Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to many common questions. Please choose from the categories listed below. Contact me if you still have further questions.

General Attorney Questions

Is there an initial cost to meet with you?

Legal fees vary for different types of cases. Workers’ compensation fees for example are set by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Workers’ Compensation fees are based on a percentage of any permanent injury award. If there is no permanent injury award there is no fee. If a hearing is required to get you paid for your lost time from work, there may be a fee allowed of ten percent of any back benefits ordered.

In auto accident and personal injury claims the fee is one third of whatever is recovered. The fee is based upon the gross recovery. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. In addition you may be responsible for any expenses incurred on your behalf.

In criminal cases the fees can vary. Each case is different and the amount of work involved can vary substantially. Criminal fees will be quoted after the initial free consultation.

If you take my case, how is your fee determined?

Legal fees vary for different types of cases. Workers’ compensation fees for example are set by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Workers’ Compensation fees are based on a percentage of any permanent injury award. If there is no permanent injury award there is no fee. If a hearing is required to get you paid for your lost time from work, there may be a fee allowed of ten percent of any back benefits ordered.

In auto accident and personal injury claims the fee is one third of whatever is recovered. The fee is based upon the gross recovery. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. In addition you may be responsible for any expenses incurred on your behalf.

In criminal cases the fees can vary. Each case is different and the amount of work involved can vary substantially. Criminal fees will be quoted after the initial free consultation.

What are “legal expenses” and who pays these?

Legal expenses include the costs of obtaining police reports, as well as doctor and hospital bills and reports. In addition when cases are in litigation legal expenses include the filing fee for the court, court reporter charge for a deposition, doctor charges for testimony, video costs for video deposition of experts, expert fees for testimony and finally the costs of any private investigator or other expert needed in order to prove your case.

Some law firms charge for long distance telephone, calls, photocopies and research time, but I do not. The client is normally only responsible for the costs if we recover money in your accident or workers’ compensation case. If there is no recovery then the client usually will not be responsible for those costs unless we agree otherwise.

Workers’ Compensation Questions

What are the Workers’ Compensation benefits?

MEDICAL CARE
This includes all care and medical treatment that is reasonable related to the injury. All medical exams, prescriptions and laboratories that the doctor or hospital has requested will be covered.

LOST WAGES
If you are unable to work due to injuries you have right to a percentage of your wages. In the majority of the cases this percentage is 2/3 of your average (2/3) of your average weekly wages.

PERMANENT DISABILITY
If you suffer permanent disability due to the injury sustained at work, you may have compensation for your permanent disability.

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
If you can not return to your regular job due to your injuries, you may possibly qualify for job placement and/or retraining for a new job. This may be possible in some cases.

Do I need an attorney?

Where there is no technical legal requirement that you have an attorney, the rocess of obtaining benefits can be complicated and confusing. At David M. Lutz, we have the experience, resources, and know-how to get you the benefits you deserve.

How much is it going to cost me to hire an attorney for my Workers’ Compensation case?

The attorney’s fee is predetermined by the Worker’s Compensation Commission and are set on a contingency basis. If we do not win your case, you don’t have to pay us.

Am I eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits?

Beginning with your first day at work, Workers’ Compensation Benefits may be available to you if you suffered either:
• An injury, while working (ex: strains, cuts, burns)
• An occupational disease (ex: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, hearing loss, allergies)

Do I have to file a Workers’ Compensation claim?

Informing your employer of your injury does not protect your rights. You should file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within 60 days of your injury, however in most cases, you have a maximum of 2 years to file a claim. Your attorney will help you complete the paperwork.

What if my employer challenges my claim?

A hearing will be held, within 90 days, to determine if you have a valid claim under the law.

What if I do not have a valid social security number?

Your worker’s compensation claim can be filed even if you do not have a social security number.

What if my employer does not have Workers’ Compensation insurance?

All employees are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance even if your employer does not have insurance. The Uninsured Employers Fund was created to help injured workers in this situation.

I only speak a foreign language. Who will pay for an interpreter at a hearing?

The Workers’ Compensation Commission will provide, free of charge, an interpreter at any hearings that you many need to attend. Additionally, at David M. Lutz, we have Spanish speaking staff to assist you throughout your claim process.

Automobile Accident / Personal Injury Questions

What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages?

In some states, not buckling up can negate or reduce any potential compensation for damages, on the basis that people suffer more severe and expensive injuries when they’re not wearing seat belts. In other states, this is not the rule. In Maryland for example, the primary seat belt law went into effect October 1, 1997 and the non-use of a seat belt is NOT admissible evidence in injury cases filed before that date, and IS admissible evidence in cases filed after that date.

What determines who is responsible in an automobile accident?

Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. And for vehicle accidents, there is a set of official written rules telling people how they are supposed to drive and providing guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules of the road are the traffic laws everyone must learn to pass the driver’s license test. Complete rules are contained in each state’s Vehicle Code, and they apply not only to automobiles but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Should I release my medical records to the driver’s insurance adjuster?

No. Medical record releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster’s hands, it could potentially hurt your case.

What happens if the cause of the automobile accident is not clear?

It is sometimes difficult to say that one particular act caused an accident. If you can show that the other driver made several minor driving errors or committed several minor traffic violations, then you can argue that the combination of those actions caused the accident. Almost half the states have some form of no-fault auto insurance, also called personal injury protection.

If I file a personal injury claim, do I have to go to court?

If another driver’s insurance company agrees to pay what your attorney believes your case is worth, and you wish to settle for that amount, then your case will not go to court. This is what happens in most situations. Some cases do require a formal trial proceeding, however, in either situation, hiring a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases is critical.

If I don’t feel injured after an automobile accident, should I see a doctor?

Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. It is not recommended that you settle claims from an accident until a doctor has seen you and advised you about the extent of your injuries.

What if I believe the accident was partly my fault?

You are probably not in the best position to assess how or why the accident happened. Defective equipment in your vehicle, a malfunctioning traffic signal, or another driver’s intoxication are among many possible causes of an accident, which your attorney can investigate and evaluate. Accepting blame and apologizing to another driver may be used as evidence against you at trial. Leave it to a judge or jury to decide who is at fault.

Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I might have said at the time of the accident?

It’s very common for people to say things at the time of an incident that they later realize were inaccurate. Sometimes, a witness may misstate what you said about how the incident took place. You might have a hard time explaining how it is that you now remember things differently than you did at the time of the incident, but if you consult with an attorney, he or she will have experience handling such a situation, and can help find support for your side of the story.

I was in a car accident and the air bags in my car didn’t deploy. Do I have a case against the car manufacturer?

That depends, as there are several factors that dictate whether an air bag will deploy in a collision. 65 to 90 percent of vehicles on the road in the U.S. have some degree of electronic data recorder (EDR). Contents of your EDR should be downloaded and preserved. If the circumstances of your accident were such that the airbags should have deployed, you very well may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

What is PIP?

PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection and is insurance coverage which is paid by the insurance company for the vehicle that you were in at the time of the accident or if you were a pedestrian the vehicle that may have struck you. PIP pays medical expenses and/or lost wages up to $2,500.00 unless in your policy PIP benefits exceed $2,500.00. These benefits are paid no matter who is at fault, as long as your policy carries the coverage. If your medical expenses or lost wages exceeds $2,500.00 PIP will not pay anything over the $2,500.00 limit.

PIP is typically paid directly to the medical provider, so that if the medical expenses exceed $2,500.00 and are paid to the doctor, then there will be no PIP benefits available for lost wages. If you need to collect your lost wages immediately, then inform your Baltimore auto accident attorney that you would like the PIP benefits to be used for your lost wages first, instead of paying the doctors first.

What is a PIP waiver?

A PIP waiver occurs when the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident does not have PIP coverage. A PIP waiver can apply even though the vehicle you were in has PIP coverage if you live in a household where anyone in that household that you are related to has a vehicle and has waived PIP coverage, then it is waived for anyone in the household when they are involved in an accident even though that vehicle was not involved in the accident.

For instance, if you are involved in an accident in your friends vehicle that has PIP coverage, but you own a vehicle and you have waived PIP under that particular policy or if you live with your parents and they have waived PIP coverage under their policy, then you would not be able to make a PIP claim under the policy for the vehicle involved in the accident, even though that vehicle had PIP coverage. Anyone else who was in the vehicle at the time of the accident who had not waived PIP coverage anywhere else would be able to make a claim for PIP.

How do I get my vehicle repaired?

If you are involved in an accident and the accident was not your fault, then you may get your vehicle repairs paid for either by the insurance company for the person who caused the particular accident or you may be able to get the vehicle repairs paid for under your own insurance policy. If the person who caused the accident, admits fault quickly then it is always best to get the vehicle fixed under their insurance policy.

Once the vehicle is in the shop to be repaired, normally the insurance company will authorize a rental car until the car is fixed. If the person at fault does not admit that they are at fault quickly, then you can get the vehicle fixed under your collision coverage of your policy, subject to a deductible. If your insurance company pays under the collision portion of your policy they will then attempt to get their money back from the person at fault in the accident and will also get you back your deductible.

Will my insurance company rates go up if I collect under the collision portion or PIP portion of my policy?

If your property damage is fixed under the collision portion of your own policy, then your insurance company may raise your rate or may cancel you, unless they are able to get their money back from the person who was at fault in this particular accident. The insurance company cannot cancel you or raise your rates if you collect PIP benefits no matter who is at fault.

What if the person who causes the accident does not have insurance?

If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance, then you can collect under the uninsured motorist portion of your policy. Under the uninsured motorist portion of your policy, your insurance company will step into the shoes of the person who was at fault as if they had insurance coverage with your insurance company and will pay everything that you are entitled to receive through the uninsured motorist portion as if they insured the person who was at fault. When benefits are claimed under the uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company cannot cancel you or surcharge you or raise your rates.

What benefits can I collect in a motor vehicle accident?

There are many different benefits that you can collect in a motor vehicle accident. The first benefit you can collect is personal injury protection benefits which will pay medical expenses and lost wages up to $2,500.00. Personal injury protection benefits are paid under the insurance policy of the vehicle that you were in.

In addition you can collect for the damage to your car, as well as for the cost of a rental car. Finally, you can collect from the person that is at fault medical expenses for the past, present and future, lost wages for the past, present and future, an additional amount for pain and suffering, and damages for loss of consortium which means any loss to your marriage. These benefits are in addition to any benefits paid by your personal injury protection carrier. In effect you can be paid twice for medical expenses and lost wages.

How long does it take to settle an automobile accident claim?

Times vary on how long it takes to settle an automobile accident claim, although it can be divided into two categories. Category one would be cases that are quickly accepted by the insurance company and typically these cases involve the client going to the doctor and completing their treatment. Then usually thirty to forty-five days after the client has completed the treatment the case can be settled.

Category two are the cases that cannot be settled. In category two there are also two types of cases. Cases that are small and worth less than $10,000.00 usually involve filing suit in the District Court. These cases can take anywhere between three to six months after your treatment is completed. Cases that have to be filed in the Circuit Court which are typically worth more than $10,000.00 usually take anywhere from one to three years.

What is my case worth?

In evaluating a claim there are many factors that the auto accident attorney looks at in order to evaluate a claim. Included in those factors are the type of injuries, including whether there are fractures or any other physical signs of injury versus complaints with no visible signs of injury, whether there is a permanent injury, who the client is and what kind of witness the client makes, where the accident happened since some counties are known to give more generous verdicts than others, whether there was significant damage to the vehicles involved since judges and juries are more likely to believe injuries in serious looking accidents than they are in minor property damage cases, who the attorney is, what judge you have, how long the treatment lasted, who the doctors were that performed the treatment, whether there were any objective findings in the x-rays or MRI’s that would point to proof of injuries, whether there is any scarring and/or bruising, the age and sex of the client, whether the client has had any other accidents as the courts look very closely at cases where a client has filed more than one claim and tend to give less credence to people who have filed many claims, is the liability (i.e.) fault clear or disputed, as well as many other factors.

Baltimore auto accident attorneys who have been practicing for a long period of time and have tried many cases know how to give weight to each one of these factors. You can see that each case is different and there is no way for a Baltimore auto accident attorney to tell you the first day of an accident what the case is worth and the attorneys opinion of the value of the case can change as more information is gathered over a period of time. Any lawyer who promises you that he knows the value of your case based upon your initial interview, will most likely not be able to deliver on any promise he makes.

What if I cannot afford a lawyer to represent me for an automobile accident?

The attorney fee in an automobile accident is based on a percentage of any recovery and there is no requirement that any costs be paid up front. If the case is lost, then there will be no fee charged to the client.

DUI / DWI Questions

What happens when I am stopped by a police officer for driving under the influence (DUI)?

In a typical situation a police officer pulls a vehicle over for erratic driving behavior or for violating a traffic law such as running a red light, speeding or failure to attach a front tag.

At this point you have to make a decision. If you have had two drinks or less you may want to cooperate. If you have had more than two drinks you will probably be arrested for DUI whether you cooperate or not, so why help the State convict you.

Once the police officer approaches the car, the police officer may smell an odor of alcohol. As the police officer approaches your vehicle he begins to make observations as to your sobriety and starts asking some questions to aid in determining if you qualify as a DUI or not.

You are under no obligation to answer any of the questions the police officer asks regarding any drinking that you had done that evening. The only information you have to provide to the police officer is your license and registration and you owe the police officer no other obligation to answer any of the other questions.

Once the police officer smells an odor of alcohol on your breath, the police officer will typically ask you to exit the car and ask you to do field sobriety tests. In Maryland there are three standard field sobriety tests, including horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn test and finally the one leg stand test. There is no requirement that you do any of the field sobriety tests, however, I cannot remember the last time someone has refused unless they were too intoxicated to even perform the test. If you refuse to do the field sobriety tests, you will probably be arrested anyway, but it will make the State’s Attorneys job more difficult to prove that you were in fact driving while intoxicated when you go to court.

If you take the field sobriety test and fail them, then the police officer will place you under arrest for driving under the influence and then taken back to police station where you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. Under Maryland Law if you do not take the breathalyzer test then your drivers license may be suspended, however, the fact that you did not take the breathalyzer test is not admissible in the traffic court proceeding at the District Court level. If you take the breathalyzer test and fail it, meaning you getting a .07 or higher then there is a presumption that you were driving under the influence (DUI), when the case goes to a court hearing. If you have had one or two drinks you probably will pass the breathalyzer test and you should go ahead and take the breathalyzer test. If you have had more than two drinks, then you will need to weigh what is more important to you. If you do not take the breathalyzer test, then your license will probably be suspended by the Motor Vehicle Administration.

However, if you take the breathalyzer test and fail the State’s case against you for DWI will be much easier to prove. If you are on a federal highway, like the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or federal property you do not have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test. After you take the breathalyzer test and blow a .07 or higher, then you will be taken before a court Commissioner who will then set a bail and release you on your own recognizance. If you cannot pay the bail, then you have a right to a bail review on the next available court date, at which time a District Court Judge will review your bail status and set a new bail. You have the right to have an attorney at the bail review and you also have the right to ask for an attorney before you decide to take the breathalyzer test. Once you are released from jail, your case will be scheduled for trial sometime in the next three to six months. Your trial will start out at the District Court level, unless you want a jury trial, then your case will be removed to the Circuit Court.

What typically happens when you go to traffic court in a DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving case?

If it is your first offense, the best disposition in your particular case, other than a not guilty would be a probation before judgment. If you are found guilty in a driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired case you will automatically receive either 8 or 12 points from the Motor Vehicle Administration which could result in suspension or revocation of your drivers license.

If you receive a probation before judgment and the court strikes the finding of guilty and places you on probation, then you do not receive any points from the Motor Vehicle Administration because it is not a guilty finding.

Often, in a first offense, unless there are aggravating circumstances like an accident, the defendant can receive a probation before judgment and will receive a fine and will have to attend alcohol classes and may have to attend AA meetings. A typical probation can last anywhere from six months to two years.

For a second DWI or more, then the State’s Attorney usually asks for a period of incarceration, as well as larger fines and longer periods of alcohol programs. It is extremely important to have an attorney. An attorney will be able to explore any possible defense in order to avoid conviction in the first place and then if convicted the attorney can aid you in avoiding the harshest penalties.

Criminal Defense Questions

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is typically a crime that is tried in the District Court of Maryland which is Maryland’s lowest criminal court. Jail time is the exception rather than the rule in the District Court. Fines tend to be lower than what can be ordered in the Circuit Court.

What is a felony?

There are common law felonies including murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and arson. In addition Maryland Law has added several statutory felonies and these felonies and are typically crimes that involve longer jail terms and higher fines.

What typically happens when someone is charged with a misdemeanor?

When a person is charged with a misdemeanor they will either be arrested by the police or will receive a summons to appear in court without being arrested. If they are arrested they will be taken to jail and will see a District Court Commissioner within twenty-four hours. The Commissioner will then set a bail.

If the defendant is unable to pay the bail set by the District Court Commissioner, then on the very next court day, the defendant will have the right to see a Judge for a bail review. At the bail review hearing, the defendant has the right to have a criminal attorney appear on their behalf to argue to the court why the bail should be lower or they should be released on their own recognizance.

Baltimore Criminal Attorneys are essential during this process in order to present the accused in the best light and to explain to the court that the person has strong ties to the community and is not a flight danger and they are not a danger to the community. After the bail review, the defendant has a right to either pay the amount of the bail or obtain a bail bondsman to post the bail. The very next proceeding will be the court date.

At the court date the defendant is expected to appear with their criminal attorney and present their defense. The courts are very hesitant to postpone cases in order to allow the defendant to get a criminal attorney.

A Baltimore criminal attorney can be extremely helpful in presenting any defenses, including constitutional arguments and procedural defenses. Even if you intend to plead guilty a criminal attorney can be extremely helpful in outlining for the court why the defendant is entitled to leniency from the court. Baltimore Criminal attorneys can be extremely helpful in keeping jail time and fines to a minimum.

What is the process if I am charged with a felony?

If you are charged with a felony in the State of Maryland the initial process includes an arrest and bail to be set by the Commissioner. If you are unable to make the bail set by the Commissioner you are entitled to have a bail review on the next court date at which time you should have a Baltimore criminal attorney.

At the bail review hearing, the defendant has the right to have a criminal attorney appear on their behalf to argue to the court why the bail should be lower or they should be released on their own recognizance. Criminal attorneys are essential during this process in order to present the accused person in the best light and to explain to the court that the person has strong ties to the community, is not a flight risk and that they are not a danger to the community. After the bail review, the very next hearing will be the preliminary hearing unless you are indicted by a Grand Jury.

Whenever you are charged with a felony you are entitled to an independent review of the case by either a Grand Jury or a District Court Judge. If the State presents the case to a grand jury in a secret proceeding and the Grand Jury finds sufficient facts to go forward then the Grand Jury will indict you and you will not be entitled to a preliminary hearing. If the State’s Attorney decides not to take the case before a Grand Jury then you are entitled to preliminary hearing in front of a district court judge Preliminary hearings for felonies are typically held in the District Court.

At a preliminary hearing the State has the burden to prove by the preponderance of the evidence, meaning to prove more likely than not that a crime was committed and that more likely than not that the defendant committed the crime. This is a very low standard of proof. At the preliminary hearing the defendant has no right to present any witnesses. A criminal attorney can be helpful at the preliminary hearing in order to ask questions of the State’s witnesses so that additional information can be obtained in order to prepare for trial in the Circuit Court.

Occasionally at preliminary hearings some or all of the charges may be dismissed because the State does not have sufficient information to go forward with the case at that time. Even if the State is prepared and can prove their case at the preliminary hearing defense counsel can use the preliminary hearing in order to gather as much information as possible so that they will know what evidence, if any the State has before the next trial date.

Typically, the police report, statements by any of the witnesses or the defendant and any other police investigations can be obtained at the preliminary hearing. If the Court determines at the preliminary hearing that there is enough facts on the State’s behalf to go forward, then the case will be scheduled in the Circuit Court for an arraignment. An arraignment is the defendant’s first hearing in the Circuit Court at which time the defendant is told what the charges are against him and will advise him if he doesn’t already have an attorney that he needs to get an attorney for the next trial date.

Also, at the arraignment a trial date is scheduled and if a plea bargain can be worked out a plea can be done at the arraignment stage. If no plea bargain is worked out, then after an arraignment the case is scheduled for trial. A preliminary hearing is typically thirty days after the arrest and then an arraignment is approximately six weeks after the preliminary hearing. The trial date is usually scheduled anywhere from three to six months after the arraignment date.

How should I dress for court?

A person that is charged with a crime should dress like they are going to a religious ceremony or to a wedding. Appropriate dress for a man should include a suit and tie or dress pants and a button shirt and should never include shorts or tee shirts. Appropriate dress for a woman should include either a dress, skirt and blouse or dress pants and a blouse. Judge’s get extremely angry when people show up for court in inappropriate clothing and may hold this against the defendant.

Why does it matter what lawyer I obtain for my criminal case?

All lawyers, when they graduate from law school, have taken courses in criminal law and criminal procedure. However, once you graduate law school and practice criminal law, there are many new things that lawyers learn over the years which can benefit their client.

Law schools teach you the basics, but it takes years of research and practice to really know the criminal court system. It is extremely important for lawyers to be familiar with each Judge and what each Judge likes and dislikes. Some Judges are more willing to listen to all of the evidence and treat the defendants fairly then others.

Some Judges give out longer sentences than other Judges. Some Judges do not like certain kinds of cases and are more lenient on other cases. It is extremely important for your lawyer to know each Judge. Judges vary from county to county and it is important that your lawyer practices in the county in which your case is being scheduled in.

The practice of law is just that, it takes many years of practice before you learn all of the tricks of the trade.

Does everyone go to jail who has committed a crime?

If you have an experienced criminal attorney most defendants should be able to avoid jail, even if guilty except for the most serious offenses. Courts are always willing to listen to attorneys suggestions for alternate sentencing other than jail, including fines, community service, counseling programs, etc. As part of the criminal justice system, courts are used to prevent criminal behavior from happening again, as well as to punish when appropriate.

Not all situations require punishment.

Driver’s License Questions

Is an out of state driver’s license valid in the State of Maryland?

Driver’s licenses from other States are recognized in the State of Maryland; however, once you have established a residence in the Maryland for more than thirty days you have an obligation to get a Maryland driver’s license. If you have a suspended out-of-state license, you cannot usually acquire a Maryland driver’s license. If your out of State license becomes suspended at any time, the State of Maryland will then suspend your new Maryland drivers’ license.

Can I use my driver’s license in a foreign country and can a person from a foreign country use his driver’s license in the State of Maryland?

Most countries, including the United States, have signed an international agreement allowing visitors from other countries to use their own licenses in other countries, however prior to entering another country you should contact the Consulate or Embassy office for that country to find out whether your license will be valid.

To determine whether your foreign driver’s license is valid in the State of Maryland, you can call the U.S. State Department or visit their web site at www.travel.state.gov. If you are traveling to a foreign country or traveling to the United States from a foreign country you need to receive what is called an international driver’s permit, which is issued by the American Automobile Association.

This international driving permit translates your driver’s license into ten languages and while this permit will not meet the requirements of a regular license, it does translate the important information that appears on your driver’s license. Although many countries do not recognize United States driver’s licenses, most countries will accept an international driving permit. International driving permits are honored in more than 150 countries outside the United States and are not intended to replace a valid United States license and should only be used as a supplement to a valid license.

International driving permits are not valid in an individual country or residence. Before departure you can pick up one from an automobile association authorized by the United States. The State Department of the United States has designated the American Automobile Association the only authorized distributor of international driving permits in the United States. International drivers’ licenses cannot be purchased on the internet.

An international drivers license cannot be used if your Maryland drivers license has been suspended or revoked or in an attempt to avoid taking drivers education classes. International drivers’ licenses are simply intended to be used as a translation of a driver’s license for use when traveling outside the United States.

International law is very clear about using an international permit in lieu of a driver’s license.

If you intend to stay in a country for more than thirty days or in the State of Maryland for more then thirty days, you should contact the Consulate Office to see whether you need to apply for a valid Maryland driver’s license.

If I get a ticket in another state will that affect my Maryland drivers’ license?

Forty-eight states belong to an agreement called the drivers’ license compact for non-residences violators’ compact. The only states that don’t belong to this compact are Michigan and Wisconsin. When you get a ticket in one of the forty-eight states that participates in the compact, the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where you received a ticket will transfer that information to the DMV to the state you reside in.

That out-of-state violation then affects your driving record in the state that you live in even though you got the ticket out of state. This is true in all forty-eight of those states. Getting a ticket outside of Maryland will result in the entry appearing on your record but will not lead to points being added to your license. This ultimately affects your insurance rates since the ticket appears, but does not affect the amount of points you have.

Record of your out-of-state ticket will also be available to the court when it is checking your driving record, thus you must disclose the tickets or risk the court thinking you have misrepresented yourself.

What will cause my drivers license to be suspended or revoked?

Each driving offense carries a certain amount of points. In the State of Maryland, receiving eight points from either one or several tickets added together within a two year period causes your license to be suspended; receiving twelve points can cause your license to be revoked. Professional drivers, under the State of Maryland rules, may not have their licenses suspended until they have accrued fourteen points and cannot have the licenses revoked until they have eighteen points.

Before the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend or revoke your driving privileges, you are entitled to have a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Just because you have eight or twelve points doesn’t mean you are automatically suspended or revoked. In fact, there is a high likelihood that your license will either not be suspended or revoked, or that the period of suspension or revocation will be shortened, especially if this is the first time you have accumulated this amount of points. It is extremely important for you to take a lawyer to these hearings, to avoid the suspension or revocation.

If you have an out of state drivers license and plan to apply for a Maryland drivers license in accordance with the drivers license compact, the MVA will request your driving record from the other states and review it for convictions. For most types of convictions the MVA will only record the conviction information itself and will not assess the points, however, if you have been convicted with one of the serious violations identified by the driver compact, the MVA will record the conviction information and the points associated with the violation.

The number of points assessed is equal to the number that would have been assessed if the conviction had occurred in Maryland. Based upon your out of state conviction, the State of Maryland may also take other action including suspending or revoking your Maryland drivers license in accordance with Maryland law. The conviction for which you will receive points and for which you can either be revoked or suspended. Convictions include manslaughter or negligent homicide, driving under the influence, any felony in the commission of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a personal injury automobile accident. While convictions for additional offenses are reported to the State of Maryland, no points will be assessed.

Points shall be assessed against the individual as of the date of violation as follows:

  1. Any moving violation not listed below and not contributing to an accident: 1 point
  2. Following another vehicle too closely: 2 points
  3. Speeding in excess of the posted speed limit by 10 miles an hour or more: 2 points
  4. Driving with an improper class of license: 2 points
  5. Failing to stop for a school vehicle with activated alternately flashing red lights: 3 points
  6. Any violation of § 21-1111 of this article: 2 points
  7. Passing an emergency or police vehicle under the provisions of § 21-405(d) of this article: 2 points
  8. A violation of § 21-511(a) of this article: 2 points
  9. Failure to stop a vehicle for a steady red traffic signal in violation of § 21-202 of this article: 2 points
  10. Any moving violation contributing to an accident: 3 points
  11. Driving after suspension of license under the provisions of § 17-106, § 26-204, § 26-206, or § 27-103 of this article, or under the traffic laws or regulations of another state as described in § 16-303(i) of this title: 3 points
  12. Any violation, except violations committed on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, of § 21-1411 of this article: 3 points
  13. Speeding in excess of the posted speed limit by 30 miles an hour or more: 5 points
  14. Driving while not licensed: 5 points
  15. Failure to report an accident: 5 points
  16. Driving on a learner’s permit unaccompanied: 5 points
  17. Any violation of § 17-107 of this article: 5 points
  18. Participating in a race or speed contest on a highway: 5 points
  19. Any violation of § 16-304 or § 16-305 of this title: 5 points
  20. Any violation of § 22-404.5 of this article: 5 points
  21. Speeding in excess of a posted speed limit of 65 miles an hour by 20 miles an hour or more: 5 points
  22. Aggressive driving in violation of § 21-901.2 of this article: 5 points
  23. Reckless driving: 6 points
  24. Driving while impaired by alcohol or while impaired by a drug, combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol, or driving within 12 hours after arrest under § 21-902.1 of this article: 8 points
  25. Turning off lights of a vehicle to avoid identification: 8 points
  26. Failing to stop after accident resulting in damage to attended vehicle or property: 8 points
  27. Failing to stop after accident resulting in damage to unattended vehicle or property: 8 points
  28. Any violation of § 16-815 or § 16-816 of this title: 8 points
  29. Failing to stop after an accident resulting in bodily injury or death: 12 points
  30. Driving after refusal, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of license except for suspensions of license under the provisions of § 17-106, § 26-204, § 26-206, or § 27-103 of this article, or under the traffic laws or regulations of another state as described in § 16-303(i) of this title: 12 points
  31. Any violation of § 16-301, § 16-302, § 16-804, or § 16-808(a)(1) through (9) of this title: 12 points
  32. Homicide, life threatening injury under § 3-211 of the Criminal Law Article, or assault committed by means of a vehicle: 12 points
  33. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, while under the influence of alcohol per se, or while impaired by an illegally used controlled dangerous substance: 12 points
  34. Any felony involving use of a vehicle: 12 points
  35. Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer: 12 points
  36. The making of a false affidavit or statement under oath, or falsely certifying to the truth of any fact or information to the Administration under the Maryland Vehicle Law or under any law relating to the ownership or operation of motor vehicles: 12 points
  37. Any violation involving an unlawful taking or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle under § 7-105 or § 7-203 of the Criminal Law Article, or § 14-102 of this article: 12 points

If a conviction occurs on multiple charges based on offenses alleged to have been committed at the same time or arising out of circumstances simultaneous in time and place, the Administration:

  1. Shall assess points against the individual convicted only on the charge that has the highest point assessment; and
  2. May not assess points on the remainder of the multiple charges.

When can my Maryland drivers’ license be suspended or revoked?

A driver’s license can be suspended if you receive too many points or tickets, refuse to take a blood alcohol test, fail to appear in court for a traffic ticket or fall behind in your child support payments.

What will happen if I am caught driving while suspended or revoked?

If you are caught driving while your license has been suspended or revoked you will most likely be arrested and face substantial fines and jail time. The maximum fine for driving while suspended can be up to one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. If you are charged with driving while suspended, the first thing you need to do is find out why your license has been suspended so you can cure the problem.

In the event of a suspended license for failure to appear at a court hearing you should immediately ask the court to withdraw the warrant for your failure to appear and should request the court to notify the DMV that your license be reinstated pending a court hearing. Suspension for failure to pay prior tickets should be corrected by paying those tickets and having your license reinstated before you go to court.

Suspension for failure to pay child support, can be dealt with by making arrangements with the child support administration to bring your child support up to date and to allow them to start a wage attachment to keep your payments in check.