur when the vehicle is not in motion, such as when it is parked. Illegal parking is a typical non-moving violation.
What is meant by the “Point System?”
In Maryland, moving violation offenses are assessed with a point value ranging from 1-12. The number of points an offense earns depends on the nature of the traffic violation. If a driver accumulates 12 or more points in a two-year period, his or her driver’s license is subject to revocation.
Most moving violations that do not cause an accident are assigned one point. The point values for some common offenses are:
• Using others driver’s license – 12 points
• Speeding (9 mph or less) – 1 point
• Speeding (10 mph and more) – 2 points
• Speeding (20 mph and more than 65 mph speed limit) – 5 points
• Speeding (30 mph and more) – 5 points
• Driving without a license – 5 points
• Racing – 5 points
• Reckless driving – 6 points
• Driving with a suspended license – 3 points
• Failure to stop at a traffic signal – 2 points
• Failure to stop for a school bus – 2 points
• Improper turn – 1 point
What is a “PBJ?”
“PBJ” means “Probation Before Judgment,” and it is used widely for Maryland traffic violations. For example, if a person accused of DUI has not been convicted of that offense within the preceding five years, that person will be eligible for PBJ. If the person under probation does not commit any other traffic violation for five years, then the person will not be convicted, driver’s license points will not be assessed, and the person’s driving record will not reflect the probated offense. A person receiving PBJ will have a separate record stating that the person is on probation. If a defendant is eligible for a PBJ, it is in the discretion of the Judge to grant a PBJ. Whether a Judge will grant a PBJ is decided on a case by case basis.
What is an Ignition Interlock System?
An ignition interlock system is a device that is installed on a vehicle and is used to prevent a person from driving their vehicle if they have been drinking. A driver whose vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock must provide a breath sample to the device. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the device disables the vehicle’s ignition system.
Suspension of Driver’s License Before Trial
Your driver’s license can be suspended before trail based on the results of the chemical test for alcohol or the refusal to submit to the alcohol test. You may have as little as 10 days to request a hearing to protect your driving privilege. The hearing request copy is attached to the driver’s copy of the Officer’s Certification and Order of Suspension.