Receiving a traffic citation in Maryland is something you may have experienced in the past. You may have chosen to simply accept the citation and pay it.
But there could come a time when you get a traffic ticket for something you believe you are not guilty of and wonder what your options are. Alternatively, even though it is “just a traffic ticket,” being found guilty of the traffic violation could affect your driving privileges or employment, giving you a reason to fight it.
You have two options and both involve requesting a hearing in traffic court.
Your first option is a waiver hearing, which is a hearing where you plead guilty to the charge but are given an opportunity to provide an explanation.
At a waiver hearing, you are given a chance to tell your side of the story to the judge. You can request that the judge reduce your fine, waive it altogether or put you on probation.
Although getting a chance to talk to the judge sounds promising, you also take a risk by requesting a waiver hearing. After hearing what you have to say, the judge could choose to increase your fine to up to $500.
Your second option is a trial. The officer who gave you the traffic citation will testify about the circumstances that led to the citation.
You will then be given your own chance to testify and present your side. As with any other type of trial, you can call witnesses and present evidence to support your case.
However, you are responsible for notifying your witnesses of the trial date and preparing them to testify. You are also responsible for gathering your own evidence and presenting it in an acceptable manner for the court.
Because you may not have represented yourself in court before, you can have an attorney represent you at your traffic court trial. Attorneys can take care of arranging witnesses and getting evidence together, so you can focus on making your case.