Thursday, January 20, 2011

Driver Wins Ticket Challenge, State Says Pay Up or Else

Not long ago we reported on a driver who, believing he was issued a ticket in error by the Maryland SafeZones program, successfully fought his citation in court.  In the process, he uncovered a report documenting that the type of speed camera used by the state has a known software defect which can result in speeding violations being assigned to the wrong vehicle.  He never had the chance to present all of the extensive evidence he collected because the citation was dismissed for other reasons first.  He walked out of court on January 4rth with no fines or court costs.  End of story, right?  Nope!  Two week later on January 18 he received  an "OVERDUE NOTICE" in the mail for the very same ticket he had successfully challenged, threatening him with additional penalties if he did not pay.

The notice states:
"On 10/28/2010, a Work Zone Speed Monitoring System Citation was mailed to you.  Your failure to pay or contest liability by 11/27/2010, the date stated on the Citation, is an admission of liability and the civil penalty of $40.00 is past due.  The failure to pay this past due obligation may result in the suspension of the motor vehicle registration and/or may result in the refusal to register the motor vehicle.  On 02/11/2011, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will place a flag on our vehicle's record and withhold the renewal application for your vehicle registration pending full satisfaction of all fines and costs, which will include an additional $30.00 administrative flag fee per citation."

Apparently the state of Maryland is a sore loser.

The ticket recipient was not pleased, having already expended considerable effort successfully(he thought) challenging a ticket, which he says was issued when both his cruise control and his GPS had shown his speed was far below the speed recorded on the ticket.  "If this isn't harassment and black mail then I don't know what is."  he wrote to us in an email "My cost of fighting a wrongly issued ticket of $40 has exceeded $500.  Why should I continue to suffer and waste my money and time because of their mistakes?"   That's a very good question.

We previously reported that in Forest Heights drivers who requested hearings for speed camera tickets kept getting late notices with additional penalties and threats to suspend their registration weeks after requesting a court hearing.  We've also received reports from drivers who received tickets from Baltimore City which showed another person's vehicle, and weeks or months after the city told them the tickets were taken care of they got late penalty notices.  If you've had similar experiences please contact us.