Personal Injury Blog

Can a Person's Driving History Be Introduced at Trial in a Maryland Auto Accident?

Sometimes, a worried client will ask us: "I have a few speeding tickets under my belt. If we go to trial, will that be used against me?" Other times a client will ask us if we can use the defendant's poor driving record against him or her at the trial. What is the rule that governs the use of driving history at trial?

The short answer is, it's generally unusable. The ordinary rule in Maryland (as in the rest of the United States) is that you cannot use a person's poor conduct in the past to prove what they did or didn't do in the present. So for example, even if the plaintiff or the defendant is accused of speeding and causing the auto accident at issue, that party's past speeding tickets will not be admissible.

It is also true that a person's past criminal convictions can be introduced into evidence if that person testifies, in order to prove the point that the witness is a dishonest person. But in Maryland, only certain types of crimes may be introduced -- major crimes (such as murder) and crimes of dishonesty (such as theft and fraud). Again, past speeding tickets and similar infractions won't be admitted by the court.

In short, the only evidence of a person's driving behavior that will be admitted, will be the evidence of how the person was actually driving at the time of the accident. This is true whether it hurts or helps your case.

If you would like to bring a lawsuit because someone else injured you in an auto accident, and you have any questions about what evidence can be used for (or against) you at trial, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.