What to do When You Get a Traffic Ticket
What to do after receiving a traffic and knowing what your rights can be confusing and this article will explain all of your legal options in addressing your traffic ticket. First step is to check your traffic ticket to see if says “payable” or “must appear.” If you have a must appear ticket then you must appear in court on the date and time listed on your ticket. To view an example of a Maryland traffic ticket please go to this website. Now, if you have a payable ticket then you have three options to resolve the ticket but that action must be taken within 30 days. You can pay the full fine and plead guilty, ask for a waiver hearing to plead “guilty with an explanation” or ask for a trial to plead “not guilty.”
If you choose to pay the full fine online and plead guilty there are several ways to do that. First, you can pay online at: https://paymentsolutions.lexisnexis.com/pc/md/city/annapolis/districtcourt. The ticket can also be paid by telephone at (800)-492-2656. If you are more comfortable mailing your payment, that is also an option. Mail payment to: District Court Traffic Processing Center, P.O. Box 6676, Annapolis, MD 21401. Another option is to pay in person at your local district court. The last option is pay at the Maryland Uniform Traffic Citation Payment Kiosk at your local MVA office. Keep in mind if you decided to pay the fine without going to court then you are pleading guilty and will be awarded points to your license based on the traffic offense.
The second option: asking for a waiver hearing to plead “guilty with an explanation” can also be easily completed. You need to check the request a waiver-hearing box on the ticket and sign and date the ticket. Then you would need to mail the ticket to the District Court Processing Center at P.O. Bo 6676, Annapolis. MD 21401. In a waiver hearing you can ask the judge to reduce or waive your fine or ask the court to give you probation before judgment instead of a conviction. However, you should be aware, there is a possibility that the fine could be increased up to a maximum of $500. This will give you an opportunity to explain to the judge why you committed the offense(s) or explain any extenuating circumstances. On the other hand, if you change your mind and decide that you don’t want to go to court then you can pay the fine at any time before your court date to avoid going to court.
The last option is to ask for a trial or to plead “not guilty.” To do this, you need to check the “request a trial” box on the ticket and sign and date the ticket. Then you would need to mail the ticket to the District Court Processing Center at P.O. Bo 6676, Annapolis. MD 21401. At the trial, the officer will testify and you will also get an opportunity to present your side of the case. This includes presenting witnesses’ testimony or other evidence. Further you may have a lawyer present to help you. It is your responsibility to alert your witnesses of the date, time, and location of your trial. Now, there is the possibility that if the police officer does not appear at your trial, your case would be dismissed. The judge will decide whether you are guilty or not guilty after hearing all of the evidence. If the court finds you guilty then you have a right to appeal that decision within 30 days of your trial date. There are non-refundable court costs for filing an appeal. Again, if you change your mind and decide that you don’t want to go to court then you can pay the fine at any time before your court date to avoid going to court.
There are three different verdicts that are possible when the judge renders a verdict. The actual decision will either be guilty or not guilty. If found not guilty, that means you have been acquitted of the charge or ticket. A nolle pros is when the state ops to end prosecution and dismiss the charge. Stet is a suspension of the prosecution and the State may reopen the case without the need for the Defendant to be recharged (or reissue a ticket). Probation before judgment or P BJ is a common resolution in District Court trials. You would be found guilty or would have pleaded guilty. However, the final entry of judgment is technically suspended and gives you an opportunity to request expungment of his record upon successful completion of the probation. Frequently in traffic cases this means not getting another moving violation for 18 months or 2 years. The MVA will not charge you points for a PBJ unless you violate by getting another moving violation within the timeframe provided by the court.
Here are a few more housekeeping details. If you have lost your traffic ticket, you can either look online using Maryland Judiciary Case Search at casesearch.courts.state.md.us or by submitting a completed missing citation option form (Form DR-490). You can check to see if you have an outstanding suspension at the MVA website. Be aware that the MVA may add points to your license if you plead guilty or if the court finds you guilty of the violation. It is also possible that court or the MVA may require that you attend a driver improvement class.
Please contact our office with an explanation of the events leading up to your traffic citation and we will analyze whether the police followed the proper procedures to have cause to pull you over. We can further assist you resolving your ticket. Contact Fred for a free initial consultation and for further advice regarding your options to address your traffic violation by calling 410 730 4404.