Many people get traffic tickets in Michigan, and most drivers do not fight the ticket. Some common traffic civil infractions include speeding, failing to wear a seatbelt, failing to yield, or disobeying traffic lights or signs. However, there are also misdemeanor traffic violations, meaning criminal traffic violations, and it is important to be aware that once you have a conviction for one of these, you can never remove it from your record. At the Neumann Law Group, our Grand Rapids and Traverse City traffic ticket lawyers can help drivers who are confronting these situations. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Kelly Neumann recognizes the importance of keeping your record clean and minimizing the consequences of any allegations.Fighting a Michigan Traffic Ticket
Traffic tickets may be either civil infractions or misdemeanors. The former do not carry a jail term, although they likely carry points. These may be applied to your driving record, and you may need to pay a fine. Points may affect your insurance premiums. After two years, the points associated with a civil infraction are dropped from your driving record, which lasts for a 10-year period. If you get too many points, however, the Secretary of State may suspend your license or put you on probation.
A misdemeanor, by contrast, carries a potential jail sentence, points, fines, and costs. For example, a first drunk driving offense or driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor charge. This stays on your record and counts as a prior criminal offense should you ever be charged with some other crime. You may not have it expunged (set aside), and it may affect your ability to have other crimes expunged from your record.
If you receive a traffic ticket, you should review the front and back of the ticket, which will inform you about how to respond to the ticket. You may either admit responsibility and pay a fine or deny responsibility and request a formal hearing before a district judge or magistrate in the district court that is closest to the place where you received the ticket. At the formal hearing, the prosecutor will need to prove a violation beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard. A traffic ticket attorney can represent you at the hearing.
A default judgment will be issued if the deadline passes without your responding to the ticket. Default judgments in traffic matters are reported to the Secretary of State, who is authorized to add points to your record. An accumulation of points may result in a suspended license. You may also receive an order to show cause as to why you should not be held in contempt. Alternatively, a bench warrant may be issued. You may be sent to jail if you are found in civil contempt, and a failure to respond entails further costs.Consult a Traffic Ticket Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
Many people in Michigan ignore traffic tickets or simply admit guilt in order to avoid the hassle of appearing in court. Some drivers assume that there will be no serious consequences. This may be a misguided assumption to make. Traverse City and Grand Rapids traffic ticket attorney Kelly Neumann is available to advise you on whether you should challenge a ticket and can represent you if you do. The Neumann Law Group also represents drivers in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities across the Upper Peninsula. Our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning trial attorney. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment. We also can assist you if you need a drug crime lawyer or representation in fighting another type of criminal charge.