Understanding traffic violations here in Maryland – II

Last week, we started discussing how anxiety provoking it can be to see flashing lights in your rearview mirrors and know that you’re being pulled over for some sort of traffic violation.

Specifically, we started discussing the most common citation issued by law enforcement officials — payable traffic violations — which, as the name implies, are punishable by a fine and can affect your driving record. In today’s post, we’ll begin to discuss the three options drivers have concerning these payable traffic violations.

Option 1 — pleading “guilty” and paying the fine

Many people opt to pay the fine called for by the payable traffic violation. For some, this might be because they know there is no disputing that that they were speeding, while for others, it may be because they don’t want to bother or feel that they wouldn’t know how to challenge the assertion by the issuing officer that they had run a red light.

People who fall into this latter category should be aware that by electing to simply pay the fine, they will essentially be entering a guilty plea and that this will go on their permanent driving record.

While this may not seem like cause for concern, consider that a guilty plea allows the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to potentially assess points against your license. This accumulation of points, in turn, may serve to drive your insurance premiums up.

Those who decide to go this route should know that they have three payment options: online, by mail or at the nearest district court.

We’ll continue to discuss the other options available to drivers issued payable traffic citations, including pleading “guilty with an explanation” and requesting a trial, in future posts.

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

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