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Michigan Court Records

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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Michigan

In Michigan, state and local law enforcement disseminate traffic tickets to road users who violate state and municipal traffic laws. Traffic offenses in Michigan are categorized as felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions. Felony traffic offenses are the most severe crimes, usually resulting in bodily harm to another person. For penalty and sentencing purposes, state laws classify other traffic offenses, according to the severity, into misdemeanors and infractions. Infractions are the least severe traffic offenses, and state laws only apply penalties like fines to infractions.

Michigan state law also categorizes traffic violations into moving and non-moving violations. This categorization sometimes determines the severity of a traffic offense, whether the courts and law enforcement agencies report the crime to the Secretary of State, and the number of driving record points assessed to the offender’s record. Traffic tickets communicate the offense’s nature, the applicable penalty, and the court that will hear the traffic case.

Traffic ticket recipients may respond to tickets in two ways: recipients can either pay the ticket or contest the ticket in court. Paying the ticket is usually considered equal to admitting guilt; therefore, if a recipient chooses to resolve the ticket without contest, the court may treat the payment as an admission of guilt and penalize the offender accordingly. Recipients who choose to contest traffic tickets are usually required to appear in court on the scheduled date. Such persons may appear Pro Se or with traffic lawyers. If the defendant can prove innocence or argue the case well, the court may dismiss the case, and the defendant may not pay any fines or fees. However, if the court finds the defendant guilty, the defendant becomes subject to the penalties and fines that the court specifies.

Public records (including those pertaining to traffic violations) can also be accessed through third-party aggregate sites. These websites are a convenient alternative to government-owned resources since they are typically accessible remotely and aggregate records from multiple jurisdictions in one database. To use third-party search engines, inquirers are typically required to provide the following information:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are operated independently of government sources. Thus, record availability, accuracy, and validity may not be guaranteed.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Michigan?

Several factors must be considered in determining whether it is worth fighting a traffic ticket in Michigan. These include the nature of the offense, the applicable penalties, and the financial and legal resources available to the ticket recipient. If the crime for which the offender received a ticket is minor, only punishable by fines, and will usually not lead to points assessed on the offender’s driving record, it may be convenient to pay the ticket.

To fight a traffic ticket, recipients may require a traffic ticket attorney’s services, which may result in more expenses. In addition to court fees and fines, the recipient may also be required to pay attorney’s fees. Persons who choose to fight traffic tickets are typically expected to pay the penalties applicable to the traffic offense and other court-specified fees. If the court dismisses the case, the court typically refunds the fines; however, the court will not refund court fees. Additionally, if the court finds the defendant guilty, the defendant faces the penalties that the law stipulates.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Michigan

Persons interested in contesting traffic tickets are expected to visit the courthouse in the district or municipality where the traffic violation occurred to schedule a hearing. In Michigan, District Courts have jurisdiction over most traffic violations and traffic tickets. Municipal courts also have jurisdiction with District Courts over some traffic offenses and civil violations. However, the specific court where the ticket recipient is usually outlined, including directions to the court, is printed on the ticket.

Ticket recipients may request a formal or informal hearing. At an informal hearing, the defendant and the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket are usually present, but neither party is required to have an attorney present. At formal hearings, the issuing officer is usually represented by a prosecutor, and the defendant may also have an attorney present. In both cases, both parties may present evidence, and based on the evidence presented, the judge or magistrate may then determine whether the accused is responsible for the traffic offense. Ticket recipients are usually required to respond to the ticket within 14 days of receiving the ticket. The court enters default judgments for ticket recipients who do not respond within the stipulated time. The default judgment could lead to a license suspension, and the ticket recipient may be required to pay additional fees to lift the license suspension.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Michigan courts and counties provide payment portals for ticket recipients who want to pay for tickets online. However, persons who choose to contest traffic tickets may be expected to visit the courthouse in the district or municipality where the traffic offense occurred to contest the ticket. Michigan courts do not currently provide an electronic way to contest traffic tickets. However, ticket recipients who do not want to go to court may retain an attorney for representation and hearing. The attorney then represents the ticket recipient at court hearings.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Michigan?

Michigan traffic laws allow persons who cannot pay traffic tickets or fines due to financial hardship to request installment payment plans and payment alternatives. Payment alternatives may include non-financial options like community service and workforce development programs. Traffic ticket fines vary from county to county in Michigan.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Michigan?

To get a speeding ticket dismissed in Michigan, ticket recipients may contest the ticket in court. If the recipient can present enough evidence to convince the judge of the recipient’s innocence or an error in the ticketing process, the judge may dismiss the case. As such, if the recipient or the recipient’s attorney can prove that the ticket recipient did not break any laws in the course of the alleged offense, or if the judge considers available evidence and determines that the ticket recipient is not guilty, the judge may dismiss the ticket.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Michigan?

In Michigan, pleading guilty to a traffic ticket or paying a traffic ticket without contest may be considered an admission of guilt. Following the offender’s guilty plea, the judge or magistrate usually delivers the penalties that state laws stipulate. Depending on the offense, the ticket recipient may be penalized with fines, community service, or imprisonment. Also, paying a ticket may result in points being added to the driver’s record. Accumulation of points may lead to an increase in insurance premiums, and receiving a ticket may cause a party’s license to be suspended.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Michigan

Traffic ticket attorneys help traffic ticket recipients by offering legal advice and representation in court. Interested parties can find traffic ticket attorneys through the State Bar Association website and other legal aid organizations.

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