Traffic Ticket Mistakes in Maryland
Many drivers in Maryland are under the mistaken impression that if a police officer makes an error when writing a traffic ticket that the validity of the entire citation is then thrown into doubt. Sadly, the reality is much less beneficial to drivers. If you have received a traffic ticket in the state of Maryland, a skilled defense attorney can help you determine whether the officer made a mistake in your traffic citation and what that means for your traffic violation case. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding officer errors and traffic ticket mistakes in Maryland.
Impact of Minor Mistakes By Officers
If the officer’s error is a relatively minor one, such as recording the wrong eye color of the driver or making a simple typographical error, the judge will likely ignore any objections about the validity of the ticket. Be prepared to pay up in these cases.
Impact of Major Mistakes by Officers
There are some cases where the officer’s mistakes can be important enough to lead to doubts about the ticket. For example, if a ticket completely misidentifies your vehicle or contains a wrong location, this might be enough to question the integrity of the ticket. Another example is if the date listed on the ticket places you at the scene when you can clearly demonstrate you were elsewhere that might be enough to help you dodge the violation.
Should I Sign a Maryland Traffic Citation?
A common question from Maryland drivers who receive a traffic citation is whether or not they should sign their ticket. Unlike many legal issues that have debatable answers, the clear answer in this case is, “Yes.”
Though many drivers incorrectly believe that by signing a ticket you are admitting guilt, the reality is that you are simply acknowledging your receipt of the ticket. In fact, Maryland law clearly says that a signature only shows your receipt of a ticket and that such a signature is categorically not an admission of guilt.
Many people wrongly assume that if you sign a ticket you will not be able to contest it later. That’s flatly untrue and drivers in Maryland do not waive any rights by signing their traffic citation. Not signing the ticket also does not allow you later claim you never received it. In fact, doing this can be a dangerous move given that a refusal to sign a ticket makes you subject to arrest and you could be taken straight to jail.
Rather than risk incarceration over a silly attempt to get around a ticket, you’re far better off consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain your legitimate options in case of a traffic violation.
Should I Fight a Traffic Ticket or Should I Let It Go?
The answer to this question is complicated and is ultimately up to each person. However, there are some general guidelines that can be helpful to consider when making such a decision.
Firstly, if an offense is relatively minor and comes with no points that will be put on your driving record, then it will likely make no impact on your insurance rates. In these cases, it may be best to bite the bullet, pay the fine, and move on. The wasted time and energy spent contesting the ticket would outweigh any benefits in avoiding spending a small amount of money.
However, the answer becomes very different in cases where the stakes are high. If conviction will result in a large number of points on your driving record, big fines, or potential incarceration, then the points alone could end up adding so much money to your monthly insurance bill that attempting to fight the ticket becomes worth the effort. Even more serious cases such as drunk driving charges, reckless driving, or driving on a suspended/revoked license are definitely worth the time it takes to consult a Maryland defense attorney. These charges carry steep fines and potential jail time, not something that’s worth messing with.
Whether your problem is a serious criminal offense or a more minor traffic violation, the fact remains that legal trouble can impact your life in substantial ways. An experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney can greatly increase your odds of a good outcome in such cases. If you have questions and need some trusted advice, contact Maryland defense attorney Seth Okin at (410) 782-0742 today.