Contesting a Traffic Ticket in Maryland  

In Maryland traffic tickets or citations are contested in Maryland District Courts not at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). A citation is a form, entitled Maryland Uniform Complaint and Citation, which may be issued to you by a police officer if you violate certain motor vehicle traffic laws. The back of the citation provides information about what you must do: either pay the specified fine, or appear in Maryland District Court to contest the citation.

If you receive a traffic citation and fail to pay the fine or appear in District Court to contest it, the Court will electronically notify the MVA. The MVA then will mail you a notice that your driver’s license will be suspended unless you satisfy the court requirements by the suspension date printed on the notice.

There are two types of traffic violations in Maryland, "payable" and “must appear".

Drivers who receive "Must Appear" citations or have payable citations included with a "Must Appear" citation, will receive automatic trial date notices. 

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. You have three options if you receive a payable traffic citation; (1) pay the fine, (2) plead “guilty with an explanation” and appear for a waiver hearing or (3) request a trial date and appear 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. 

Information about your citation and its status can be found on the Judiciary’s online Case Search at:

If you choose to pay the fine on 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.