What are Maryland Public Traffic Records?
Maryland public traffic records contain official documents that chronicle the subject's driving history in the state, including any accidents, traffic violations, driver's license suspensions, and penalties such as fines and imprisonment. Public traffic records are a compilation of information from different departments and units of law enforcement agencies.
When it comes to public traffic records in Maryland, the law enforcement agencies primarily responsible for the generation and maintenance of records are the state courts, the Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), which is a division of MDOT.
Are Traffic Records Public in Maryland?
Yes, traffic records are public in Maryland. According to the state's Public Information Act (PIA), the public has a right to know about government activities. Therefore, the PIA grants residents access to public records while protecting individuals' privacy rights and government interests. Traffic records are generated and maintained by public government agencies and are therefore public records.
There are exemptions to the PIA. More specifically, privacy laws protect personal information on driving records. The Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act is an example of such a law.
Additionally, the MVA safeguards driving and vehicle records by keeping personal information on the records closed unless the subject requests in writing that the records be open. Examples of such personal information include names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, driver's license numbers, and any other information identifying the record subject. However, public information on driving records is not considered private information and is open to the public.
What do Maryland Traffic Records Contain?
Maryland traffic records contain personal information (which is private and inaccessible to the public) and other information accessible to the public. Typically, traffic records in Maryland contain the following:
- Residential address
- Driver's license number
- Social security number
- Vehicle title number
- Vehicle identification number
- Odometer reading
- Driving status
- Driving offenses
- Vehicular accidents
- Insurance company name
- Insurance policy number
- Fines and sentences
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Maryland?
Yes, citations go on your record in Maryland. However, not all citations go on Maryland records. Traffic violations in Maryland are usually payable violations or must-appear violations. While payable traffic violations are typically penalized with fines and do not go on record, must-appear violations may be penalized with imprisonment. Must-appear violations are typically moving traffic violations, and those are the kinds of citations that go on a person's record in Maryland.
Moving traffic violations are generally considered more severe, as they involve a greater risk of harm or injury to other persons. The associated risk explains why moving violations are penalized with heavier fines and imprisonment.
Types of Traffic Citations in Maryland
There are different types of traffic violations in Maryland, and the type of ticket a person receives depends on the traffic offense they violated. Generally, Maryland traffic violations are classified into payable and must-appear violations.
Citations for payable traffic violations are those for which the offender need not appear in court; the person may simply pay the ticket to resolve it. Examples of payable traffic violations include red light violations, failing to stop for a school bus or speeding tickets. Maryland does not penalize payable traffic violations with imprisonment.
Citations for must-appear violations, on the other hand, involve mandatory court appearances on the offender's part. Examples of must-appear violations include driving with a suspended license or driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI). In some cases, traffic offenders receive payable violation citations that contain must-appear citations. Traffic citations in Maryland can also be electronic or hand-written.
Maryland Traffic Citation Lookup
Maryland's District Court offers electronic access to traffic citation information. Persons interested in looking up traffic citations may use the Maryland Judiciary's Case Search website. Requesting parties may look up required information by entering the citation recipient's name, driver's license number, and citation number. The requestor may then filter the search using case type and the court system to get more accurate results.
Parties who lose or misplace their traffic citations in Maryland may fill out an option form and submit it to the Traffic Processing Center within 30 days of receiving the first citation. Persons interested in looking up or obtaining copies of traffic citations may also contact the District Court Traffic Processing Center by phone at (410) 260-1093 or 1-(800) 492-2656.
How to Lookup my Maryland Traffic Records
Persons interested in looking up traffic records in Maryland may use the Maryland Judiciary's Case Search website. Interested parties may use this channel at no cost to look up case records and case information; requesters simply need to enter requested information in the appropriate fields.
Local law enforcement offices and courts have roles in generating some traffic records. Therefore interested parties may contact them for information on looking up traffic records. If a traffic case involves a trial, interested parties may contact the record custodian in the court where the traffic violation case was first heard.
Through its traffic records program in Maryland, the MVA maintains comprehensive traffic records statewide. Persons interested in looking up their traffic records may contact the MVA to purchase driving or vehicle records. In Maryland, interested parties may purchase three (3)-year records, vehicle registration, and the complete driving history.
Interested parties may request copies of their traffic records online. Alternatively, interested parties may fill out a request form and submit it in person at any local MVA office. Requesting parties may also submit the filled form by mail and pay the required fees by money order or check.
Maryland traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record
Maryland Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in Maryland is any act that contravenes the state's traffic laws. Traffic violations can range from minor infractions, like speeding, to major offenses, like DUI or hit and run. Depending on the severity of the violation, penalties can include everything from a simple fine to jail time.
Some of the most common traffic violations in Maryland include:
- Speeding: Speeding is one of the most common traffic violations in Maryland. The state has a maximum speed limit of 70 mph on highways and 55 mph on other roads. Drivers who exceed these limits can be fined and may even have their licenses suspended.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving is another common traffic violation in Maryland. This offense involves driving in a way that endangers other people or property. It can be punishable by fines, jail time, and license suspension.
- DUI: DUI is a serious traffic violation in Maryland. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and can result in severe penalties, including jail time, license suspension, and high fines.
- Hit and run: Hit and run is a traffic violation that occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without providing their information to the other involved parties. This offense can result in jail time and license suspension.
Penalties for traffic violations in Maryland depend on the severity of the offense. Minor offenses, like speeding, typically result in fines. More serious crimes, like DUI or hit and run, can lead to jail time, license suspension, and high fines.
Maryland License Plate Lookup
Traffic records in Maryland usually feature license plate information. By law, all vehicles in the state must have license plates. This helps law enforcement track down criminals and other violators.
There are several ways to look up Maryland license plates. The easiest way is to use the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's online services. Requestors can also call the MVA's customer service line or visit your local MVA office.
To look up a license plate online, go to the Maryland MVA website and click on "License Plate Lookup." Users will need the license plate number and the last name of the vehicle's owner. For futher questions, contact the MVA's customer service line at (800) 492-4822.
To lookup a license plate in person, visit the local MVA office. Reqeustors are usually required to provide information with which to facilitate the search. In addition, the requesting party may be charged a nominal fee to cover the cost of research and copies.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Maryland
Any person interested in viewing traffic case records for free in Maryland may use the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. The website makes case records available to the public at no cost and offers summaries of official case files.
Interested parties may also visit the court clerk in the court where the case was first heard to view traffic case records for free. Court clerks are the record custodians for the court and, by law, are mandated to make records available on request. Clerk's offices have complete records, not summaries. Alternatively, some courthouses have kiosks where requesting parties may view public case records for free.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Maryland
Traffic offenses remain on public records in Maryland until the records are expunged, and the expungement period for traffic offenses in Maryland ranges from 31 days to 10 years. The MVA oversees the expungement of traffic records in the state. The agency considers each person's request and grants expungement at its discretion.
It automatically expunges eligible records, and persons who don't qualify for automatic expungement may submit manual requests. However, criminal expungements do not apply to traffic offenses or records in the state.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Maryland
If one is interested in removing traffic records, the first thing to do is to petition the court for expungement or sealing. In Maryland, an expungement removes specific entries from driving records, such as assigned points and moving violations. Maryland automatically expunges eligible driving records between 31 days and ten years after a conviction.
Persons interested in expunging driving records do not need to petition the MVA. The eligibility period for driving records depends on the subject's suspension status. Persons who have never been suspended or revoked for driver safety reasons become eligible for expungement 31 days after the conviction, provided that such persons have no moving violations on their record.
Persons who have never been suspended or revoked but have moving violations on their records become eligible for expungement after three (3) years from their last conviction for a moving violation. Persons who have been suspended once become eligible after five (5) years, while those who have been suspended more than once become eligible after ten (10) years.
Requesting parties must note that some records are not eligible for expungement. These include alcohol-related traffic violations, records of fatal accidents or similar violations, or records needed to assess subsequent penalties.
After expungement, interested parties may have their attorney contact the public website hosting their information for removal. Some public websites offer easy opt-out methods; where these methods are available, interested parties may use the function or follow other instructions on the public website.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Maryland?
Motoring offenses can affect a person's criminal records in Maryland, depending on the type of offense. In Maryland, motoring offenses are broadly classified as civil or criminal offenses. While civil offenses are considered less severe, attracting such penalties as fines, probation, or community service, criminal motoring offenses are more serious.
Criminal motoring offenses may be penalized by imprisonment if the offender is convicted. Due to the nature and severity of criminal motoring offenses, they are penalized as criminal offenses as well as motoring offenses. This means that criminal motoring offenses will appear on the convicted person's criminal records, resulting in other consequences beyond the court's sentence.