Some citizens may be more experienced in these matters but this, to my best recollection, is the first time I have ever been cited for a parking violation in Montgomery County, where I have lived for some 35 years.

Not only was I shocked by the amount, $15 for some 15 minutes' overtime, but what really astounds me is the discovery that I am suddenly a criminal. In fact, I am so guilty that the "authorities" suggest no fewer than nine times (please see the reverse side of the violation notice) that I consider hiring or consulting a lawyer/attorney to protect and/or defend me.

Come on! Are our everyday lives now so controlled by lawyers that we have to live under a great cloud of threats? I don't suggest that I didn't do something wrong, but the violation notice "charges you with the commission of a crime." What I thought was a simple violation has suddenly become "charges." Reading on, I find this "offense" may even be punishable by imprisonment.

As I write, this nation is celebrating the 4th of July -- Independence Day. One wonders if our liberty and freedom may not again be in danger if we are to be threatened and intimidated by those who make our laws and interpret them. Surely a better perspective of "criminal" offenses is needed, or must we be intimidated by lawyers who make the laws then scare us into seeking their help to defend us from those very laws they threaten us with?

D. L. CHALMERS Chevy Chase