Whenever you are stopped by an officer for a traffic offense, and you receive a traffic ticket, the information on the ticket will tell you what kind of offense you are being charged with, what kind of fine there is assigned to this type of ticket, and there will be information about how to choose between either requesting a trial within 30 days or choosing to pay the ticket and not having to appear in court.
This information may appear harmless but it is a trap for two reasons. If you are choosing to pay the ticket without consulting an attorney, there is much you haven’t considered.
The first trap in paying the ticket in advance involves the fines written on the ticket. Many people do not realize that this is a pre-assigned amount. Fines written on the tickets can be over $500 and if you get multiple tickets, you can easily be facing over $1,000 in fines. Depending on the circumstances a judge may consider a much lower fine in some cases.
The second trap in paying the ticket in advance means you are admitting Guilt and a Guilty verdict will be entered. The court will then send notice to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), and if there are points that are related to that kind of a ticket, the MVA will give you those points.
What are points? They are a mechanism by the MVA used to monitor what kind of a driver you are. If you get a point, you are a worse driver than someone with zero points. If you get as many as 8 points or 12 points, your license may be suspended or revoked. Additionally, if you get even one point, the amount you pay for car insurance is likely to go up. If you receive several points then it’s likely your car insurance will increase more dramatically.
How do you avoid getting points? First, do not pay the ticket without consulting an attorney. Second, you will need to appear in court in order to attempt to avoid getting points. Again, you need an attorney with you because an attorney will know how to evaluate the evidence and understand how to proceed with a trial if necessary.
Some items to keep in mind in determining if you have a winnable case would include:
- Have you been charged with the right ticket?
- Did the officer stop your car legally?
- Is there enough evidence for a conviction?
Sometimes even the smallest technicalities can help you receive a not guilty verdict; however, if you lose your trial it is still possible to keep points from being assessed to your Maryland driving record. In Maryland, if a Judge provides the benefit of Probation Before Judgment (PBJ), then no points will be placed on your Maryland driving record. This is important to remember as it affords another opportunity for individuals to keep points off their driving record. Call us today for your Free Consultation – 410-356-4455.