New Maryland Speeding Ticket Law

There is a new law for traffic/speeding tickets in Maryland that no longer gives accused offenders a chance to wait until the day of trial to decide whether to pay the ticket. Under the old law, motorists were assigned a trial date automatically and were expected to appear at trial if they did not pay the fine. Practically, if you did not show up for trial, you could just pay the fine and be okay. (This was, uh, the experience of some of my friends in college.)

Now, you have to request a trial or you are found guilty. The Maryland General Assembly passed this law, which arguably takes away a little due process, without debate. The reason: money. The Washington Post says that about $3.5 million and 75,000 officer-hours were spent on overtime for District Court appearances in Montgomery County alone. Multiply that across the state and you can see why the state of Maryland is willing to look the other way on due process. Officers are going to still spend a lot of time at trial. But this will free them up substantially so that less overtime needs to be paid and police can spend more time on the street instead of in a courthouse waiting for a 17 year-old to no-show his 62 in a 45. Moreover, you have to think this will free up the docket for a lot of District Court judges in Maryland.

For major crimes, this lack of due process would be criminal. For traffic offenses, I think the money and energies saved makes it worthwhile to look the other way. I’m in favor of speed cameras and red light cameras, and a traffic penalty policy that is easy to administer because I think it keeps our roads safer. Some people will disagree but if that means a few people getting “convicted” of an illegal u-turn, I can live with that. The line of how much liberty we give up for safety is not even broached here, in my opinion, anyway.

Good job, Maryland General Assembly. Can you do us one more favor? Overcome the liquor lobby and whoever else you have to and get a mandatory interlock ignition bill passed for first time drunk drivers.

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  • It is nice that you provide these Maryland legal updates. It is interesting to see how other states handle speeding tickets.

  • Dan

    Is it legal a police officer, in MD, to sit on private property with their lights off as a speed trap?

  • Blade Alvarez

    Hi i heard that if you get pulled over and hand your licence over to the officer and then the officer puts your information incorrectly into his system to give you a ticket, your case can be dismissed with the ticket. yes no?

  • m

    Some are sometimes unaware that there are traffic violation, because no letter of the violation shows up in the mail. Some people do not know that they have a violation until they put the boot on the car, or if they go to the internet,however, everyone do not have access to a computer.

  • This is a great reminder to drivers. The legal process will change sometimes and you should pay attention, especially if you have been recently ticketed for a traffic violation. These changes can effect how you challenge a fine, not to mention your ability to have penalties reduced.

  • Chris

    I have Massachusetts license but got ticket in Maryland; how this will impact my insurance and legal issues; any thoughts, whether I should hire a lawyer or go to court directly. I’m out of state resident. Any suggestion appreciable.

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