Maine Traffic Violations
The state of Maine administers moving violations through a separate part of the courts, known as the Violations Bureau of the Maine District Court. Whether you are pulled over in Maine for a traffic violation by a local or state law enforcement officer, the traffic ticket you receive will be handled by the Violations Bureau.
When you are issued a citation, your copy will provide you with information on how to pay your ticket. While you can mail in payment of your traffic violation fine, most Maine drivers take advantage of the Maine Judiciary's website, PayTixx. At the PayTixx website, you can pay your fine within ten days of being ticketed, with no more than the citation and a credit card. If you do choose to pay your traffic violation fine and move on, you should do so within 3 weeks, but you must pay the fine within 50 days or you can expect a letter from the Violations Bureau explaining why your Maine driving privileges are being suspended.
While some traffic violations can be a small fine, many other violations are extremely costly in Maine. Violations may cost you as much as $500 in addition to the increased insruance costs most people experience when incurring a traffic violation. For this reason, you may wish to dispute the merits of your traffic violation with a Maine district court.
To dispute a traffic violation, it is first wise to make sure you are not wasting the court's time. If you choose to appear in court to challenge the law enforcement officer's charge against you and you lose, the Maine court may impose additional court fees and fines. If you feel you have a legitimate case in opposition of your traffic vioaltion, however, your citation witll contain contact information for you to mail to the Violations Bureau a written request for a hearing.
Within a few weeks, the Violations Bureau will send you a notice of your scheduled hearing. You must show up to your hearing or risk a bench warrant for your arrest and further fines. At your hearing, you will have a chance to explain to a judge your side of the story and receive a ruling that day. If you prevail, the violation will be dismissed and nothing will appear on your Maine driving record.
Alternatively, you may wish to appear in front of a Maine Violations Bureau court and plead guilty. While this likely won't preclude a conviction, the Maine court may consider offering you an opportunity to participate in a Maine driver improvement program, traffic school or defensive driving course in exchange for dismissing the charges from your record. It is likely wise to consult with an attorney if you wish to request this type of agreement from the court.
Maine Points System
If your traffic violation does end up on your Maine driving record, Maine's Bureau of Motor Vehicles ("BMV") will also assign demerit points against your Maine driving record. These points remain on your record for a calendar year after you have either paid your fine or been convicted of the traffic violation at your hearing. Below is a detailed but not exhaustive list of the points attached to your Maine driving record depending on the nature of your traffic violation:
- Failure to Dim Headlights
- Failure to Signal
- Excessive Noise
- Speeding Around a Curve
- Illegal Turns
- Impeding Flow of Traffic
- Obstructing Traffic Flow
- Operating without lights
- Driving Too Slowly
- Squealing Tires
- Speeding by more than 15 mph
- Failure to Yield
- Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle
- Failure to Yield to Pedestrian
- Ignoring Right of Way
- Ignoring a Stop Sign
- Ignoring a Stop Light
- Operating with an Obstructed View
- Operating without a License
- Impruent Driving
- Driving on Wrong Side of Road
- Speeding by 15 - 30 mph
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Ignoring License Restrictions
- Transportation, Possession, or Consumption of Alchol by a Minor
- Passing within 100 feet of Intersection
- Passing on Curves or Hills
- Passing on the Wrong Side
- Using False ID to Obtain Liquor
- Transportation, Possession, or Consumption of Narcotics by a Minor
These are just a few of the traffic violations that will result in points being asigned against your record. If you commit a traffic violation, you should ask the law enforcement officer issuing you the citation or the Maine court handling your traffic violation what the demerit points repercussions are. You may also have an opportunity to have the points assigned against your Maine driving record offset by a points credit. Maine's Violations Bureau assigns one "credit point" to your Maine driving record for every year you stay traffic-vioaltion and license-suspension free, up to four credit points. You can only use these points once per year to offset deemrit points against your Maine driving record and you will still have the traffic violation itself appear on your record. However, these credit points can prevent you from having your Maine driving privileges impaired in the event of a serious traffic violation or a series of them in a small amount of time. One other way to obtain credit points is to participate in the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety's Maine Driving Dynamics course, which will provide you with three additional credit points. You may only take this class once during any given year.
Suspension of Your Maine Driving Privileges
If you accumulate 6 net demerit points in a single year, the Maine BMV will notify you that you are halfway to having your Maine driving privileges suspended. Once you rack up 12 points without any credit points to offset them, your Maine driving privleges will be suspended by the Maine BMV for a minimum of 15 days. While you will be entitled to request a hearing to explain your side of the situation, you will have to provide clear evidence as to why you have accumulated these points in a unique manner that would justify not suspending your Maine driving privileges. Again, you may wish to consult an attorney if you intend to request a hearing, as you will be speaking with the Maine district court.
Accumulating demerit points is not the only way to have your Maine driving privileges suspended. You can also lose your Maine driving privileges if you fail to obtain adequate automobile insurance, receive a citation for a DUI, attempt to elude a law enforcement officer while being pulled over, leaving the scene of an accident in which someone was injured, speeding by more than 30 mph, lying to law enforcement officers during a traffic stop, passing a stopped school bus or driving on an already-suspended license.
While many of these offenses will result in an automatic suspension of your Maine driving privileges, a Maine Driving Dynamics course can help you reduce points on your record and potentially save you from having your Maine driving privileges suspended.
Attending Traffic School in Maine
The Maine Driving Dynamics course is a Maine driver improvement program designed to teach participants defensive driving skills and safe driving habits, as well as promote the imperative of sober driving. The class lasts close to six hours, is free, can be taken once per year and will provide 3 credit points to your Maine driving record upon your succsessful completion, helping you to avoid a suspension of your Maine drivign privileges. The class is taught a few times per month. To find out if you are eligible to participate in the course, the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety can asnwer your questions via telephone at (800) 525-1252.
Unfortunately, the Maine Driving Dynamics course will not remove traffic violations from your record altogether and, therefore, likely will have no impact on the negative effect your Maine traffic violation will have on insurance premiums. However, you may be able to ask the Maine court overseeing your traffic violation if a Maine online traffic school or driver improvement program can help you reduce or dismiss your violatio and prevent an increase to your insurance premiums. Maine's Violations Bureau courts have jurisdiction over Maine online traffic schools and your violation, and so you may be able to participate in a Maine online traffic school or driver improvement program for a more lenient or dismissed charge. If you are interested in finding out if this is an option for you, you should contact the court in advance of your traffic violation hearing, or discuss the matter at your hearing with the Maine Violations Bureau judge. The likelihood of receiving such treatment will depend heavily on your previous Maine driving record and the particular type of infraction you were involved in. Needless to say, the cleaner your Maine driving record was before this traffic violation, the better.
The Benefits of a Clean Maine Driving Record
A clean Maine driving record helps you in many ways. By keeping your Maine driving record as clean as possible, you help avoid a suspension of your Maine driving privileges, prevent stern court orders in the event you are convicted of a traffic offense, and eliminate increases in your car insurance premiums. In fact, a clean Maine driving record may even qualify you for an insurance discount.
Maine Mature Drivers Insurance Discount
Many insurance companies offer insurance discounts for drivers who make up a statistically-greater portion of all traffic vioations. If you are a Maine Mature Driver, a driver over the age of 55, your insurancee carrier likely will grant you an opportunity to participate in a Maine driver improvement program or a Maine onlinetraffic school in an effort to refresh you on safe driving habits and improve your overall defensive driving sklills. By showing your auto insurance provider that you are intent on being a safe driver through successful completion of a Maine online traffic school or Maine online driver improvement program, you have an opportunity to see your insurance costs drop significantly.
Maine Juvenile Drivers Insurance Discount
Maine Juvenile drivers, drivers under the age of 18, may be eligible for similar opportunities. If you are a Maine juvenile driver, or are a parent of a Maine juvenile driver, you should contact your auto insurance company to see what types of Maine driver improvement programs are available to help lower insurance premiums that, for young drivers, can often be very expensive. Insurance discounts can often save you hundreds to thousands of dollars annually, and the longer you maintain a safe driving record from a young age, the further your insruance premiums will drop.
Maine Classroom Traffic Schools
If you would like a list of location for traditional classroom-style Maine traffic school or driver improvement programs, or locations to particpate in the Maine Drivign Dynamics course, you can call the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety at (800) 525-1252, or contact a Maine BMV office. You can also write into the Maine BMV at the address below to see if they provide a list of Maine pre-approved brick-and-mortar traffic schools:
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Driver License Services Division
29 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0029