“To fight it, or not to fight it.”

The state of Maryland reported issuing roughly half of a million speeding tickets in 2011 as part of the SafeZone speed camera initiative.

That is probably a half of a million times that Marylanders pondered whether or not to contest a citation. It is a scenario that Marylanders are finding themselves in more and more.  Factor in red light cameras and you can probably say “more and more” a few more times. The issue is not limited to Maryland either, people around the country are asking the question of whether or not it is worth fighting a camera traffic ticket.

The answer is probably worth discussing with an attorney. Quite simply, it depends. It depends on the state. It depends on the person. It depends on the particular citation. It depends on all of the circumstances involved.

The first matter to examine is whether the violation is under a state vehicle code or statute as opposed to an administrative violation carrying only a fine. When the penalty is only a fine, there are no points involved and the incident does not carry onto your driving record. However, should the citation be subject to particular codes or statutes it may also carry fines and points. These factors make the citation both directly and indirectly more costly. They can remain on your driving record and influence the penalties that may come with future incidents, and also potentially impact insurance rates.

In Maryland, citations produced by a traffic camera are only administrative fines that do not carry onto your driving record.

Challenging these citations in Maryland is likely going to cost the recipient more than the face value of the ticket itself. The cost of commuting to court, paying for parking, and the hours spent missing work in the process likely adds up to more than the fine in itself let alone the cost of hiring an attorney.

However, some people are fighters naturally and just want to prove a point. For those people arguing on principle alone, there actually is a number of people around the country who have defeated the system. A brief search of articles around the country shows that these tickets can be challenged under issues of calibration and hearsay.

You cannot necessarily cross examine a computer print out as if it were a live officer. However, people have challenged the calibration of the devises and put the burden on the state to provide testing and calibration records. There have been instances around the country where people challenged states and won, as well as instances where the states could not produce an argument based on lack of sufficient records or upkeep. However, it is a serious fight and a considerable financial risk.

In states such as California, where the fines are substantially higher at $500.00 a pop, this risk might be more balanced. However, in Maryland, the cost in time, missed work, parking, and aggravation probably warrants simply coughing up the $40 bucks for the ticket.


Quick Evictions in Maryland

It has come to my attention that there are national companies marketing on the internet that market towards landlords to help them evict their tenants. They have catchy names and logos to capture the imagination of prospective clients that this is an easy process.

This tactic and marketing strategy may be effective in other jurisdictions, however, here in Maryland, most evictions and tenant issues can be resolved by the litigants themselves without requiring attorney intervention. The District Court of Maryland hears the majority of landlord tenant disputes in Maryland. Some counties, specifically, Montgomery County has a separate Landlord Tenant Commission to help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants prior to filing in the District Court.

While many potential litigants, both landlords and tenants may feel overwhelmed by the process and uncomfortable going to court, attorneys can be a helpful resource. However, the District Court provides a web site with links to all the necessary forms and has frequently asked questions and answers available. Click on the following link to obtain all relevant information from the District Court. This site has links for forms and simple instructions on how to complete the forms.


You may also click on this link (http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/dctcivforms.html )for access to all available forms from the District Court. Many can be downloaded in pdf format and typed on your computer and then printed while a few must be picked up for free from any District Court location.


Prior to filing a complaint, the court requires proof that any defendant is not in active military service. There is a link for the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/scra/scraHome.do
This website can help determine whether someone is currently in active military service or not.


In the State of Maryland, landlord’s can file actions in rent court, a subdivision of the District Court seeking to collect unpaid rent when tenants fail to pay rent and money for damages caused by tenants when they move out. Landlords may file a complaint for failure to pay rent or for breach of lease. Prior to filing a complaint, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant to vacate the property.

Landlords must give 30 days notice (or 14 days if there is clear and imminent danger of the tenant or person who is on property doing serious harm to themselves, other tenants, the landlord, the landlord’s property or representatives, or any other person on the property).

You must provide proof that each defendant has been served prior to a hearing being scheduled.

If you have questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact me or any other attorney or click on one of these high profile eviction companies. But remember that there is plenty of free information available from the Courts.