By Lee J. Eidelberg, Esquire
Maryland is a member of the “Driver’s License Compact” which, with other member States, promotes compliance with driving regulations and equality in one’s eligibility either to obtain a license or continue driving. Compact members pursue this goal by reporting each conviction of a person from another party state to the licensing authority of a driver’s “home state” – the state which issued the license and has the power to suspend or revoke the license use.
Often, clients inquire: “If I pay the speeding ticket I received out-of-state (to avoid the time and inconvenience of returning to the out-of-state jurisdiction to stand trial) will the points for that speeding violation transfer to my Maryland record?” In response, the reader should be aware that pursuant to Sec. 16-701 of the Transportation Article, Maryland, for purposes of suspending, revoking, or limiting one’s license to operate a motor vehicle, shall give the same effect to the conduct reported … as it would if such conduct had occurred in the home state [Maryland]. Points, however, will transfer from an out-of-state Compact member only in cases of convictions for manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle, driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a narcotic drug, or under the influence of any other drug when results in unsafe driving; any felony in which the use of a vehicle was is used; and failure to stop and render aid in the event of an accident resulting in death or personal injury.
Nonetheless, as to any other conviction, reported under the Compact – such as the more common speeding violation, the licensing authority of the home state [Maryland] shall record the conviction on the individual’s driver’s license but may not assess points for the conviction. Accordingly, one must first assess whether an out-of-state traffic offense occurred in a Compact state and then determine if the subject offense falls outside those more serious and enumerated offenses, the conviction for which will result in the transfer of points to one’s Maryland driving record. Although in most instances of non-serious traffic violations, points will not transfer, the reader should be aware that the offense itself will be reported and be reflected on one’s driving record. Moreover, driving records are available via computer access to traffic court judges. Therefore, should a Maryland driver appear in court on an unrelated traffic offense and be queried about past infractions, candor should be exercised not only about existing points on one’s driving record but out-of-state infractions as well.
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