While representing people accused of driving offenses, it is come to our attention that occasionally the records the police rely on while apprehending suspects contain some pretty serious errors that can result in prejudice to the driver. Here are a few examples.
One of our clients was recently charged with driving on a suspended license. A review of the driving record showed that his license had been suspended for 270 days, but for some unknown reason the suspension remained on his record for more than 270 days. The MVA should have noted the withdrawal of the suspension on the driving record. However it did not, and when the driver was stopped on the 274th day, the officer charged him, among other charges, with driving while suspended. This can be a pretty serious charge, if the defendant has previously been found guilty of this offense. It also creates potential immigration issues. Upon calling the MVA, they corrected the record, and it can now be proven using a certified copy of that record that he is not guilty of driving while license suspended.
Another client moved to Florida and obtained a Florida driver’s license. He turned in his Maryland driver’s license. But the MVA did not record this. When visiting Maryland, he received a charge of driving in violation of a license restriction because all Marylanders under 21 have an alcohol restriction on their driver’s license. As a result his license was suspended for one year. However, as a Florida licensee, he should not have been suspended or charged. After contacting the MVA, they searched for and confirmed that the Maryland license had indeed been surrendered and removed the suspension.
In another case, the client was charged with driving while revoked. A review of the MVA record showed that the MVA erroneously listed his move to another state out of order. While the dates were correct, the change of license appeared after he received an out-of-state DUI conviction, instead of before. The MVA computer it seems, assumed the events were properly ordered and revoked his Maryland driver’s license. This would have been proper if he had a Maryland driver’s license at the time of the out-of-state DUI. Maryland licensees receiving an out-of-state DUI conviction are subject to revocation. But Maryland has no jurisdiction over out-of-state licensees receiving out-of-state DUIs. In the meantime, he received two driving while revoked cases in Maryland. A call to the MVA corrected the error and the State dropped both cases.
Sometimes, when a person appeals or jury demands a case from District Court to a circuit court, the District Court record on Maryland Judiciary Case Search, is not updated properly. This problem can be compounded, because the MVA will suspend a driver’s license based on the incorrect District Court record. Or the MVA will require an ignition interlock because the District Court order for an interlock is not updated to show that the circuit court did not order the interlock. These situations require patience and numerous calls to get Case Search corrected and the license restored.
Fortunately, in all of these situations, with a little patience and determination, errors in court and MVA records can be uncovered and corrected.