Why Paying A Maryland Traffic Ticket May Not Be A Good Idea

As a Maryland traffic violation lawyer, I have noticed that too many of my clients are simply paying their traffic citations. Most of the time, this is not a great idea.

When you pay the ticket, you are AUTOMATICALLY going to get a conviction on your Maryland traffic record and all of the points. Points will cause your insurance premiums to go up, and enough points will suspend your license (8 points will suspend you and 5 points will trigger a conference with the MVA where you will have to take the “Driver Improvement Program”).

In addition, points will stop you from keeping points off your record and getting a PBJ (Probation before judgment). In sum, having points will lead to more points.

Finally, in a criminal case where its questionable if the officer has reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle, by paying the ticket, you are admitting guilt and confirming that the traffic stop was valid.

Instead, you should consider going to court. On some occasions, the police officer is not present and you will be found not guilty. If the police officer is present and you have a valid defense, you may be able to beat the case. Even if you are pleading guilty, it is recommended to go to court to have the chance to explain your side of the story and ask for a PBJ (which give syou no points) and a reduced fine.

There are some limited circumstances when paying a Maryland traffic ticket is OK. For example, if the charge does not carry points or if the charge is several years old. In that circumstance, the points will not actually go on your record since points are only valid two years from the date that you were pulled over.  If you are not sure what to do, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to help