Practice Areas / Criminal Defense / Civil Infractions
All civil infractions are handled at the district court level. A civil infraction case begins when a police officer issues a Uniform Law Citation, commonly referred to as “a ticket,” alleging that an individual has violated the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code or a local ordinance. The maximum penalties that can be imposed by a judge or magistrate for a civil infraction conviction are fines, costs and fees (no jail time). However, points may also be added to your driving record by the Secretary of State as a result of your conviction. If you have too many points on your driving record, the Secretary of State may place you on probation or suspend your license. Too many points on your driving record can also increase your auto insurance rates. Some of the most common traffic civil infraction cases include:
- Improper Lane Use
- Defective Equipment
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Disobeying a Traffic Control Device
- Failure to Wear a Safety Belt
- Careless Driving
- Impeding Traffic
- Refused Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)
The defendant generally has 14 days to respond to the ticket in one of the following ways:
- Admit responsibility for the violation and pay the amount indicated.
- Admit responsibility for the violation with an explanation and pay the amount indicated.
- Deny responsibility and ask the court for an informal hearing where you and the officer can explain to the judge or magistrate what happened. Attorneys are not allowed at informal hearings.
- Deny responsibility and ask for a formal hearing where the prosecutor will have to show that a law or ordinance was violated. You may hire an attorney to represent you at a formal hearing.
If you, the defendant, fail to respond to the ticket within 14 days, the district court will enter a default judgment against you and will notify Secretary of State. If you still fail to pay the ticket after a default has been entered against you, the district court and Secretary of State will assess additional costs and you could be held in contempt of court, giving the district court judge authority to order jail time.
Even if you believe you are guilty of the offense that lead to the officer issuing you a ticket, it is always best to contact an attorney to determine if it’s possible to have your ticket reduced to a different charge, perhaps with less points or lower fines. Ms. Leimback handles all civil infraction cases and has successfully negotiated reductions and dismissals of traffic violations at formal hearings on behalf of clients at numerous district courts in Southeast Michigan.