I recently represented a client who quite frankly did not have the best driving record here in Maryland. Through most of his adult life, he had a license that was on again off again suspended, revoked or expired for one reason or another. Client came to me to help represent him with two separate sets of charges related to driving without his license and/or driving while suspended. Typically, when I decide to take on one of these cases I stress to the client the importance of obtaining a valid Maryland license before the scheduled trial date. Unlike many lawyers I know, I offer to do the footwork for my clients in determining what they need to do in order to obtain a valid license. I won’t pay their tickets, or their child support, or take their driver improvement course, but I can help them navigate the often tricky system that is the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Often times, there are also suspensions arising out of out of state issues on the National Driving Registry. I once assisted another client in finding counsel in North Carolina to resolve some outstanding tickets and failure to appear warrants that were tying up her ability to renew her license here in Maryland.
Overall, in Maryland, most courts will have a degree of leniency if you are able to have a valid license by your court date. This by no means indicates that everything will just “go away” but what most prosecutors and judges are looking for regarding disposition and sentencing is much less if you have a valid license than if you don’t. This leniency is quite a bit less if you’re a repeat offender, as is with most situations.
My client mentioned above had quite a storied history with the driving system here in Maryland and had previously done time for these types of charges. An odd scheduling and rescheduling fluke had these 2 separate sets of charges scheduled for court at the same day, at the same time, but at two different Baltimore City Court houses (Patapsco Ave and Wabash Ave.)
I was working with two different prosecutors on 2 different situations, all for the same client. Our efforts were to work out some sort of “grand deal” which would have my client offer a guilty plea to the charges in one court, and be sentenced in such a way to reflect this deal, then the other charges would be dropped entirely.
By the time we arrived at court for the first set of charges, my client was eligible to get his license back. He had to go take the driving test, and we all know how those lines can be at the DMV. When discussing this with the prosecutor, we learned that the State had witness issues on this case, and that we likely would not be able to proceed as arranged. I ultimately convinced the State to drop the first set of charges completely, which rarely happens in situations like this. I had been in on this case at a previous appearance and the prosecutor was once seeking a straight term of 30 days for these same charges.
So, the deal fell apart. Client is still facing the other set of charges, which we go to court on this week. Client has a valid license now, and is poised for an overall much better result, and most importantly should be putting all of this behind him soon!
If you’re charged with driving without a license, driving on a suspended or revoked license, or any other similar charges, call our office at (410) 885-6200. We can not only help handle those charges, but guide you in getting your license back so that this is hopefully the last time you ever have to face charges like this again!
Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law