What to do if you Get Traffic Tickets in Maine
If you have received any traffic tickets in Maine, it will cost you anywhere from $25.00 to $500.00 depending on how serious the infraction is. With the possibility of serious out of pocket expense, it would be better to deal with the ticket as soon as possible.
Is a Court Appearance Required?
A court appearance is not required if you received a minor traffic ticket. Court is appearances are reserved for more serious infractions such as driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, causing an accident or driving under a suspended license. There are several options that are available and we will take a closer look at them.
Option 1 - Pay Your Ticket
In choosing this option, you will be admitting that you are guilty of the infraction of which you have been accused. You will need to put a check mark in the first box on the ticket and send the ticket in along with your payment within the twenty (20) day of the date on your citation.
You have also chosen to surrender your choice to stand before a judge and plead your case. Maine will assess “Demerit” points to your driver’s license depending upon how severe your infraction was. If you choose to ignore the citation within the grace period, Maine will suspend your license and you will have to pay a late fee of $50 along with any other fee that has been levied upon you.
There are four ways to pay your ticket.
1. You may pay online using a major credit card. Make sure you have your citation number and credit card number available.
2. Send in your payment by mail. You can send in a check and/or money order to the Maine Violations Bureau, 85 Park Street, PO Box 480, Lewiston, ME, 04243-0480. Make sure that you include the citation number.
3. You may also phone in your payment by calling 202-783-5422. You will need to have a credit card number ready along with the citation number.
4. You may also pay in person by going to the Maine Violations Bureau.
Option 2 - Plead Not Guilty and Request Trial
In some cases, a person feels that they have been unjustly cited. You then have the option to plead not guilty and request a trial. You can represent yourself or hire an attorney. The courts need to be aware of your choice and you have twenty (20) days in which notify them. To submit a not guilty plea, you need to check the second box on the citation, date it, and add your signature. This must be mailed to the Maine Violations Bureau.
Option 3 – Appeal Your Case
In appealing your case, you will need to choose to either represent yourself or pay for an attorney.
In choosing to represent yourself, you will need to take steps to make sure you have all of the evidence together such as printing out your driving record, interview witnesses and maybe subpoena them, and get together anything else that would be pertinent to your case. Hiring an attorney just might improve your odds of your charges being reduced or maybe even totally dismissed. An attorney could also help in keeping your insurance rates stay the same along with keeping points from appearing on your license.
In the appeal process, the judge might find you not guilty and if he does this, he could write off all of the charges which would free you from any fines and points. This would not free you from court costs and if you hire an attorney, you may still be liable for these fees. Now, if the judge decides that you are guilty, you will be paying court costs, legal fees if any, and the fines associated with the citation. You also might see a rise in your vehicle insurance rates and points may be put on your license.
Option 4 – Take an Online Defensive Driving Course
Maine does offer a chance for you to attend an accepted defensive driving course. This course would be a way for you to have your Maine traffic tickets dismissed and some demerit points deducted from your record upon completion of the course. This is made available to you online. Once you have completed the class, you need to make the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles aware by showing them your certificate. You may do this in person, or the school can submit it for you. Just remember though that your demerit points will not be deducted until the bureau receives the certificate. This option is only available to you once in a twelve (12) month period.
There are other advantages to attending a driver safety course.
- Improve your driving abilities
- Meet all state required orders
- There may even be a reduction in your driver’s insurance premium