For many people, getting a traffic ticket is a nuisance that means they will either have to shell out money for or miss work to go to court to fight the violation. It is vital that anyone who is facing traffic violation citations understand how traffic violations are handled in Maryland.
One important fact about traffic violations is that you are no longer given a trial date on a ticket if the offense is a payable citation. Instead, you have to either pay the citation, seek a waiver hearing if you plan to plead guilty with an explanation or ask for a trial so you can plead not guilty. You have 30 days from the date the citation was issued to do one of those three options.
If you fail to act on a traffic violation that is payable, you face criminal charges because your driver’s license may be suspended. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, you can face incarceration.
If you get a citation that is considered a must appear citation, you must show up in court. You can’t just pay a fine and be done with the matter. Driving on a suspended license and driving while under the influence are two must appear violations.
In the case of a must appear citation, an automatic trial date will be set for you. It is vital that you appear on those dates. You have the right to have legal counsel with you when you go to court for all traffic violations. Having legal counsel might help you to better understand your rights and options.
Source: District Court of Maryland, “Traffic Citation Information,” accessed July 28, 2015
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