What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Traffic Ticket in Maryland?
Safe driving is a driver’s top responsibility upon receiving a driver’s license, but sometimes, even safe drivers may be targeted for a traffic violation. Failing to pay the total dollar figure listed on your Maryland traffic ticket by the due date could lead to additional fees, a suspended driver’s license and vehicle registration, and may even lead to a warrant for your arrest. Unless you plan to appear in court, you can’t simply ignore a traffic ticket. But what if you can’t afford your traffic ticket? Are there alternatives to paying the entire balance up front?
Maryland Traffic Violation(s) Payment Plan Overview
On October 1, 2020, the Maryland District Court announced that people with unpaid traffic fines equaling $150 or more might qualify for a Traffic Violation(s) Payment Plan. Essentially, the payment plan is a contractual arrangement between the court and the individual who received the ticket under which that individual agrees to pay off the balance on their traffic ticket monthly, rather than in a one-time lump sum payment.
To qualify for the monthly payment plan, the following conditions must be met:
- Your must owe at least $150 in tickets
- You agree to make monthly payments of 10% of the ticket
- You agree to notify the clerk of any address change during the term of this agreement
Once the agreement is signed and established, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) cannot suspend or revoke any of your driving privileges for the violations identified.
How to Enroll in a Payment Plan Agreement
Enrollment for a monthly payment plan agreement consists of the following four steps:
- Step 1: Access the request form. Fill out the required information regarding your citation and fine amounts, check off which payment plan you’re requesting, clearly read the provisions, and complete the request with your signature.
- Step 2: File the request at your nearest District Court location.
- Step 3: Check the status of your request. You will be notified of your acceptance or denial by the clerk.
- Step 4: Fulfill your monthly payments. The due date for your first payment is 30 days after your request is approved and occurs on the same date each month over nine consecutive months. Payments are only to be made in person (cash or credit card) or by mail (check). Online payments are not accepted.
Key Factors to Consider Before Applying for a Payment Plan
It is important to understand exactly what you’re committing to before signing any agreements and making decisions you can’t take back. Although eligibility for the payment plan doesn’t seem too stringent, keep in mind that certain traffic citations are ineligible for the opportunity. If you have outstanding fees from red-light violations, speeding tickets, parking tickets, toll citations, school bus camera tickets, or vehicle over-height tickets, you will not qualify.
Another consideration is that you are still paying your traffic tickets, just with more flexibility. This means that if you are admitting to the violations they cited you for. If you wish to fight your ticket in court, you shouldn’t pay any fines. Instead, you should consider working with a traffic attorney.
Contact a Maryland Traffic Ticket Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Getting a ticket for a traffic violation can be burdensome. Understandably, your first instinct might be to resolve the matter immediately. The officer who issued the ticket likely pointed out your options on the back of the ticket, or you may have friends and family advising you on what to do.
While paying your ticket—and accepting the other consequences that come with it—may sound like your easiest option, it could do more harm than good. Payment is an automatic admission of guilt and, depending on driving history and the nature of your offense, you may be looking at some serious consequences. Your best bet is to fight back with the help of a Maryland traffic ticket lawyer at The Law Office of Hillel Traub.
The Law Office of Hillel Traub has over 30 years of experience defending clients with traffic violations and offers personal service to drivers throughout Maryland. Discuss your case over a free consultation by calling (410) 580-1100 or contacting us today.
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