Ocean City Driving Point System
Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration assesses points based on the driver conviction. For every moving violation, there are a specific number of points that are assessed to that violation. After an individual is convicted in the District Court, it is the District Court’s responsibility to contact and notify the MVA about the conviction. The MVA assesses the appropriate number of points to that person’s driving record.
To avoid getting points at all, you must avoid a conviction, thereby making it important that an Ocean City traffic lawyer is contacted as soon as possible.
How The Point System Works
The series of points were designed by the laws of Maryland that is part of the Maryland code. The points are already defined. It is not a question of whether you may or may not get points. If you are convicted, you get a certain number of points; those points are defined with the traffic laws.
For example, for speeding violations, if the driver is convicted of exceeding the speed limit from one mile/hour to nine miles/hour, one point is assessed. It is also important to note that the points are greater if the violation contributed to an accident. For example, if the person is convicted of speeding and they were going five miles/hour over the speed limit that would be a one point violation. However, if they were speeding and that contributed to some sort of accident where they struck another car, the points are increased from one point to three points.
How Long Do Points Last?
In Maryland the demerit points remain on your driving record for three years after your conviction. After three years, they are automatically expunged from your record as long as certain criteria are met. For example, there cannot be another conviction for a moving violation or an offense involving that motor vehicle during that three year period. The automatic expungement does not apply if the person’s driver’s license was suspended or revoked.
Impact of Points On Your License
When a driver accumulates too many points, the consequences can include having to enroll in and complete a driving improvement program or suspending or revoking their privilege to drive.
The consequence depends on the number of points that have been accumulated during a two year period. In Maryland, during a two year time period, if the person accumulates three to four points, they can anticipate that the MVA is going to send them a warning letter. The driver doesn’t have to take any action on that, they are only being informed that they have accumulated three to four points.
If the driver has accumulates five to seven points, the MVA sends a notice requiring them to enroll in a driver improvement program. The driver improvement program is a class lasting from four hours to eight hours. It provides some rehabilitation to the driver, re-emphasizing the important lessons that were learned during driver’s education programs.
There are different providers throughout the state that offer the driver improvement program. The person attends the driver improvement program and, after they successfully complete the program, they get a certification of completion. The MVA is notified that the person successfully completed the driver improvement program.
If the driver accumulates eight to eleven points, the MVA sends that person a notice of suspension of their privilege to drive.
If the person has accumulated twelve or more points, they get a notice that their privilege to drive is revoked. Accumulating points has some incredibly serious consequences including the revocation of the privilege to drive.
Another long term consequence of accumulating points is that insurance companies raise that person’s insurance rates. In some circumstances, an insurance company drops the insured and no longer offers insurance when the person has accumulated too many points.
Removing Points From Your License
In Maryland, the points are automatically expunged from driving records three years after the conviction. However, there are certain criteria that must be met if the points are automatically expunged from the person’s license. Those criteria include that the person has not been convicted of any other moving violation in that three year period and also that their driver’s license has never been suspended or revoked.
If the person doesn’t meet the criteria, they can still request that the points be expunged from their records by completing an Expungement Request Form (pdf) and including certain information. The individual could also write a letter to the MVA requesting that those points be removed from their records.
How An Attorney Can Help
A traffic lawyer can help by requesting a hearing and, hopefully, have the defendant found not guilty. If the person is found not guilty, there are no points assessed.
Another example is when the attorney is able to negotiate a plea to a different section of the code that doesn’t carry as many points.
The attorney can help by perhaps negotiating a plea to an amended citation that doesn’t carry as many points. As an example, if an individual is cited with a speeding ticket and it is alleged that they were going 20 to 29 miles/hour over the speed limit, this is a two point violation. An attorney may be successful in getting the state to agree to let the person plead to a lower speed. If the state amends the speed down to nine miles/hour over the speed limit, that is a one point violation.
An important point to remember is that if an individual is convicted of a violation and the judge agrees to give the individual Probation Before Judgment at their sentence, none of the points are assessed. Probation Before Judgment means that the person’s conviction is removed from the records therefore, there are no points assessed. In this instance, an attorney can be incredibly beneficial by helping the client do what needs to get done so that when they are standing in front of the judge, they are more likely to receive Probation Before Judgment.