Lesser charge chosen for crosswalk stings

November 07, 2003|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Howard County police plan to use a law that carries a less stringent penalty to charge people caught in crosswalk stings, officials said this week.

Instead of using the crosswalk law, police will impose negligent driving charges on violators who fail to stop for a plainclothes officer crossing on the marked pavement, county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.

The negligent driving citation allows violators to pay a $270 fine without appearing in court and carries no jail time, Llewellyn and a local lawyer said. In contrast, a person charged under the crosswalk law must go to court and face a maximum penalty of two months in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

Police Chief Wayne Livesay made the change Monday after reviewing the county's crosswalk enforcement program, which has resulted in about 75 citations since the beginning of the year, Llewellyn said.

"As the chief learned about the law and spoke to the officers conducting the operations, he really just didn't feel comfortable with the must-appear requirement ... and the potential for jail time," she said.

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