Maryland’s Driver Laws and the Point System.

One of the most common questions drivers in Maryland have when they receive a traffic citation is “how will this affect my driving status in Maryland?”

In Maryland, traffic laws are handled two ways: One is via the court system (judicial branch), which adjudicates the “criminal” side of vehicle laws.  For example, the court can assess penalties, fines, and even impose jail time if you are found guilty of certain traffic offenses.

The MVA (which is part of the administrative branch) regulates who may drive in the state and your driver’s license.  The MVA works closely with the Courts to ensure proper administration of your driving privileges.

For certain offenses (like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), the MVA will hold its own hearing to determine your driving eligibility.  The MVA will also consider cases where individuals have assessed too many Points.  While these hearings cannot result in jail time, they are very important because they affect your driving privileges.

When you are found guilty of any driving infraction (you are also found “guilty” if you mail in the fine amount and do not go to court), the Court transmits the guilty verdict to the MVA who assigns points to your driving record.  The MVA may suspend, revoke, or restrict your driving privilege if you commit certain offenses or show a pattern of continued disregard for vehicle laws (which they quantify with the point system).

The points are counted during a 2 year period.  If you receive 8 to 12 points, your license will be suspended unless you show good cause why it should not be.  If you receive 12 or more points in a 2 year period, your license will be revoked unless you show good cause why it should not be.  A license suspension means that you may automatically get your license back after the suspension period (either 30 or 90 days) while a revocation means that you must re-apply for your license after the revocation period.

Being found guilty of certain offenses will automatically result in either 8 or 12 points, the threshold for either having your license suspended or revoked.  It is important to realize the collateral consequences of “pleading guilty” and paying the fine for certain offenses because it could mean that you will lose your license!

Below is a chart of some common infractions and the point value that will be assessed on your driving record if you are found guilty of the offense.  Some offenses are similar, but have varying degrees of the same offense.

Violation common name
General moving infraction non-listed 1
Following too closely 2
Speeding in excess of 10 mph above limit 2
Driving with improper class of license 2
Failing to stop for schoolbus 3
Placing dangerous object (glass) in road 2 TA 21-1111
Littering on road, bridge or water 2 TA 21-1111
Passing an emergency vehicle 2 TA 21-405
Failure to yield right of way to pedestrian 2 TA 21-511
Failure to stop at red light 2 TA 21-202
Failure to treat non-working light as 4-way 2 TA 21-209
Operating a limousine without license 2 TA 21-1127
Any violation contributing to an accident 3
Driving without a license-subchater (h) or (i) 3 TA 16-303
improperly Transporting hazardous materials 3 TA 21-1411
Speeding in excess of 30 mph above limit 5
Driving while not licensed 5
Failure to report an accident 5
driving on a learner’s permit unaccompanied 5
Failing to maintain required security 5 TA 17-107
Participating in a race or speed contest 5
Causing or Permitting Minor to drive 5 TA 16-304
Permitting unathorized person to drive 5 TA 16-305
Using prohibited “Power booster system” 5 TA 22-404.5
Speeding in excess of 20 m.p.h. in 65 zone 5
Aggressive Driving 5 TA 21-901.2
Reckless Driving 6
Driving While Impaired by Alcohol or Drug 8 TA 21-902.1
Turning off lights to avoid identification 8
Failing to stop after accident 8
Driving with improper class (commercial) 8 TA 16-815
Driving a School Vehicle without authorization 8 TA 16-816
Failing to stop after accident resulting in injury 12
Driving on a suspended license 12 TA 16-303
Unlawful application for license or permit 12 TA 16-301
Duplication or Reproduction of license 12 TA 16-302
Having more than one license 12 TA 16-804
Driving Commercial Vehicle when Unauthorized 12 TA 16-808
Vehicular Homicide or attempted homicide 12 Crim 3-211
Driving Under Influence of Alcohol per se 12
Felony involving use of vehicle 12
fleeing or attempting to elude police officer 12
making false affidavit to MVA 12
Theft of Vehicle / Grand Theft Auto 12 TA 14-102

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