Annapolis Unlicensed Driving Lawyer
An individual may not drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on any highway on Maryland unless the individual holds a valid driver’s license. Driving without a license is a misdemeanor, the penalty of which is a fine of not more than $500 and a maximum incarceration of 60 days. It is important if you are charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license to contact an Annapolis unlicensed driving lawyer because such charges have considerable consequences if you are convicted of the offense.
Driving on a Suspended Licenses Penalties
Under Maryland Law, drivers who are found to be operating a vehicle on a suspended license can face serious consequences, including incarceration. Driving on a suspended license can result in one year of incarceration, up to a $1,000 fine, and up to 12 points on the driver’s record.
Those who are caught driving on a suspended license for a second time face up to two years’ incarceration, in addition to the aforementioned penalties. This offense is also likely to result in a substantial increase in insurance rates. The penalties for driving on a revoked license are similar. An individual convicted of such an offense can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, and 12 points on their driver’s record.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a jailable offense and the maximum penalty for such an offense includes potential jail time. Additionally, this offense involves a must-appear citation. As such, any individual charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license must appear in front of a judge at their scheduled court hearing.
Long Term Consequences
A conviction for driving while unlicensed may hinder an individual’s ability to obtain a new license in the future. Furthermore, this type of conviction has associated points added to the individual’s driver’s record, which may result in an additional loss of driving privileges. Such consequences can have a considerable impact on an individual’s personal and professional life and are often associated with economic consequences, such as increased insurance rates.
Related Charges Penalties
Although the penalties are similar for driving while suspended and driving on a revoked license, a conviction for driving with a revoked license will entail a longer loss of driving privileges. Moreover, the consequences of driving on a suspended or revoked license are more severe than those for unlicensed driving. However, an Annapolis unlicensed driving attorney is familiar with each of these charge’s procedures and defenses.
Unlicensed driving with no license in possession occurs when an individual is licensed to drive but lacks proof of this license. This offense is considered an infraction that may be dismissed once the individual can prove they possessed a valid license at the time of the incident.
Prosecution’s Burden of Proof
A prosecutor from the State’s Attorney’s Office will handle the case against any individual charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. They must prove each element of the offense to a judge or jury in order for the charged individual to be convicted. Each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning the state must prove each element to a moral certainty. If a driver can prove they had no knowledge of the suspended or revoked license, the prosecutor may not be able to meet this standard.
Proving such actual or inferred knowledge is the burden of the prosecution. Sometimes, the police will ask and the driver will admit they have a suspended or revoked license. Sometimes, the driver has no license in their possession and the court will infer the person knew their license was suspended based on the fact they were not carrying it at the time.
The most common way for the prosecution to prove a driver had knowledge of their license suspension or revocation is to show the MVA mailed a letter to the driver informing them their license was suspended. Even if the letter was returned due to a bad address, knowledge may still be inferred. A failure to deliver the letter, even if not the fault of the driver, does not necessarily stop a judge from inferring knowledge.
It is extremely unlikely for someone to be sent to jail on a first conviction for driving with a suspended or revoked license. However, a lengthy incarceration period is possible for a repeat offender who continues to drive on a suspended or revoked license.
It is important to note, if an individual’s license was suspended or revoked due to a DUI, or due to the act of leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries or death, such circumstances will likely be considered aggravating factors and increase the penalties the individual faces if convicted. In these cases, an unlicensed driving attorney in Annapolis is extremely important in building a defense for the best possible outcome.
In order to convict an individual of driving with a suspended or revoked license in Annapolis, the state must prove the individual knew or should have known their license was suspended or revoked at the time of the incident. A defense an Annapolis unlicensed driving attorney may use was that the individual was not given notice of their license suspension or revocation.
The driver must have knowledge of their license being suspended or revoked. Such knowledge may be actual knowledge or inferred knowledge. This means the individual does not have to admit to the police they knew about the license suspension. A judge can determine from the circumstances that the individual knew or should have known their license was suspended.
Additionally, the state must prove that the traffic stop that led to the officer’s discovery, that the driver’s license was suspended or revoked. The traffic stop must have been initiated for a valid reason. Thus, a possible defense may be that probable cause did not exist for the traffic stop
Contacting an Attorney
An experienced Annapolis lawyer may be able to present mitigating factors that may reduce the possible penalties or even result in a dismissal of charges. An Annapolis driving while unlicensed lawyer will be able to examine the traffic stop and determine whether the officer had a valid reason to stop the driver in the first place. They can also determine if the stop was conducted in the appropriate manner, and whether any evidence used against the driver in court was obtained the appropriate manner. It is also the lawyer’s job to look for deficiencies in the state’s case and to bring those to the attention of the judge. An Annapolis unlicensed driving lawyer may help to get driving with a suspended or revoked license charge reduced or dropped altogether.