Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiver Hearing vs. Trial Request for Traffic Ticket in Maryland?

Q:  Should I request a Waiver Hearing or Trial if I receive a traffic ticket in Maryland?

I receive at least 5 calls a day regarding this issue and I tell every client they should select a trial for a traffic ticket in Maryland.  Last week was a perfect example.  I was in Court and the docket consisted of drivers that selected waiver hearings and trials for traffic tickets.  The individuals that requested a waiver hearing approached the trial table and entered a plea of guilty and explained why they were speeding or committed some other payable traffic offense in Maryland.  The officer does not have to appear and you have not defense to present, just explain why you committed the offense.

Yet, there were two unrepresented individuals that requested trials and plead not guilty.  The police officer showed up and they, unknowing of the law, requested that the case be tried that day.  Most of the time and in most jurisdictions in Maryland, that is a sure bet for a guilty finding and probably making the Judge upset because he or she has 50 cases on the docket and wants to get to lunch.  The Judge doesn't want to hear testimony from a individual who has no legal argument and thinks it is a chance to complain about the stop.  Unrepresented drivers think that because they were on their way the airport or to pick up their child from soccer they should not be found guilty of speeding or rolling through a stop sign.  That is not a legal argument nor is it a defense to a traffic offense.
Maryland Waiver Hearing vs Trial

Yet these two unrepresented individuals may have been the two luckiest people in the Courtroom.  The drivers said they wanted a trial.  Everyone was sworn to tell the truth and the officer began to read the facts of the case.  What the drivers did not know and only the Judge and attorneys in the Courtroom knew was that the officers left out a few critical facts about the traffic stop that are key in proving a case.  The police officers must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver committed the alleged offense.  The officers did not provide a few key facts, and the kind Judge asked the officer, "is there anything else you would like to tell me," and the officer did not reply and the Judge found the drivers not guilty.  Now, most of the time, that is where you would rely on your attorney to make the argument that the officer did not state the precise facts and be found not guilty, but the Judge was kind enough to do that for the drivers (this does not usually happen, the Judge will lead the officers for the facts).  After seeing those two individuals, I am more confident in saying you should always ask for a trial and make sure you hire a Maryland traffic attorney to represent you in Court.

You may have an officer that doesn't state the correct facts and the lawyer can argue the missed information and the Court can find you not guilty.

When you have the option, select a trial and hire a lawyer, you may find yourself walking out of the Courtroom with a not guilty.

Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, Jr., LLC
6914 Holabird Avenue, Suite A
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

Maryland Traffic Ticket Attorneys
We provide a defense to:

  • Driving While Suspended;
  • Driving While Revoked;
  • Driving Uninsured;
  • Speeding;
  • Red lights; and
  • All other Maryland traffic citations.