Tickets – Traffic Court

 If you have been ticketed on a traffic offense, it is important to understand you have a legal right to contest the charges and retaining an attorney can be of value.  In minor traffic violations, an attorney can potentially eliminate or reduce the charge saving you money on the ticket, prevent or reduce points on your license, avoid or reduce potential Secretary of State fees and future insurance premiums, and for mere serious offenses could potentially assist you with avoiding jail time and other criminal penalties.  Additionally, if you are out of the area or can’t take time away from work to contest a ticket in Court, an attorney can appear on civil infractions and resolve the matter on your behalf without you needing to be there.

Most moving violations are civil infractions issued by a traffic ticket that have a fine as a penalty.  If you pay this ticket without contesting it, you are admitting GUILT. While traffic tickets may seem a minor inconvenience to your pocketbook, there could be a number of negative consequences from receiving one.   Points may be assessed on your driving record driver that could lead to a suspension of your driver’s license if you accumulate too many points within a set period of time.  Loss of a commercial drivers or chauffeurs license could cost your employment.  Additional consequences could include:

  • the violation remaining on your driving record for 7 years;
  • leads to an increase of your auto and life insurance rates;
  • could result in additional Driver Responsibility Fees ;
  • restrictions or suspension of your driving privileges;

DON’T CONFUSE “POINTS” WITH YOUR “DRIVING RECORD”

Points assigned by the Secretary of State from traffic violations to evaluate your driving privileges expire 2 years from the date of conviction, but most violations remain on your driving record for 7 years.  That means while the points expire, the conviction remains available for insurance companies, employers, and others to possibly see for 7 or more years.  If you receive a traffic misdemeanor, such as driving while license suspended (DWLS), drunk driving (OWI), or reckless driving, that conviction stays on your record for the rest of your life and can’t be expunged.

Most insurance companies go back  3 years or more to evaluate your premiums.  With convictions staying on your record for 7 years it is easy for insurance companies to periodically update their records and update their files on your account.  Also most insurance companies don’t rate convictions with the same point standards and expiration dates as the Secretary of State.  A 2 point violation with the Secretary of State could be calculated as a 3, 4 or 5 point violation by an insurance company’s standards and could be used to raise your premiums for years to come. You can also be turned down for auto insuranceor have your policy revoked if the company scores you as having received 7 of their eligibility violation points within 3 years.  The end result is the more points you have on your driving record for the insurance companies to find, the more you are going to be paying in car and life insurance premiums. CLICK HERE for more information.

Hiring an attorney, even on what appears to be a simple traffic violation, can help you with reducing, or in some cases preventing, points from being added to your driving record that could dramatically raise your insurance premiums.

Most Courts provide you with 10 to 21 days to pay the fine on a civil infraction moving violation (aka “traffic ticket”) or to schedule a formal hearing to contest the citation.  It is important to contact and retain an attorney as soon as possible to assist you with these matters.  The ticket will list a due date to respond.  If the Court does not receive a response from you on the matter, a DEFAULT JUDGMENT will be issued against you. A default can result in your drivers license being SUSPENDED and additional fines/costs being assessed on the violation.

Being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony traffic offense in Michigan could lead to punishments including imprisonment, probation, fines, community service, and the loss of your driving privileges.  If convicted you will also have a PERMANENT criminal record. If you have been charged with a criminal traffic offense don’t delay in obtaining legal counsel to protect your rights.

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