Ocean City Traffic Misdemeanors
In Maryland, a traffic misdemeanor is any violation of the Maryland Vehicle Law unless there was a civil penalty established, or it was declared to be a felony law. A traffic misdemeanor carries a potential penalty of jail time if it has not been separately defined as a felony. Most of the traffic violations in Maryland, at least the moving violations, are misdemeanors. A large number of them carry a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, which although not as serious as a felony, still warrants attention from an Ocean City traffic lawyer.
Read on to learn more about traffic misdemeanors in Ocean City before calling and scheduling a consultation with an attorney.
Difference Between A Misdemeanor and An Infraction
A traffic misdemeanor is different from a traffic infraction in that it has a potential sentence of jail time. An infraction carries only a fine and points as potential penalty. It is important to understand that just because a statute carries a potential jail sentence, this does not mean that that every defendant is going to be sent to jail. It means that the possible maximum sentence is could include a jail sentence.
If the defendant is a first offender and has no prior points and no prior convictions, most likely the driver would not be sentenced to jail time, but would instead be sentenced to a period of supervised probation.
There are many traffic misdemeanors in the Maryland Transportation Article. Examples include:
- Driving without a license
- Driving while suspended
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while impaired
- Or driving while revoked.
The possible penalty for each misdemeanor is defined in the Transportation Article. Many of those offenses carry a penalty of a fine not exceeding $500.00 and/or a maximum of 60 days in jail. There are a series of traffic misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of a year in jail; that includes driving under the influence and certain violations of driving while suspended. Driving while revoked carries a maximum penalty of one year and/or a $1000 fine. For most traffic misdemeanors, the possible penalty is 60 days in jail and/or $500 fine. All of those misdemeanors carry points which are assessed at the Maryland MVA.
Where Misdemeanor Cases Are Heard
In Ocean City, traffic misdemeanor cases are originally docketed to be heard in the Ocean City District Court which is located on 65th Street. If the potential penalty or if the maximum penalty for the offense is 90 days or more, the defendant has the right to pray a jury trial which means that their case will not be heard in the District Court. It will instead be heard in the Circuit Court. So, unless the driver would pray a jury trial, the case is heard in the Ocean City District Court.
Appealing a Misdemeanor Conviction
There is a right to appeal that applies to traffic misdemeanors. However, there are many issues to consider before deciding whether or not to appeal.
For example, regarding the District Court judge, although the defendant may not like the sentence that he or she receives, the District Court judge may actually be the best sentencing judge for the defendant. The defendant should consider whether to appeal the case and potentially have the case heard by a judge who may give a harsher sentence. That appeal would be held in the Circuit Court for Worcester County.