Drunk drivers can face cases both in criminal court and in civil proceedings. Maryland motorcycle accident victims injured by drunk drivers may be able to use evidence from a criminal or traffic case in a subsequent civil suit. Under Maryland law, a guilty plea to a traffic citation generally can be admitted in a later civil trial. Maryland courts have held that guilty pleas to criminal offenses and traffic citations usually are admissible in a subsequent civil case. It is not conclusive evidence, however, and proof of a guilty plea can be rebutted or explained by the offender during the following civil case.
However, Maryland courts have drawn a distinction between guilty pleas in court and the payment of fines outside of court. Maryland courts consider a person’s express acknowledgment that a person was guilty of an offense in court to be more significant that paying a fine in place of going to court.
Courts have recognized that people may pay a fine in person or by mail in order to avoid going to court. In addition, courts have found that payment of a fine outside of court is not a guilty plea nor an express acknowledgment of guilt. Therefore, even though a person may have paid a traffic ticket it generally does not mean that that evidence can be used against them. Even if evidence is generally admissible, a court may still exclude it. Under Maryland Evidence Rule 5-403, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by its danger of prejudice. Judges have the discretion to exclude unfairly prejudicial evidence—or for a number of other reasons.
Man Charged with DUI in Hit-and-Run Bicycle Crash
A man was recently charged with driving under the influence after he hit and killed a bicyclist. According to one news article, he was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and related traffic offenses. The accident occurred around 9:00 p.m. at night, and police responded to calls about a man being hurt on the roadside. When police arrived, they found a bicyclist unresponsive in the grass. The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police believed that he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. After investigating the incident, police found the driver. When they located him, the driver admitted to being involved in the crash. Police continue to investigate the crash but believe that he was under the influence when the accident took place.
Contact a Maryland Injury Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland DUI accident, contact one of the dedicated personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. The Maryland injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen have more than 20 years of experience representing victims in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas. The stress of an accident can be overwhelming. Our injury lawyers can review the options available in your case and help you determine how to resolve your claim as appropriately and as quickly as possible. To set up a free consultation, call 800-654-1949 or use the online form.