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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/31/2010

Md. traffic ticket law changing

By Washington Post Editors

Starting Jan. 1, Maryland drivers who get ticketed will have to pick their own trial dates. Currently, drivers who get a traffic ticket have three choices:

1. Pay the full amount of the fine
2. Request a waiver hearing. (Waiver hearings are for drivers
who don't dispute the ticket, but want to give an explanation to a judge before
being sentenced.)
3. Get a government-issued trial date.

In the new year, drivers who get a traffic ticket will no longer get a government-issued trial date. They will have to request a trial date if they want one. The traffic ticket will have instructions for making a request.

The law was changed in part to reduce the amount of time police spend waiting in court for no-shows, state officials said.

Drivers still have 30 days to pay the fine or request a trial. If you don't respond within the 30-day period, the District Court will contact the Motor Vehicle to have your license suspended, officials said. You will then have 15 days to pay.

This does not apply to drivers who get a "Must Appear" ticket for infractions such as driving under the influence or driving on a suspended license, state officials said.

By Washington Post Editors  | December 31, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Driving, Maryland  
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