I disagree. It is ABSOLUTELY worthwhile to go to court in Maryland. Points equal insurance problems.
At the risk of jinxing myself, it has been nearly 10 years since my last speeding ticket in Maryland. I need to contact the MVA as you can pay a fee to have your driving record 'expunged' after a number of years. This is very important since a clear record is very helpful if the day ever comes that you are involved in a serious (lawsuit/jail) traffic offense. It used to be 7 years before you could expunge your record.
Twenty or so years ago you could plead 'Not Guilty' in Maryland and tell the judge your sob story. I listened to several people whose cases were called ahead of mine admit they were speeding and then told their story. The judges always ruled, "Guilty by your own admission." so I learned to say that I was not certain of my speed at the time the officer stopped me. Not a lie since how often do you know exactly what you speed is and you may not have known you were exceeding the limit. I got points eliminated by that strategy but still got the fine.
That defense is riskier now since Maryland instituted the "Guilty with an explanation" plea. You basically plead guilty but you are giving the judge a chance to go easy on you based on your sob story. If you plead "Innocent" you better be able to prove it.
With your record, expect to pay the fine but the points will be cut by half and possibly eliminated entirely. You could also get lucky and have the case dismissed if the officer fails to appear although you are sometimes rescheduled if the officer has provided a compelling reason for his absence in advance. I think the officer dropped your speed to encourage you to NOT show up because "Aw, it's only one point." and he gets the easy win.
Whatever you choose to do, wear a suit or jacket and tie (no hat or caps, please) and be VERY respectful. Wish the judge "Good morning/afternoon, your Honor". Tell your story briefly in as natural a voice as you can muster (practice ahead of time, you'll be surprised how shaky your voice will become when you speak in a court room). Answer the questions asked, precisely. Do NOT volunteer anything further. Remember to thank the judge, afterwards.
DO NOT WATCH JUDGE JOE BROWN, etc. for hints on appropriate courtroom behavior. I have yet to see a Judge laugh while court was in session.
Bring your check book or a charge card as you will have to pay the cashier before you leave.
Here's a breakdown Maryland's point system.
Maryland MVA Point System - Guide to MD MVA Points & Suspensions - DMV.ORG
The Point System
In Maryland, each moving violation offense is assessed a number (or point value) from one to 12. You must be convicted of the offense for the points to go into effect on your driving record. The higher the number, the more weight the offense has against your record (and ultimately your bank account).
These amassed points for infractions remain on your driving record indefinitely. But the real measure of how well you're doing is simply what you've accrued for the past two years at any time.
Three to four points over the course of a two-year period will result in the MVA issuing a written caution. The warning is just a friendly heads-up that accruing another infraction will result in more stern measures.Amass five to seven points in a two-year period and the MVA will insist you sign up for a Points System Conference (PSC) and/or attend a Driver Improvement Program (DIP). The programs are offered by various third-party providers across the state and the fees vary with each.
When you tally eight to 11 points in a two-year time frame, you might start questioning whether you are becoming a detriment to the road. You will have plenty of time to ponder because, at this point, the MVA will suspend your license.
Hitting the high-water mark, or accruing at least 12 points in a two-year period, will result in the MVA sending out a "notice of revocation." You will be asked to relinquish your license to an MVA office and once the revocation period expires you'll have to apply for a new license.
What you may deem as rather strict punishment, the state sees as concern for the greater good. So when you tip the total at as little as three points gathered in a two-year period, you most likely will see a form of action taken, albeit not a harsh one. Exceed that by much more and watch out―you just might end up enrolled in driving reform school.
Points per Offense
Most moving infractions that do not cause an accident are assessed one point. Maryland has a comprehensive list of offenses and the points attached to them, but here is a quick overview of the most frequent:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - 12
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs - 12
Unlawful use of your driver's license - 12
Loaning or borrowing a driver's license - 12
Speeding (9 miles per hour (MPH) or less) - 1
Speeding (10 MPH and over) - 2
Speeding (30 MPH and over) - 5
Driving without a license - 5
Speed contests - 5
Driving alone with a permit - 5
Driving without proof of insurance - 5
Reckless driving - 6
Driving with a suspended license - 3
Failure to stop at a red light - 2
Failure to stop for a school bus - 2
Improper turn - 1
Clicking off your lights to evade identification - 8
Failure to yield - 1