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Understanding traffic violations here in Maryland - IV

Throughout the month of March, our blog has been discussing the issue of traffic violations. In particular, we've discussed the difference between payable traffic violations and must appear violations, as well as two of the options available to drivers issued the former type of citation.

In today's post, we'll discuss the third -- and final -- option available to those drivers law enforcement claims to have caught speeding, running a stop sign, improperly changing lanes or committing some other type of traffic offense. 

Option 3 -- requesting a trial

If you are confident that you did not commit the traffic offense for which you were issued the citation, you have the option of requesting a trial date. In order to do this, you must place a check in the applicable box and mail it to the district court within 30 days of receiving the citation. Once this is completed, you will likely have to wait several weeks until you are provided with a trial date.

On the scheduled date of the trial, you or the attorney you may retain to represent you, will be given the chance to argue your side of the case, including calling witnesses and cross-examining the officer who issued the citation.

Once both sides have presented, the presiding judge will consider the matter and issue a decision as to whether you are guilty of the traffic offense. If you are found guilty, you will have 30 days to pursue an appeal.

Some important points to consider as they relate to this option, include:

  • Be certain to notify the court if your address changes after the traffic citation has been issued but before your request for a trial has been scheduled.
  • If you later decide that you do not wish to go to trial, you have the option of simply paying the fine at any point up to the scheduled date of the proceeding.
  • It's your responsibility to ensure that witnesses you plan to call in your support during the trial have the proper time, date and location.
  • If you fail to appear for trial, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will be alerted and your license will be suspended.

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and options as they related to traffic violations.

Source: District Court of Maryland, "Traffic citation information," Accessed March 5, 2015

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