In Maryland there are a number of reasons why you may have your license suspended or revoked. It can be anything from forgetting to attend a driver improvement program, failing to pay a speeding ticket and not showing up for court, getting to many speeding tickets to being convicted of DUI.
Regardless of why your license was suspended if you are caught driving you will likely be charged with an offense that could result in incarceration.
If you are arrested for driving with a suspended license, there are several different charges the state can file against you. Most are surprised to learn that a traffic offense can result in jail time – but it can! These charges are serious and you need to know what you are facing.
The two most common charges are typically referred to as the DWS (C) and DWS (H) citations.
Driving While Suspended (C)
DWS (C) carries a maximum penalty of 1 year of incarceration and 12 points on your license. For a second or subsequent offense, this penalty can be enhanced to a maximum 2 years of incarceration.
This form of violation generally involves a point-based suspension, failure to pay child support or a suspension due to an alcohol offense. This is the more serious of the two charges, and can have severe implications on both your freedom and your ability to drive.
Driving While Suspended (H)
DWS (H) used to carry a maximum of 60 days of incarceration, and 3 points on your license. Thankfully the Justice Reinvestment Act has reduced this from a jail-based offense to a $500 fine.
However, unlike most traffic citations, this is still a must-appear offense (which means that you cannot pre-pay, and must still appear in court). This form of violation generally involves a failure to pay a traffic ticket or failure to appear in court. While not as serious as the “C” violation, this can still put damaging points on your license.
What Will be the Outcome of My Case?
This will largely depend on your prior traffic record and criminal history.
With an experienced attorney, a first-time offender will often receive the benefit of the Stet docket or a Probation Before Judgment. These are favorable outcomes that prevent points from accumulating on your license, and keep your record clean.
However, if this is not your first offense, the risk of incarceration increases drastically with each additional violation. It becomes even more imperative to consult with an experienced attorney who knows your local prosecutors and judges. This is critical to protecting your license and your freedom.
While these maximum penalties are usually reserved for repeat offenders these charges are to be taken seriously. If you were driving while suspended or revoked you have to be careful how you explain how this happened to the Judge. It is easy to cross the line from explaining something to sounding like you are making an excuse.
You don’t want to end up in jail for a couple of days because you said something the wrong way.
Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer?
Yes! Driving while suspended is no joke in Maryland. Hire a lawyer.
If someone has a speeding ticket we don’t have a problem advising them it may not pay to hire a lawyer.
During an initial consult (which is free) we can explain the likely outcomes of going to court and what our fee would be. Then they can decide for themselves if it is worth the cost.
So when it comes to a charge that involves the possibility of jail time we don’t feel guilty telling them they really need to hire us. Because you do.
Want to know more? Discover what you need to know about Maryland criminal defense cases. Click here to see our Free Legal Consumer Guide to Criminal Law in Maryland and get answers to your questions today. Know your options. Be informed. Protect yourself.
Need a criminal defense attorney? Please contact us for a consultation today if you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Waldorf and Lexington Park for your criminal charge.
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