Written by attorney David Richard Waranch

What You Might Not Know About a Maryland PBJ

In Maryland, for both criminal and traffic offenses, we have a special disposition called Probation before Judgment ("PBJ"). This article will focus on the minor traffic version of the PBJ.

Basically, a PBJ allows you to walk out of court without a conviction and without any points on your record. Even if you pled guilty or were found guilty, the judge can strike the guilty finding and enter a PBJ.

Since no points are imposed and no conviction is recorded, your insurance premiums will not and cannot go up. In fact, the insurance companies won't even know about your case. PBJs are kept in a "semi-private" traffic record that only YOU and a judge can see. This record is separate from your "non-private" traffic record.

In most cases, a PBJ is a good disposition (not in all cases such as individuals with a provisional license). When you get a PBJ in Maryland for a minor traffic offense (non jailable) you are not on probation. That is, if you get another ticket the next day, the next judge may not give you another PBJ, but your first PBJ will not be "violated."

Currently, there is no law which states that you are not eligible for as many PBJs as a judge cares to give you (except with a DUI where you will not be eligible for another five years after you received a PBJ).

When you go to court, make sure to ASK the judge for a PBJ. Even if you have a stellar record, they may not automatically give you one. Judges have different policies as to who gets one. It is common for judges to give you one if you haven't had one in the last two years or so. Bring a copy of your traffic record to court and emphasize the last time you got a ticket (only if its been awhile).

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