Maryland Courts

Traffic Citation Information



Important Notice: New Procedure for any payable traffic citation received on or after January 1, 2011

New legislation, SB 560 (Chapter 195) and HB 829 (Chapter 196), was passed by the General Assembly during the 2010 legislative session that requires a person who receives a payable traffic citation to comply with the citation by doing one of the following WITHIN 30 DAYS after receipt of the citation:

Option A: Pay the  full fine and  plead "guilty"

  • Pay online
  • Pay by telephone: (800) 492-2656
  • Pay by mail - send to:
    District Court Traffic Processing Center
    P. 0. Box 6676
    Annapolis, MD 21401
  • Pay in person at your local District Court

OR

Option B: Ask for a waiver hearing to plead "guilty with an explanation"

  • Check the "Request a Waiver Hearing" box on the ticket.
  • Sign and date the ticket.
  • Mail the ticket to the District Court Traffic Processing Center
    P. 0. Box 6676
    Annapolis, MD 21401

OR

Option C: Ask for a trial to plead "not  guilty"

  • Check the "Request a Trial" box on the ticket.
  • Sign and date the ticket.
  • Mail the ticket to:
    District Court Traffic Processing Center
    P. 0. Box 6676
    Annapolis, MD 21401


The District Court will no longer automatically set trial dates for payable citations issued on or after January 1, 2011. In order to receive a trial date or a waiver hearing date, you must complete and return your option form to:

District Court of MD
PO Box 6676
Annapolis, MD 21401

If you fail to comply with one of the three options WITHIN 30 DAYS after receipt of a payable traffic citation, the Motor Vehicle Administration will be notified and may take action to suspend your driver's license. Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense for which you could be incarcerated.

Traffic Citation Fact Sheet
Traffic Citations - Handwritten and Electronic Traffic citations in the State of MD are issued in one of two different ways - a handwritten version or the new electronic version. When you are charged with a payable traffic offense, the officer will give you two copies of the handwritten version of the traffic citation. If the citation was issued electronically, the officer prints you a copy from his patrol car.

There are two types of traffic violations in Maryland, "payable" and “must appear". “Must appear” violations, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving on a suspended license are not covered in this fact sheet. Drivers who receive "Must Appear" citations or have payable citations included with a "Must Appear" citation, will continue to receive automatic trial date notices. For more information about “must appear” traffic offenses, contact the District Court location nearest you or the District Court Traffic Processing Center at

Payable traffic violations for example, a speeding ticket or failing to stop for a school bus, are those you may choose to plead “guilty” to and pay a fine without appearing in court. You have a payable violation when the officer checks the second box under “Notice to Appear” on your handwritten citation or the "Payable Fine" box on the electronic version. Payable traffic violations are not punishable by jail time.

Always read the Notice to Defendant information carefully and make sure your name and address are correct. (See address change.)

You have three options when confronted with a payable traffic citation (1) paying the fine, (2) pleading “guilty with an explanation” and appearing for a waiver hearing or (3) requesting a trial date and appearing for trial. If you choose not to pay the fine, you must request either a waiver hearing or a trial, at which you will be required to appear in person to dispose of your case. If you do not respond WITHIN 30 DAYS to one of the three options, MVA will be notified and may take action to suspend your license. Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense for which you could be incarcerated.

To Access Your Citation Information Online
Information about your citation and its status can be found on the Judiciary’s online Case Search at: http://www.courts.state.md.us/courts/courtrecords.html

  • Click: Case Search
  • Read: Terms and Conditions
  • Click: Checkbox to acknowledge agreement with the terms and conditions
  • Click: Continue
  • In Search Criteria
  • Enter: your last, first, middle name as shown on your driver’s license
  or scroll down
  • In Search by Case Number
  • Enter: citation number in the Case Number field
  • Select: Case Type: Traffic > Court System: District Court Only
  • Click: Search
  • Click: Your case number when the Results screen appears to display your citation information

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Paying the fine - Pleading "Guilty"
If you choose to plead guilty, by paying pay the fine noted on the front of your citation, the charge will become part of your driving record. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration(MVA) may assess points on your license. Having points on your license could increase your insurance premiums. The number of points assessed is determined by the MVA, not by the District Court. For information on the MVA,visit their website at: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/

There are several ways to pay the fine. Have your citation number available to help expedite the process. 
• To pay online, visit the Online Payment Website at: https://orders.paymentsolutions.lexisnexis.com/md/marylandcourt/
(A non-refundable convenience fee applies.)
• Visit the District Court location nearest you and pay the fine at the cashier’s office. If you choose to pay with a credit card, a service charge will be added to your fine.
Mail your check or money order to the District Court of MD with the Return to Court copy in the envelope attached to the handwritten version of the traffic citation. If you received more than one citation you may place all citations in the same envelope. If you received a copy of an electronic traffic citation, cut on the dotted line and mail the Option Form to the address below. To ensure proper credit, please include the citation number on your payment.
District Court of MD
PO Box 6676
Annapolis, MD 21401
• Call the District Court’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system at 1-800-492-2656. The system will provide directions to court locations and other information. The IVR system also accepts credit card payments for traffic citations, through Visa, Master Card, Discover, and American Express. Your credit card company will assess a service charge for each citation when you pay by phone. If you want to request a trial date or a waiver hearing date, DO NOY PAY THE FINE. See the instructions for Requesting a Waiver Hearing or Requesting a Trial Date below.

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Requesting a Waiver Hearing to Plead “Guilty with an Explanation”

If you choose to plead guilty and would like to request that your fine be reduced or waived or that you be given probation rather than a conviction, you must make your request WITHIN 30 DAYS of receipt of your citation. Check the "Request Waiver Hearing" option box on the Return to Court copy of the handwritten citation and envelope or the electronic version Option Form, sign, date and mail it to:

     District Court of MD
     PO Box 6676
     Annapolis, MD 21401

The court will automatically schedule a hearing date before a judge. This hearing is not a trial. The officer who ticketed you and any witnesses will not be present.

The hearing presents you with an opportunity to explain to the judge why you committed the offense and request that your fine be reduced or waived or ask that you be given probation rather than a conviction because of extenuating circumstances. Lowering your fine is at the discretion of the judge. There is a possibility that your fine could be increased, up to a maximum of $500. If the judge renders a guilty verdict, you have the right to an appeal. There are non-refundable court costs for filing an appeal. (A "probation before judgment" cannot be appealed.)

Call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System at 1-800-492-2656 for information about trial dates, court locations, and directions.

     From all areas, including out-of-state, call: 1-800-492-2656
     TTY users call 1-800-925-9690 or
     use the Maryland Relay Services at 1-800-735-2258 or 711
     If you need more information, please contact a clerk at the District Court nearest you.

Requesting a Trial Date and Appearing for Trial


WITHIN 30 DAYS of receipt of your citation, check the "Request a Trial" option box on the Return to Court copy and envelope, or the electronic version Option Form, sign, date, and mail it to:

     District Court of MD
     PO Box 6676
     Annapolis, MD 21401


It may take several weeks for a trial date to be scheduled. If you do not receive a trial date within six weeks, contact the District Court in the county in which you received the ticket.

  • View Sample Handwritten Traffic Citation White (Return to Court) Copy with Option Checkboxes
  • View Sample Electronic Traffic Citation Option Form

At your trial, the officer who issued your ticket will testify, and you will have an opportunity to present your side of the case. After hearing both sides, the judge will render a decision. You have the right to an appeal within 30 days of your trial date, if you are found guilty. There are non-refundable court costs for filing an appeal.

If your address changes after you receive your ticket but before you receive notice of your trial/hearing date, notify the Court immediately by sending a letter to the Court in the jurisdiction where you received the ticket. The post office will not forward Court mail, and updating your address with MVA does not update your address with the Court. (The District Court is unable to conduct official court business through e-mail.)

If you have lost or misplaced your traffic citation
use the option form provided here. Follow the instructions for completing the form, select your option, print, date, sign, and return the form to the Traffic Processing Center within 30 days after receipt of the citation. Use the Judiciary's Online Case Search to access information such as citation number, fine amount, date of the violation, and county in which you received the citation in order to have your payment or request applied correctly. For other types of citations, see below.

If you have witnesses that can support your case, you are responsible for alerting them to the date, time, and location of your trial. You have the right to retain legal counsel for the proceeding. If after receiving a trial notice you decide you would rather pay the citation than appear for trial, you may pay the fine at any time up to your trial/hearing date to avoid trial.

If you wish to request a change in the trial date, submit your request in writing to the District Court where your trial or hearing will be heard with an explanation of the circumstances that require the change and include any supporting documentation. Your request is not automatically granted; it is up to a judge to determine whether to change your trial date.

If you fail to appear for trial
, the MVA will be notified and will take action to suspend your license. Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense for which you can receive jail time.

Call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System at 1-800-492-2656 for information about trial dates, court locations, and directions.

     From all areas, including out-of-state, call: 1-800-492-2656
     TTY users call 1-800-925-9690 or use the Maryland Relay Services at 1-800-735-2258 or 711

If you need more information, please contact a clerk at the District Court of Maryland location nearest you.

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Certified Records
The Motor Vehicle Authority handles driving records. However, to obtain certified records of traffic citations, copies of tickets, charging documents, etc. contact:
District Court Traffic Processing Center at:
Telephone: 1 800-492-2656 or 410 260-1093

Red Light, Speed Monitoring, School Bus Monitoring, and Electronic Toll Citations
How and where do I file a complaint against red light, speed monitoring, school bus monitoring, and electronic toll cameras?
The red light, speed monitoring, school bus monitoring, and electronic toll cameras are installed and/or operated at the expense and direction of the locality or municipality or, if on a state highway or toll facility, by the Department of State Police or Maryland Transportation Authority. Complaints about the location or operation of these cameras should be sent to the address on the citation. In most cases this is the address of the police or state agency. Please note: these citations are not found on the Judiciary's Case Search and if a ticket was lost - please contact the local jurisdiction where you received the ticket, the Maryland State Police if on a state highway, or the Maryland Transportation Authority if it was a toll violation.

Will I be assessed points if found guilty of a red light, speed monitoring, school bus monitoring, or electronic toll violation camera citation?
As stated on the red light, speed monitoring, school bus monitoring, and electronic toll violation citations: "Payment of the penalty amount for the violation will not result in points and cannot be used to increase your insurance rates."

How do these red light, speed monitoring, school bus monitoring, and toll violation cameras work?
Various vendors manufacture the cameras used in red light, speed monitoring, school bus, and electronic toll traffic programs. For information on how these cameras operate, contact the local police department in the municipality where the camera is located or, if on a state highway or toll facility, the Maryland State Police or Maryland Transportation Authority.

For any other questions, contact the Customer Service number on the back of the citation or the jurisdiction where the citation was issued. These citation programs are operated by local and municipal governments (or, if on a state highway or toll facility, the Maryland State Police or Maryland Transportation Authority. Maryland courts only handle these citations if the person who was issued a citation requests a trial date or disputes liability.

Pleas
What are the different pleas?
In District Court cases you may plead "guilty" or "not guilty." There is no plea of "innocent."
A guilty plea results in the charge becoming a part of your record. In the case of a traffic ticket, The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) may assess points on your license.

In traffic cases, you may plead "guilty with an explanation" and appear for a hearing. The hearing presents you with an opportunity to explain to the judge why you committed the offense and request that your fine be reduced or waived or ask that you be given probation rather than a conviction because of extenuating circumstances. Lowering your fine is at the discretion of the judge. There is a possibility that your fine could be increased, up to a maximum of $500. If the judge renders a guilty verdict, you have the right to an appeal. There are non-refundable court costs for filing an appeal. If you wish to plead "not guilty," you must request and appear for a trial where the officer and any witnesses will be present.

Verdicts
When a verdict is rendered— either by a jury or judge—the actual decision is either “guilty” or “not guilty.” There is no finding of “innocent.” However, a defendant, if found "not guilty", can be described as having been acquitted. If there is a finding of "not guilty", it simply reflects the fact that the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Common resolutions of cases other than by findings of "not guilty" and "guilty" include:
Nolle Pros. The State opts to end the prosecution and dismisses the charge.
Stet. A suspension of the prosecution. The State may reopen the case without the need for the defendant to be recharged. A case may be reopened because of the defendant’s arrest on additional charges or his/her failure to live up to some agreed-to-condition within a reasonable time after the entry of the stet.
PBJ-Probation before judgment. This is a common resolution in many District Court trials. The defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty. However, the final entry of judgment is technically suspended. This gives the defendant an opportunity to request expungement of his record upon successful completion of the conditions or probation.

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