The Point Suspension dilemma for Maryland drivers charged with “Driving while Suspended”

The Point Suspension dilemma for Maryland drivers charged with “Driving while Suspended”

"The Points add up, but I need to keep driving because I will loose my job"

I’ve been practicing law for 27 years and I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve seen responsible people get themselves into a "death point spiral" by getting charged and convicted with a driving on suspended charge or a driving without a license charge.

Most times the dilemma starts when a Defendant is charged with a traffic charge such as a driving while intoxicated (DWI) or a charge that carries extensive points. You may be a young driver or even a relatively experienced driver and something happens one day where you were charged with a serious traffic offense. If it is not handled properly when you go to court, you could be given extensive points which are then transferred to the motor vehicle administration.

If you receive points it is extremely important that you understand when those points come off the record so that you don’t get yourself in a situation where it is compounded. Often, after a person’s first conviction for driving on a suspended license they find themselves in a scenario where they are forced to drive for employment purposes or some sort of family allegation. That’s not to say that they’re not responsible enough to carry insurance but if you are stopped again by police and charged with a 2nd violation it could cause serious ramifications. Next thing you know, your back in court for a subsequent violation and you’re not eligible usually for any type of probationary status. In other words, by law you are not eligible for probation before judgment (PBJ) which could keep the points off the record. Hence, a person’s need and pattern for continued driving on a suspended license begins!

"I’m a responsible citizen, yet I’ve lost my license due to points"

Many people that find themselves in this very situation yet they are very responsible citizens. Something bad happen such as a DWI and it wasn’t handled properly and now they find themselves in a scenario where they absolutely need transportation to take care of the family or to handle other obligations. Unfortunately, the choice most people make is to take a chance and drive on the suspended or revoked license.

"I’ve advocated for years the need for new laws and a special court to address and handle these situations!" Jim Crawford

This is why for years I have advocated for the Maryland Legislature to create a legal methodology where individuals who for one reason or another find themselves in this dilemma. The new law would basically allow individuals who have driven on a suspended license multiple times but have no other extensive criminal history or serious traffic history to continue to operate their vehicle on a limited basis. This would include driving back and forth to work, medical issues and any other issues the court or administrative court would allow. This would put people who otherwise are law abiding citizens in a situation where they have to show the court ove a period time that they are responsible enough to handle their privilege to drive, but they will not be driving illegally. After all, this is done in other areas of the law such as child support scenarios where individuals who do not pay child support have thier license suspended. Child support services will allow individuals to get the license back for limited purposes if in fact a make a payment plan to pay the child support. There are limited methodologies with admin courts now, but these laws don’t fix this situation!

Judge’s hands are tied

I find that sometimes our judicial system has a tendency to compound the problem instead of fix-it. Judges hands are tied because they don’t have the ability under the present laws to fix this. They have a duty to protect the public from people who abuse the driving laws and really don’t care. But in my experience there is no question that there are many individuals who are responsible drivers who get caught up in this "death point spiral" and have no way out. I see in my practice many people who want to find a way to get out of the situation but have no choice but to drive on a suspended license. Eventually, after period of time their licenses are revoked and the "hole" just keeps getting deeper and compounded.

I propose to put individuals in a situation where a liaison can help prevent individuals from going deeper into that "hole". The standard wisdom is to tell someone simply not to drive when they are suspended. Candidly, people will do what needs to be done to survive and if they have no other way to get to employment, take a family member to a doctor or some other major need for transportation, history shows they will do what they need to do and take a chance on getting caught. The problem is that most individuals get caught over and over again and this creates a scenario that is not good for society, public safety or the individuals involved.

In order to fix this scenario your lawyer should advise you exactly what you need to do. The first issue with driving on a suspended license multiple times is to address and fic the criminal/traffic charge in court. Your lawyer should advise you have to take necessary preemptive steps to assure the court and show that you as a defendant will do whatever it takes to get your license back. If the originating suspension was a drug or alcohol related offense while driving, the court is going to want to be assured that that behavior activity is not continuing. The bottom line is that there are ways of fixing these scenarios but your lawyer must be very knowledgeable as far as how to do same.

Lets get smart and fixed this solvable problem!

James E Crawford jr. Esq.

443.709.9999 him