Damage Done by Wealth-Based Driver’s License Suspensions

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Learning to drive is often considered a sacred rite of passage for the average American.

Driving is a privilege and not a right. We rely on our driving privileges to get to school, work, the grocery store and many other necessary destinations. In fact, roughly 83% of Americans report they drive a car multiple times per week. So, the effects of a license suspension on your life can be devastating, everything from the payment of mounting fees (or the inability to pay them) to potential job loss.

If your driver’s license gets suspended, it’s important that you understand your rights.

In many states, failing to pay a court fine or fee, even for a minor traffic infraction, can result in a suspended driver’s license. Unfortunately, the majority of people who are affected by this are the people who just can’t afford to pay the traffic fee or hire an attorney to make it go away. These are commonly referred to as “wealth-based suspensions.”

Unsurprisingly, when a person is stripped of their driver’s license, it could become very difficult to make a living in America. Depending on where we live, we could have limited access to reliable public transportation that could jeopardize our ability to get to work. For instance, a recent New Jersey study finds that 42% of people who lose their driver’s licenses also lose their jobs.

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Driver’s License Suspension in Maryland

In Maryland, a citation is a form, called the “Maryland Uniform Complaint/Citation/Summons”, which is issued to you by a member of law enforcement if you are in violation of motor vehicle laws, such as speeding or failure to wear a seat belt. On the bottom right hand corner of the citation you will find information on what you are expected to do – pay the fine, request a waiver or hearing or request a trial to appear in Maryland District Court to contest the citation.

Failure to comply with the citation, either paying the fine or appearing in court when ultimately notified to appear, will trigger a notification to the Maryland Vehicle Administration. This is the most common type of reason to have a suspended license. The MVA will mail you a notice that your license will be suspended if you do not satisfy the court requirements.

Most of these violations incur fees that must be paid before your license can be reinstated. Unfortunately, depending on how many tickets you are issued, fines can range from as little as $50 to well into the thousands. Failure to pay fines and fees can still lead to the suspension of your license.

If your license is suspended, it will remain suspended until you satisfy the requirements of the court. Once satisfied, the District Court will request that the MVA lift the suspension. The record of your suspension will remain on your driver record.

Other Reasons for Driver’s License Suspensions in Maryland

  • Excessive Moving Violations – Most traffic infractions, whether they be jailable or fineable only, have points associated with them. If you accumulate eight to 11 points within two years, your license can be suspended. If you accumulate 12 or more points in a two-year period, your license can be revoked.
  • Driving Under the Influence – If you operate a motor vehicle under the influence of or while impaired by alcohol or drugs, your license can be suspended. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation.
  • Child Support – Failure to pay court ordered child support can lead to your license being suspended.
  • Judgments – If you are sued and a civil judgment is entered against you, and you fail to pay the judgement, this can lead to your license being suspended.

Have a Legal Question About Driver’s License Suspension in Baltimore? We Have Answers.

If you or a loved one need legal services regarding a driver’s license suspension, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law are experts at answering all your questions and guiding you through challenging processes of Maryland traffic ticket law. We can help you find out what options are available in your particular situation. Contact us or call us at 410-356-4455 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys today.