Why You Should Contest a Camera Speeding Ticket
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration issues photo enforced tickets to drivers who hurry past fixed traffic cameras. Anyone going 12 or more miles per hour over the local speed limit may receive such a ticket instead of being stopped by a traffic officer. The speed cameras capture images of passing cars and their license plates. Once the cameras flag the vehicles, the MVA uses the license plate numbers to identify the drivers, who later receive copies of the violations and photos in the mail.
Speed cameras are located all over the State of Maryland, with higher volumes of cameras positioned in high-traffic areas, school zones, and dangerous intersections. The cameras are set to record drivers who speed significantly rather than drivers who go just a few miles over the posted speed limit. As a minor traffic infraction, you won’t get points against your license if you plead guilty or are found guilty of speeding near a speed camera; however, there are many reasons why you should still contest the speeding ticket with the help of a traffic attorney.
Responding to a Photo Enforced Speeding Ticket
Maryland drivers have three options for responding to a traffic ticket. A payable traffic ticket like speeding is one in which a person may not face jail time if he or she is found guilty of the violation. If you receive a speeding ticket in the mail, you still have 30 days to respond by:
Paying the fine. In the case of a camera speeding ticket, it will cost you $40 to “resolve” the ticket; however, paying the fine is admitting guilt. While you won’t get points on your license, it can still stain your driving record.
Asking for a waiver hearing to plead “Guilty With an Explanation.” Doing this may persuade the judge to reduce the fine you pay; however, you will still be considered guilty of the offense.
Requesting a trial. Requesting a trial is the only way you may plead “not guilty” to the offense and demand that the state prove you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. During a trial, your attorney can present evidence that casts doubt on the state’s case against you.
Of the above options, your safest bet is requesting a trial. A knowledgeable traffic attorney like Hillel Traub can carefully review your citation and all associated photographs, and craft a defense that can help keep the citation off your record.
Reasons to Challenge the Citation
You have the right to request a court hearing. There are many reasons to challenge the citation besides the fact that it’s the only way to claim innocence.
- It’s possible there was a camera error
- It’s possible that another person was driving your car at the time
- It’s possible there were other cars in the image, and the camera flagged the wrong one
- You didn’t receive the ticket in a timely manner
- Speed signs in the area were obstructed, so you couldn’t know the speed limit
- You don’t believe the authorities used the proper procedure when citing you
Paying the fine or pleading guilty with an explanation are both admissions of guilt.
Avoid the $40 Fee and Fight the Charge
It’s your duty to challenge an unjust citation. While it may be easier to pay $40, you do not receive a penalty for requesting a hearing and attempting to challenge the citation. If you pay the fine, you surrender without even trying to defend yourself. Taking any action besides requesting a hearing waives your right to dispute the violation in the future and lets the issuing jurisdiction off the hook without proving the case against you.
Attorney Hillel Traub of the Law Office of Hillel Traub is a former Assistant Attorney for the Maryland MVA who thoroughly understands the organization’s inner workings. He knows what it will take to successfully challenge their case against you and help you avoid court fees. For more than 20 years, he has helped residents of Baltimore and surrounding areas with their traffic issues. When you receive a citation by mail, make sure your first step is a call to our law office at (410) 580-1100 for a free consultation.