WARNING: Beginning Jan 1, 2011, when you are issued a Maryland traffic ticket that is payable – meaning you do not have to appear in court if you do not want to – you now have the responsibility of acting right away. Examples of payable Maryland traffic tickets include speeding, running a stop sign, failure to yield and not stopping for a stopped school bus.
You must do one of three things in order to prevent the suspension of your license.
1. You can pay the fine, which is an admission of guilt and will most likely trigger the issuance of “points” on your driver’s license.
2. You can ask for a waiver hearing where you admit guilt, but want to provide the Judge with an explanation before sentencing.
3. You can ask for a trial, which means you do not admit guilt and will be able to offer evidence on your behalf.
If you do not act within 30 days, the MVA will begin the process of suspending your license. This is vastly different than how the old traffic ticket process worked. Before, if you did nothing, then you would automatically get a court date.
Now, Maryland traffic ticket payment is crucial – doing nothing can have serious consequences.
My prediction is that this law, which in part was designed to streamline the litigation of traffic matters, will end up overloading the docket. I believe there will be many more charges of driving without a license — at least initially — because people are so used to the old process.
Don’t let a minor speeding charge end up as a serious violation of driving without a license, because you didn’t follow the new procedures. A conviction for driving without a license can result in maximum punishment of one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, and the attachment of 12 points to your license for first time offenders
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