How Many Points Will You Get?
When you get a ticket in Maryland, most people fear the points on their license more than the fine that comes with the ticket.
How does the points system work? Maryland traffic violation are tracked with points. You are assessed points for some traffic violations if you are convicted or do not contest the charges by paying just paying the fine.
Insurance companies only look back so many years in assessing points. But moving violation points remain on you permanent driving record.Why Points Matter So Much
Points matter for two reasons. First, your insurance rates rise with the number of points that you have. The more serious the violation, the more points you can expect. But do not assume the insurance companies are counting points in the same way that Maryland does. Our state puts on point values based on our desire to discourage certain behaviors. Insurance companies are focused only on those offenses that most increase the risk of loss from an actuarial perspective.
Second, high point totals in a two year period have consequences. If you get over 5 points but less than 8, you will be required to take traffic school educational courses that will pretty much consist of a series of lectures explaining -- correctly, by the way -- that unsafe driving can get you and everyone else killed.
If you get over 8 points, your Maryland license will be suspended. If you get to 12 points, you get the Maryland driver's license version of the death penalty. Your license will be taken away completely. You can reapply at some point. But you have to apply for a new license.
Below are a list of violations and the number of points that can be assessed for that violation. You can always go to court and contest these charges. Often, it makes sense in these cases to hire a Maryland criminal defense lawyer. Should you call us? NO! No offense! Our law firm handles exclusively personal injury cases, primarily involving motor vehicle crashes. We bring claims against people who break traffic laws and cause accidents. We do not defend them.Violations That Involve No Points on Your Maryland License
Before we start looking at the violations that lead to points, let's begin with those that do not. We have put the fine that you can get, assuming you have not caused an accident, in parenthesis for each of these.
- TR 21-1112(d)(2): The cell phone law. Driving with a handheld cell phone might get people killed, but it will not lead to you getting points on our license. A driver using hands to use a handheld telephone while a motor vehicle is in motion. (1st offense: $83.00; 2nd offense: $140.00; 3rd offense: $160.00)
- TR 21-1004.1 (a): Endangering health, safety, welfare of a cat or dog by leaving the animal unattended in a vehicle ($70.00). Most animal lovers in our office would argue this should be a felony. So while you might face a resentment from people (including us), you will not get points for this offense.
- TR 21-1001 (c): Stopping vehicle on the highway, with less than 200 feet visibility ($70.00).
- TR 21-1003 (i): Stopping, standing, or parking vehicle in highway tunnel ($70.00).
- TR 21-205 (c): Obstruction of highway control (device, sign, or signal) ($140.00).
- TR 16-105 (b2): Holder of learner’s permit driving with an unauthorized person occupying front seat. ($140.00). These new laws we have been passing to keep kids from partying together have, like this one, relatively large fines. But they often lack the teeth of accessing points.
- TR 16-112 (b): Failure of individual driving on highway to have license with him.($50.00). This may go by the wayside soon when we have digital driver's licenses.
- TR 16-112 (e): Vehicle driver giving a false and fictitious name to uniformed police ($290.00). Big fine but, surprisingly, no points.
- TR 14-108 (a): Fraudulent possession of vehicle (ownership reg plate, card, title certificate, ID plates) ($290.00). Maybe a big crime. But no points. Why? The focus is on moving violations, not severity of the crime itself.
- TR 13-401 (h): Driving vehicle on highway with suspended registration ($150.00).
- TR 13-401 (j): Driving vehicle on highway with revoked registration ($290.00).
- TR 21-103(a): Willfully disobeying order/direction/summons of a police officer. Seems like it would be more, right? But just one mark. Like many of these, the points go higher if an accident is involved. For this offense, the points go from 1 to 3.
- TR 21 -107(c): Ignoring direction of school crossing guard. The crossing guard has more power out there than you think as many disrespectful Marylanders have found out.
- TR 21-201(a)(1): Failure to obey instructions of properly placed traffic control device.
- TR 21-202(c), (e), (k): Failure to yield right-of-way to favored vehicle
- TR 21-204(b-d) and (f): Failure to obey a flashing traffic signal
- TR 21-303 (b-e): Failure to permit vehicle to pass by speeding up or some other action or improper passing
- TR 21-304 (b-c): Passing on the right when not permitted or going off the roadway to pass. The classic "accident ahead" traffic offense.
- TR 21-305: Driving to the left of center of road where prohibited
- TR 21-307(b-d): Driving to the left in a no-passing zone or taking an unsafe left turn in that zone
- TR 21-308(a): Failure to drive in a designated direction on posted roadway
- TR 21-310(a): Tailgating law: driving too closely
- TR 21-312 (a-b): Unauthorized entering or exiting highway
- TR 21-401.1: Failure to yield right-of-way at intersection
- TR 21-402 (a-b): Failure to yield right-of-way when making a left-hand turn or U-turn
- TR 21-405(e): Failure to do what is necessary to make way or make safe passage for an emergency vehicle
- TR 21-502-504: Failure to defer to a pedestrian in crosswalk, walking across an adjacent roadway, etc. Some of these are also zero point violations.
- TR 21-1124.1: Text messaging while driving. A new law that is pretty hard to prove. But you do get a point now if they catch you. Texting is the kind of offense where you are most likely to get caught while killing someone because that is when get get a comprehensive investigation.
- TR 21-801(a): The catch-all. Driving at a speed not reasonable or prudent. You can be driving the speed limit and still get ticketed for this. Why? Fog, snow and other conditions necessitate a different speed.
- TR 21-801-803: Driving between 1-9 miles over the posted speed.
- TR 21-804: Driving below minimum posted speed limit
- TR 21-804(c): Driving limited speed vehicle on prohibited highway
- TR 21-901: Aggressive, negligent and reckless driving all bundled together.
- TR 21-903(c). Driving a motor vehicle on the highway while consuming an alcoholic beverage in passenger area of car. Comes with hefty $530 fine.
- TR 21-1102: Failure to back up safely
- TR 21-202: Series of failure to stop at red traffic signal offenses, most notable turning or proceeding without stopping. A few one and zero point violations are also included under this umbrella. But most are two points.
- TR 21-209: Related failure to stop for red light
- 21-405(d): Passing an emergency vehicle with its lights on
- TR 801.1: Exceeding the posted speed limit between 10-19 miles per hour
Most three point violations in Maryland are for offenses that would have been one point violations, but the infraction led to a motor vehicle crash. Here are a few more:
- TR 21-706: Failing to stop for a school vehicle with activated alternately flashing red lights. A violation also comes with a $570 fine that should probably be higher since you could get a child killed by doing this.
- TR 16-303 (h-i): Driving on a suspended license or failure to appear at trial or pay the penalty.
- TR 10-105: Failure to report a motor vehicle accident that the law requires to be reported
- TR 16-104: Diving a motor vehicle (or moped or motor scooter) on highway without a license
- TR 16-305: Knowingly allowing an unlicensed driver to drive your vehicle
- TR 17-107: Driving an uninsured vehicle or letting someone drive your vehicle that you know to be uninsured
- TR-21-803: Going more than 30 miles over the speed limit
- TR 21–901: Going 85 mph-104 mph in 65 mph zone
- TR 21-1116: Drag racing
- TR 901.1(a) Reckless driving vehicle in wanton and willful disregard for safety of personal and property
- 8 Points Traffic Violations
- TR 21-902 (b)(1) to (b)(2), (c)(1) and (c)(3): Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- TR 902.1. Driving within 12 hours after a drunk driving arrest. This one surprises some people but apparently this law is made pretty clear to you when you are arrested
- Turning off lights of a vehicle to avoid identification
- Failing to stop after accident resulting in damage to attended vehicle or property
- Failing to stop after accident resulting in damage to unattended vehicle or property
- TR 14-102: Vehicle theft
- TR 16-310 Driver's license fraud
- TR 16-303: Driving on suspended or revoked license
- TR 21-902: Driving under the influence of alcohol
Again, this is a partial list of the most common offenses. You can get the full list of violations and points here.Our Law Firm Handles Only Personal Injury Cases
Our law firm seeks to be the premier educator in Maryland on issues related to motor vehicle law and safety. But we provide this for information purposes. The law can change or this information could just be wrong. The take home message? Do not rely on it without looking at the original sources cited.
Keep in mind we handle only serious injury negligence claims. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by someone else's mistake, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation. But we do not handle criminal or motor vehicle traffic citation cases. If you are looking for a referral to the best Maryland criminal lawyers, email Ron Miller at ronmiller at millerandzois.com and he will be happy to give you some names to choose from to help you pick the right attorney for you.