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Federal Traffic Tickets and Citations Under 18 U.S.C. § 13

In places under Federal jurisdiction, the United States government may charge you with either Federal crimes, or a violation of Maryland state laws. Military bases and other similar government installations are generally under Federal jurisdiction, putting traffic tickets and other violations issued in those places under Federal jurisdiction. If you are stopped by an officer, you may receive a citation that says “United States District Court Violation Notice” at the top. These citations are often issued for violations of Maryland law incorporated into Federal law by 18 U.S. Code § 13, also called the Assimilative Crimes Act. With a few exceptions, these crimes carry the same penalties as the underlying Maryland law that you are accused of violating. In some cases, the maximum Federal penalty may be higher for the incorporated version of a Maryland law than for the original Maryland law in a Maryland court. While the laws being enforced are sometimes the same, these citations are handled in Federal court, usually in front of a United States magistrate judge, and prosecuted by Federal prosecutors.

Incorporated versions of Maryland law are frequently used when officers write traffic tickets, or citations for other misdemeanors. Federal law is sometimes silent when it comes to traffic tickets and other offenses, leaving Maryland state law to fill in the gaps. Federal courts have somewhat different procedures and rules than State courts, even when the law being applied is the same. For instance, on a federal installation, if you are caught driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, driving with a revoked license, or speeding, you can expect to receive a ticket written for a violation of a Maryland law.

Your driving record and insurance can suffer for citations in Federal jurisdiction, just as it can for violations in other parts of the state. If you are charged with a traffic violation or receive another citation on a military base or other Federal installation, I can help. Call me at (301) 556‑8709, so that I can protect you and your record.