Q: I was given a ticket on I-95N for Maryland's TA 22-223 (c) by a Sheriff. Can I fight this with lawyer or pay the fine?
It was on 01/11/2023 at 7:43 PM on I-95 North at MM 80. There was slight fog and I was using my High Beam of headlights. After a while a cop was following me for less than half mile and then gave me a ticket with Maryland's TA - 22-223 (c) in Harford county. Ticket says I need to pay $60 fine and no mention of points. Can I fight this? As I'm worried will this affect my driving history and raise my insurance in the long run. Or just pay the fine and do not worry about anything.
A: Subsection (c) of this section of the Code makes it a violation to drive behind another vehicle within 300 feet with your high beams on. It is unclear how this officer determined you were violating that section, as the officer was behind you. The charge is not a moving violation and carries no points, so it should have no impact on your insurance rates. Payment of the fine will result in a conviction on your Maryland driver's record, and an entry showing the charge and date of offense, with no points. It will have no effect on your driving privilege. If you request a trial (not a waiver hearing) and the officer fails to show up, you will be found not guilty and there will be no entry on your driver's record. If the officer shows, you can argue (1) you didn't have your high beams on; (2) if you did, you were not driving behind another vehicle within 300 feet; and/or (3) the officer who pulled you over had no probable cause to do so as he could not possibly ascertain, from behind your vehicle, whether you had your high beams on or not, or reasonably estimate the distance between the front of your car and any car ahead of yours (depending on traffic conditions, such as bumber to bumper traffic). If you lose and are found guilty, you can request a "PBJ" which a judge has the discretion to grant. You'd still pay a fine and costs with a PBJ, but you'd get no conviction and there would be no entry on your driving record. You can pay a lawyer to defend you, but it will cost a lot more than the fine.
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