Question: What is a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ)? When and how does it apply to a Maryland DUI case?
Answer: In Maryland, it is mandated that you cannot have two probation before judgments within a 10-year timespan. Most judges will not even after 10 years grant a second probation before judgment. So really, it’s kind of a one-time get-out-of-conviction-free card, where the judge basically, you either are found guilty at trial or you accept some sort of plea of guilt. The judge then takes the conviction away and says, “OK, defendant, if you do well on my probation, I’ll let you keep this,” which is a non-conviction disposition. It also means that no points hit your record. So it is very important when you’re applying for a job, credit, and a loan that you be able to tell them that you have no prior convictions on your record. Not every state has them, so you might want to know the laws in whatever state you’re operating in, because not every state has them. And a probation before judgment is a pretty good way to keep your record clean.