Speeding Ticket Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just pay the ticket?
Should I just pay the ticket?
My response to this question has always been “No” to date. Each person’s situation is unique, so I caution against such a general answer. That being said, there are distinct advantages available to drivers who contest their tickets in traffic court.
Just paying the ticket can seem like the easy way, but it could really do more harm than good. You are pleading guilty by paying. You don’t get a chance to tell anyone why you deserve a break. You will not even be offered the chance to get Probation Before Judgment. You can be issued points on your driving record. Your insurance rate can go up (most insurance companies take notice of driving infractions that incur points for up to 3 years).
Even in a case where the officer appears in court and testifies flawlessly, you still get the chance to say to the judge why you should be offered Probation Before Judgment.
Is there a way to expunge this ticket off my record?
The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will automatically expunge your driving record after 3 years from the date of your conviction provided you meet certain conditions. If 3 years have not elapsed, you can file for expungement earlier, but will need to state why the MVA should expunge your driving record earlier than the 3 year waiting period.
If I pay the ticket, will my insurance rates go up?
This answer depends. It depends on who your insurance company is and how clean of a record you have. In my experience, most insurance companies find out when points are issued and consider convictions (that is Guilty findings, not Probation Before Judgments) for up to 3 years. In other words, you run the risk of your insurance premium being increased for 3 years (or possibly more depending on your insurance company).
Do I have legal grounds to fight the ticket?
Absolutely. Most people do not realize how traffic court works, and simply pre-pay the fine. This can be a huge mistake. Not only are there legal and technical defenses, Maryland law allows attorneys to appear on behalf of a client in certain types of traffic cases (usually traffic cases where the maximum punishment is a fine with no possibility of jail time). This is a huge benefit for anyone who cannot make it to traffic court, no matter the reason. It could be because you live in Alaska and coming back to Maryland would be a considerable amount of time and money, or it could be that you live a block away from the court house and do not want to sit in traffic court for the afternoon. The only thing you give up under the latter example, is being able to offer testimony in support of your defense. The statute, Maryland Transportation Article 26-204, simply requires that you appear and that can be satisfied by going yourself, having an attorney appear on your behalf, or paying the fine.
Can I lose my license over speeding tickets?
Speeding tickets can lead to the loss of your license in a couple of ways.
Accumulate too many speeding tickets (and thus points)? You can lose your license.
Forget that you have a speeding ticket and fail to take some sort of action within 30 days after receiving the speeding ticket? The court will send notice to the MVA and your license will be suspended for “failure to comply.” Driving on a suspended license is an offense you can be arrested for, and carries the possibility of jail time if convicted.
I want to challenge my speeding ticket but cannot find the paper, can I still request a trial date?
Yes, the citation given is flimsy and can be lost easily. Citation information is available on Maryland Judiciary Case Search. We have experience in asking the court to set a court date on traffic citations when the physical paper has been lost or if more than 30 days has gone by since you were pulled over.
Will I need an attorney?
Non-serious traffic court does not give you the right to an attorney like serious traffic does. However, you are permitted to have an attorney in non-serious traffic court.
Having an attorney for non-serious traffic court, in my opinion, is an economic advantage. Yes, you read that correctly, an advantage. Traffic attorneys, often do not charge high amounts for traffic tickets. Not only that, most traffic attorneys offer free consultations. Even in a case where an attorney successfully argues for a Probation Before Judgment, can save you potentially hundreds of dollars.
Advantages of hiring a traffic attorney for your speeding ticket case can include:
Knowledge of technical and legal defenses.
Knowledge of local court procedures and judges.
Can appear with you in traffic court or on your behalf without you having to be physically present.
Knowledge of driving records and how insurance companies calculate your rate.
Knowledge of how to provide effective mitigation.
How much does a traffic attorney cost?
This depends on the attorney and the type of case. A non-exhaustive list of factors that can impact the price may include whether or not there was an accident, how much trial preparation will be necessary, what a driver's record looks like. We offer services beginning at $49. We also offer a free consultation and case evaluation. Get started with your case evaluation online here.