I have a civil case coming up arising from an auto accident. Can I offer evidence that the other driver -
1. Got a traffic ticket at the scene of the accident - NO.
The issuance of the ticket is simply an inadmissible opinion of guilt by the officer. Briggeman v. Albert, 322 Md.133, 586 A.2d 15 (1991)
2. Got a traffic ticket and paid it by mail. - NO.
It is common that a motorist who believes themselves innocent of a traffic charge might nevertheless pay a preset fine rather than have to appear in court and stand trial. Briggeman v. Albert, 322 Md.133, 586 A.2d 15 (1991)
3. Got a traffic ticket, fought it in court, and lost - NO.
A judgment of conviction in a criminal case is not admissible in a civil case as evidence of the facts upon which it is based. The parties to the criminal prosecution are different. The rules of evidence are different and the purposes and objects sought to be achieved are different. Aetna Casualty v. Kuhl, 296 Md. 446, 463 A.2d 822 (1983); General Exchange Insurance Corp. v. Sherby, 165 Md. 1, 7, 165 A. 809 (1933).
4. Got a traffic ticket and pled guilty in court - YES.
A plea of guilty in court may be introduced as an admission in a subsequent civil case. But it is not conclusive on the issue of liability and the Defendant will have an opportunity in the civil case to explain why they entered the guilty plea. Brohawn v. Transamerica Ins. Co., 276 Md. 396, 347 A.2d 842 (1975); Campfield v. Crowther, 252 Md. 88, 249 A.2d 168 (1969);
5. Got a traffic ticket, pled guilty but got a PBJ - YES.
It is the act of pleading guilty that makes this scenario admissible, see cases under 4, not the judge’s decision in disposing of it.
6. Got a traffic ticket and pled no contest - NO.
A statement made at the time of entering a nolo plea and the plea itself are not admissible against a party in a subsequent civil proceeding. Agnew v. State, 51 Md. 614, 446 A.2d 425 (1982)