Types of Traffic Offenses
Traffic offenses in Maryland can often be misconstrued as minor crimes, however, that is not always the case. Some consequences of traffic offenses can include burdening points on one’s license, or in some cases, jail time. If you find yourself in any sort of traffic related incident, it is highly advised that your first step is to hire a Columbia traffic lawyer. An experienced attorney, who has your best interests in mind, can help to ensure you receive minimal consequences for any accused wrongdoing.
Speed Related Infractions
Speeding does not carry a jail sentence. This is fortunate for many because it is the most common type of traffic offense. The maximum penalty is a fine, that increases or decreases depending on the speed a person was traveling. There are other moving violations that do not carry any jail time but have a penalty of fines and points. These violations include:
- Failure to stop at a yield sign before entering a crosswalk – $90 & 1 point
- Exceeding highway work zone speed limit – $290 & 1 point
- Driving vehicle below minimum speed limit posted on highway – $80 & 1 point
- Exceeding the speed limit on a highway by:
- 1-9 MPH – $80 & 1 point
- 10-19 MPH – $90 & 2 points
- 20-29 MPH – $160 & 2 points
- 30-39 MPH – $290 & 5 points
- 40 MPH+ – $530 & 5 points
Some more common speeding infractions include making an illegal turn, or failure to use a turn signal. Both of those are not incarcerable traffic offenses, meaning that a person cannot get any jail time if convicted.
A traffic misdemeanor is any violation of the Maryland Transportation Article, unless there is a civil penalty or unless the misdemeanor is included with a felony. Misdemeanors carry a potential penalty of jail time. Most types of these offenses are misdemeanors, and carry a penalty of 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
There are specific violations in the Maryland Transportation Article that are designated as felonies. What makes a felony different from a misdemeanor is that the possible jail sentence is higher; misdemeanor traffic infractions do not include any potential jail time.
Some examples of a traffic felony include a DUI where someone is killed or automobile manslaughter. With these felonies, there is a lengthy period of incarceration. With a felony, the potential penalty could be 10 years in prison or greater, depending on which felony was violated.
Appealing a Conviction
Anyone has the right to appeal both a misdemeanor conviction and a felony conviction. This is because the case is already in the circuit court, and the person is appealing to the appellate level court in Annapolis, Maryland. Since this is not a new trial, the appellate court reviews the case to determine if the judge made any errors during the circuit court trial. Any and all traffic infractions and misdemeanors can be heard in the Howard County District Court.
Benefits of an Attorney
Once a traffic infraction occurs in Columbia, an attorney should be contacted immediately so that they can assess the case and determine the best course of action to minimize the consequences. It does not matter whether a payable or must appear citation is received because both citations can have an effect on one’s livelihood if found liable. If a must-appear citation is received, severe penalties such as jail time could come into play. In this case, it is of the utmost importance an attorney is hired. An attorney may be able to get the charges reduced, and ultimately minimize the consequences the accused would face.