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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Maine

In Maine, traffic tickets are issued to road users who commit traffic violations or traffic infractions. A law enforcement officer gives the formal notice, which indicates the exact traffic law that the motorist allegedly violated. Traffic infractions usually result in a range of penalties, mostly restricted to fines and probable driver’s license suspension. Not all traffic violations are punishable with jail time since most are civil cases or non-criminal offenses. However, these cases are typically strict liability offenses, meaning that the driver may be convicted for the crime regardless of the intent.

According to state law, drivers who believe that the ticket they received were wrongly issued may fight the ticket in court to have it reduced or dismissed. The district court of the town or county where the violation occurred usually addresses traffic cases. The trials are held before a judge and not a jury because it is not a criminal case. Examples of these minor traffic violations include speeding, failing to signal, seat belt violations, etc. The Judicial Branch Violations Bureau handles traffic tickets for the entire State of Maine and offers multiple options through which drivers can pay their tickets.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Maine?

Yes, it is worth it to fight a Maine traffic ticket, especially when there is sufficient proof that the ticket was issued in error. When drivers are given traffic tickets under the law, they may refuse to contest it to avoid trips to the court. However, this is not always a favorable option because paying a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt.

If the alleged offender can challenge the law under which the ticket is charged with proof and evidence, then fighting the ticket may be worth it. It is also essential to consult with a traffic attorney to determine if a case is worth fighting.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Maine

In Maine, traffic offenders can respond to tickets by paying them or contesting the ticket.

  • Pay the ticket

Paying a Maine traffic ticket is an admission of guilt and an acceptance of all associated penalties. It implies that the driver has waived the statutory right to challenge the ticket in court. In the long run, it may lead to accumulated points on the driver’s record, which may cause the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles to suspend the driver’s license.

  • Contest the Ticket

To contest the ticket, the driver may plead not guilty and request a trial. However, the individual has to be sure that there are ways to prove that the traffic ticket was issued in error. If this is the case, the individual may tick the appropriate box provided on the ticket for the “not guilty” plea, sign and date the ticket and mail it to the Maine Violations Bureau. A court trial will then follow. In a traffic violation trial, the state will call its witness(es) to testify under oath. This is usually the officer who issued the ticket. Although traffic ticket hearings are not criminal trials, the driver can cross-examine the state’s witness by asking questions relevant to the case. The judge or state’s representative may also ask the driver some questions under oath. Afterward, considering the arguments and evidence from both sides, the judge will then give a verdict.

  • Appeal

If the driver is still not pleased with the court’s ruling after a contested hearing, the case can be appealed within 21 days after the judgment. It is vital to prepare evidence such as a printed driving record, witness interviews, and other materials to help make the case. If the judge rules in the driver’s favor, the case could be dismissed or the associated penalties reduced. But the court and attorney charges will still apply. If the driver has already paid the ticket fines, the court will return them if the driver is found “not guilty.” In contrast, if the court finds the individual guilty anyway, the motorist must pay the penalties associated with the citation and the court costs.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Typically, traffic violations do not require court appearances; they are usually only reserved for more severe infractions. However, a driver who has been unjustly cited may plead not guilty and request a trial. These trials are only held in the court.

The driver must file a written answer to the ticket within 20 days of receiving it and submit it to the Violations Bureau. Eventually, the driver will receive a notice of trial by mail, which contains the trial date, time, and location. Although the driver has the liberty to request the hearing’s postponement, the case will still be addressed in court.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Maine?

To get a traffic ticket reduced in Maine, the alleged offender may ask the court to reduce the cost of fines during a court hearing. The motorist may request to have the penalties reduced with proof documents that support the request at the hearing. Afterwards, the judge may rule to dismiss the ticket, reduce the fines, or provide another amicable resolution depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. If the driver appeals a traffic case and wins the case, the ticket may be reduced or dismissed.

Can You Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Maine?

If the court determines in a contested hearing that a traffic ticket was issued in error, it may dismiss the ticket. There are no prosecuting attorneys at Maine contested hearings. Instead, the law enforcement official that issued the ticket represents the state. If the officer cannot prove that the alleged violation occurred, and the driver can present convincing evidence that the traffic ticket was unfairly issued, the court will dismiss the case and relieve the driver of all associated penalties. With speeding ticket cases, Title 29-A Maine Revised Statutes Section 2075(4)(A) requires the court to consider the results of a measurement of the driver’s speed by radar as sufficient evidence in a hearing. Hence, if the state cannot provide this evidence or any other convincing evidence, the case may be dismissed.

Alternatively, completing a court-ordered defensive driving course may lead the court to dismiss Maine traffic tickets, reduce insurance rates, and even remove demerit points from the driver’s record. After completing the program, the driver may submit the completion certificate to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. However, this option is only available to a traffic offender once in 12 months.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Maine

In Maine, pleading guilty to a ticket is pleading guilty to the violation. It means that the individual accepts paying any associated fines and acquiring demerit points on their driving record. Traffic ticketing in the state is managed centrally, allowing alleged offenders to pay for their tickets online. They can also pay via mail, over the phone, or in person, by visiting the Violations Bureau.

Mailing address:

Violations Bureau
85 Park Street, P. O. Box 480
Lewiston, ME 04243–0480
PayTixx: Toll Free 1–866-PAY-TIXX (729–8499)
Phone: (207) 783–5422
Fax: (207) 783–5465
TTY: 711 Maine Relay

It is advisable to note that any fine imposed due to entering a guilty plea must be paid to the Violations Bureau within 30 days unless a court orders otherwise. Failure to do so within the time stated on the ticket may result in the suspension of driving privileges and even more costs to reinstate it. In addition, pleading guilty to a traffic ticket usually comes with a fine and demerit points. The state of Maine uses a points system to track and penalize reckless drivers. When they are convicted of an offense, or they plead guilty to an infraction, they are awarded point values to their driving records. Accumulation of multiple points may affect the driver’s insurance rates, credit score and lead to revocation or suspension of the driver’s driving privileges in the long run.

General points on the state point system include:

  • 4 points for going 1 to 15 miles over the speeding limit
  • 6 points for going 15 to 30 miles per hour over the speeding limit

If the driver gets six demerit points, the state DMV will send a warning letter via mail to advise the driver of the current situation. Accumulating up to 12 points within a year will result in a 15-day suspension of the driver’s license. If a driver’s license is suspended multiple times (at least three times) within three years, a 120-day suspension of the individual’s license will follow.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Maine

Although traffic-related cases are civil cases and drivers can decide on self-representation, it is advisable to hire a traffic ticket attorney. Regardless of the seriousness of the traffic violation, an experienced traffic ticket attorney could ensure proper representation, preservation of rights, reduction or total dismissal of traffic tickets, and even stable insurance rates and license points. A traffic attorney could help reduce the risk of paying penalties that could be avoided.

The Maine Judicial branch does not appoint attorneys for traffic cases. Therefore a driver that intends to contest a traffic ticket is advised to hire an attorney. The state courts offer legal aid resources through the Maine state bar association lawyer referral service. Although the service charges a $25 administrative fee, the lawyers referred on the platform will not charge for the first 30 minutes of the consultation. Standard legal fees may apply for subsequent consultations.

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