Fighting Speed Monitoring Camera Tickets in Maryland
You get home from work. You open the mailbox and take out the mail. You see a letter from the state of Maryland titled "CITATION SPEED MONITORING VIOLATION." The citation is dated a week ago, maybe longer. The car in the picture is yours. The license plate is visible, and it's yours. In the citation, you're asked to pay the fee or contest. Most people will simply pay the citation. But if you want to fight it, below is one tip that may carry the day:
Tip 1: Request the presence of the "Speed Monitoring System Operator."
If you fight the ticket, you'll be given a court date and have an informal trial. The state bears the burden of proof. You're wondering how will the state prove that the camera is correct and that you were speeding. Easy! In Maryland, the court will accept the following as proof that the camera was operating properly:
A certificate alleging that the violation occurred and that other requirements have been satisfied, sworn to, or affirmed by a duly authorized law enforcement officer employed by or under contract with an agency, based on inspection of recorded images produced by a speed monitoring system.
This won't be good enough for you! You're going to request that the "speed monitoring system operator" appear in court and give testimony. You must make this request in writing at least 20 days before trial. The citiation will list the address to which you must send the request. Don't delay. Also keep a copy of your written request. You'll need to bring it to court.
Don't mistake the police officer for the "speed monitoring system operator."
Even if you request the presence of the speed monitoring system operator, no one will tell you whether that person is or is not present at trial. Instead, your case will be called and a uniformed police officer will likely appear on behalf of the state. DO NOT ASSUME that the police officer is the "speed monitoring system operator."
Make it clear to the court that you've requested the presence of the speed monitoring system operator." Show the court the copy of your written request. If the speed monitoring system operator is not prescent in court, say the following or something similiar: "Your honor, given that I requested the presence of the 'speed monitoring system operator' and that person is not present here in court today to testify, I move to dismiss the case against me."