Robin Ficker, a Bethesda lawyer, former state legislator and loud heckler of opponents of the Washington Bullets basketball team, was convicted yesterday of battery and malicious destruction of property for hitting a pregnant woman during a traffic dispute on River Road in August.

Montgomery County District Court Judge Cornelius J. Vaughey gave Ficker a suspended 40-day jail sentence and ordered him to pay a $250 fine and $250 to replace the woman's broken sunglasses.

Vaughey decided against placing Ficker on probation, saying that he believed the battery was reckless but unintentional and that he did not believe it would be repeated.

Caroline Taylor Goldman testified that Ficker exploded in anger and broke her prescription sunglasses when she tried to get his name and telephone number after his 1990 Jeep Cherokee bumped the rear of her newer model Jeep on the morning of Aug. 3.

"He was quite agitated. His face was red," said the Poolesville woman, who was six months pregnant and wearing maternity clothes at the time. "He seemed to be, in my assessment, out of control."

Ficker, 52, once served in the Maryland House of Delegates and has mounted high-profile tax revolts against the state and Montgomery County. To many, he is known for noisily berating opponents of the Washington Bullets from his courtside seat at USAir Arena.

Ficker said that he accidentally made contact with Goldman's sunglasses but that she jumped out of her vehicle to approach him without provocation while he was stalled in traffic near Seven Locks Road. He said Goldman initiated the contact by grabbing his arm. "I felt she assaulted me!" Ficker told the judge.

Ficker said he was pointing at the woman when she walked forward into his finger, knocking the glasses askew and popping out a lens.

Goldman, who gave birth to a healthy son four months ago, testified that she suffered no long-lasting effects from the encounter, but that she had a black eye that took 10 days to fade.

Four eyewitnesses to the altercation testified during the day-long trial in Rockville; two of the witnesses were Ficker's sons and the others were motorists who saw the confrontation in their rearview mirrors. Although their recollections of the incident were similar, their views on who was at fault differed.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Stanley J. Reed argued that the state had not met its burden in overcoming reasonable doubt.

"She initiated physical contact in a threatening way {with} a man who was sitting in a car with his two sons on the way to the hospital" to visit his dying father, Reed said.

But Assistant State's Attorney George E. Simms III said that Ficker clearly was out of line. "She has a right to talk to him because he had just bumped her car. . . . She has a right to walk the streets and do what she did."

Reed said he doubted that the conviction would imperil Ficker's status as a member of the Maryland State Bar Association. Nevertheless, Reed said, he and Ficker needed time to consider whether to file an appeal, which automatically would entitle them to a jury trial, or ask Vaughey to issue a probation before judgment, a ruling that means police records will not show any criminal conviction. CAPTION: Robin Ficker received a suspended jail sentence and has to pay a fine for the August incident. (Photo ran in an earlier edition)