Maryland drivers who receive "payable" traffic citations (those that do not bear a "MA" or a "must appear" designation), should be mindful of recently enacted legistation requiring a person who receives a payable traffic ticket to comply with the citation by doing one of the following within 30 DAYS after receipt of the citation:
1) Pay the full amount of the "preset fine" noted on the citation;
2) Request a waiver hearing regarding sentencing and disposition instead of trial. This option excuses the appearance of the officer who issued the citation and effectively results in a plea of "guilty with an explanation;" or
3) Request a trial date at the date, time and place established by the District Court.
Before January 1, 2011, one who received a payable citation could simply withhold action and await notice from the District Court concerning a trial date. However, the newly enacted legistation now requires the cited driver to affirmatively act. Moreover, those individuals who fail to exercise one of the three (3) noted options within 30 days should be aware that Maryland's MVA will be notified by the Court and could take steps to suspend one's driver's license. Since driving on a suspended license carriers a maximum penalty of one (1) year's incarceration and a substantial fine for a first time offenders, non-compliance with the new legislation can result in dire consequences.
It is critical, in this writer's opinion, after receipt of a moving violation, to seek the guidance of legal counsel to determine which of the three (3) options discussed above is most worthy of pursuing.