Contest a Ticket

To contest (dispute) a traffic ticket, follow the directions on your paper ticket or use our online service, Guide & File. To contest or take other actions regarding a traffic ticket through Guide & File, you must set up an account and have an email address.

If you misplace your ticket and wish to contest it, you may look up the case through the Odyssey Portal or call the Violations Bureau at (207) 783-5422.

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR GUIDE & FILE USERS:  There may be a some processing delay from the time you receive a traffic ticket until it is available online. Before attempting to take action online, verify that your traffic case is in the system using the Odyssey Portal.

Receiving a trial date

If you contest one or more violations on your ticket within the time allowed to respond, you will receive a Notice of Trial by mail. The Notice of Trial lists the date, time and location of your trial. You may request a continuance (postponement) of your traffic trial through Guide & File or by mail. Continuances must be reviewed and will not be automatically granted.

Where will your trial be held?

Traffic violation cases are heard in the District Court in the jurisdiction of the town in which the violation(s) were alleged to have occurred. District Court locations and contact information.

All traffic trials are held before a judge. You do not have a right to a trial by jury for a traffic violation.

Submitting Proof Documents

If one or more of the violations charged was for failure to produce a valid driver’s license, valid learner’s permit, valid vehicle registration, or valid vehicle insurance, you may submit proof of having these documents at the time you submit your response to the ticket (“Answer”), or you may bring proof when you go to trial. 

Valid proof documents must indicate that the credential or insurance was in effect at the date and time of the alleged violation. For alleged insurance and registration violations, the proof must indicate the vehicle described on your ticket.

How to submit proof documents

1. Mail a clear copy of your valid proof document(s) to the Violations Bureau or bring a copy to the District Court that is handling the case on the day of your trial. OR

2. Upload your proof document(s) through Guide & File. Choose the “Contest a Ticket” interview. You must have the ability to scan and upload the proof document at issue in a PDF format. More information on how to do this may be found on the Traffic Violations FAQs page.

Traffic Violations Trial Process

On the date and time of your traffic trial, you must appear at the location of the District Court indicated on your Notice of Trial. If you do not appear in court and have not received a continuance (postponement) for your case ahead of time, the court will enter a Default Judgment against you and assess a fine. 

At the courthouse, your case will be called along with numerous other cases. The judge may ask whether you wish to speak with the representative of the State about your case, proceed to trial, or change your answer to “Not Contested.”

Speaking with the representative for the State before entering a plea

If available, you may choose to speak with the representative for the District Attorney (representing the State of Maine) concerning your case before deciding whether to go to trial. This individual may be an Assistant District Attorney or, in some courts, a law enforcement officer.

You do not have to speak with the State’s representative. This individual does not represent you. He or she cannot give you legal advice about what to do. 

The State’s representative can tell you what disposition (result) he or she would recommend to the court if you decide not to contest the case. You do not have to accept that recommendation. You may choose to propose a different plan for resolving your case by agreement or you may reject the offer and go to trial.

What happens in a traffic trial

In a traffic violation trial, the State will begin by calling its witness(es). Usually, this includes the officer who gave you the ticket. The officer testifies under oath. 

You have a right to ask the officer questions if you wish. Once the State is finished presenting its case, you have the right to call witnesses and testify yourself if you wish. If you choose to testify, you will do so under oath. You may be asked questions by the State’s representative or the judge handling the case. Once both sides are finished with their presentations, the judge will tell you her or his decision.

General information on traffic violations trials

If you decide to go forward with a hearing, please keep in mind:

  • Traffic violation cases are civil cases (as opposed to criminal cases). This means the “standard of proof” necessary to find that you committed the violation charged is by a “preponderance of the evidence,” not “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard required in a criminal case. Put another way, the State needs to show that it is “more likely than not” that you committed the violation.
  • You may not be sentenced to jail for a traffic violation. The range of sentences is restricted to a fine and a possible suspension of your right to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Maine.
  • The State does not need to prove that you “intended” to, for example, exceed the speed limit, or that you “knew” you were committing the violation, only that you did in fact commit the violation(s) charged.
  • With respect to speeding ticket cases, Title 29-A Maine Revised Statutes Section 2075(4)(A)  requires the judge to find that the results of a measurement of your motor vehicles speed by radar must be considered “prima facie” or sufficient evidence that your motor vehicle was in fact proceeding at the speed measured by the radar. 

Deadline for paying a traffic fine

Any fine imposed as a result of entering a plea of “Not Contested” or a disposition of “Adjudicated to Have Committed the Violation” is payable to the Violations Bureau within 30 days unless a judge orders otherwise. 

Appeals

If you wish to appeal the decision made by the judge, you have 21 days to do so. You will be required to pay the fine and filing fee for any appeal made. If you are successful on appeal, you will receive your fine money back.