The traffic division handles tickets filed with the court involving:
- Civil Infraction violations including traffic, state, and municipal civil infractions
- Misdemeanor violations punishable by up to 90-days in jail
WHERE DOES MONEY PAID ON TRAFFIC TICKETS GO?
Traffic revenue distributions are explained in detail by the State of Michigan House of Representatives House Fiscal Agency.
WHAT IS A CIVIL INFRACTION?
A civil infraction is a violation that is punishable by fines and costs. Civil Infraction proceedings begin when a person (defendant) receives a ticket.
Once receiving a civil infraction ticket, the court allows 10 days from the date the ticket was issued for the defendant to enter a plea. Pleas are accepted in person, by representation, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail. Plea options are printed on the back of the ticket. Plea options include:
Admission of responsibility
- Admit responsibility with explanation
- Deny responsibility
If a person does not enter a plea on a civil infraction violation within 10 days, the court will enter a default judgment.
A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is punishable by imprisonment or by a fine that is not a civil fine.
Persons issued a citation for a misdemeanor traffic offense must enter a plea with the court within 10 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued. Persons may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty in person, by representation, by e-mail at email@example.com or by mail. *The court may require personal appearance for certain offenses.
If a person fails to answer a citation within 10 calendar days, the court may issue a warrant and/or suspend driving privileges.
Persons may review a court form entitled : Plea by Mail. This form explains a persons rights with regard to misdemeanor violations. These rights pertain to all misdemeanor traffic violations.
If a defendant admits responsibility the court finds the defendant responsible for the infraction, and imposes the appropriate sanctions. *See back of ticket for area to sign when admitting responsibility. Plea must be received by the court within 10 days of the date the ticket was issued.
If a plea is not entered with the court within 10 days, a default judgment is entered. The court assesses a late fee of $15.00 when a default judgment is entered.
WHAT IS A DEFAULT JUDGMENT?
A default is a determination of responsibility that is entered by the court after a defendant fails to respond to a traffic ticket or to appear for a scheduled hearing. The court assesses a late fee of $15.00 for default judgments.
**Failure to answer a citation or a notice to appear in court for a traffic ticket can also result in license suspension. Moreover, such failure is a misdemeanor.
Yes. A defendant must make this request within 14 days of the day on which the court sends notice of the default.
- The request must be in writing and must explain the reason for the defendant's failure to appear. The request must state that the defendant wants to offer a defense to or explanation of the complaint.
- A cash bond must be posted equal to the fines/costs as specified in the default judgment.
- **Forms are available from the court.
Once the defendant has filed a timely request to have the default set aside, the court, for "good cause" may schedule a hearing on the defendant's request.
An untimely request to set aside a default must comply with additional requirements set forth in MCR (Michigan Court Rule) 2.603(D).
WHAT HAPPENS IF A PERSON FAILS TO PAY A JUDGMENT ENTERED AFTER A DEFAULT OR FINDING OF RESPONSIBILITY?
They are guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be subject to criminal prosecution. Additionally, they may face the following civil sanctions:
- License suspensions
- Contempt of court proceedings
- Civil process to collect the judgment
ADMIT RESPONSIBILITY WITH EXPLANATION
To admit responsibility with an explanation, the defendant should attach a written explanation to the ticket. The explanation should describe what occurred as well as any special circumstances that the defendant wishes the court to consider. A magistrate will review the ticket and your explanation. You will be notified by mail of the magistrate's decision.
If a plea is not entered with the court within 10 days from the date the ticket was issued, a default judgment is entered.
If a defendant denies responsibility, he/she may choose to have their case heard in one of two ways:
Informal Hearing - a hearing before an authorized District Court magistrate. Request may be made verbally or in writing. Attorneys are not allowed. The court, upon receiving a request for an informal hearing, will notify the citing officer(s) and the defendant of the hearing date/time. The officer and defendant may bring witnesses to testify to their observations of the violation. All persons appearing in court for an informal hearing must check in at the traffic window.
Formal Hearing - a hearing before the District Court judge. Request for a formal hearing must be made in writing. Attorneys are allowed. Citing officer(s) are represented by the prosecuting or city/township attorney. A defendant may be represented by an attorney, however it is not required. The court upon receiving a request for a formal hearing will notify the prosecuting attorney and the defendant of the hearing date/time. The prosecution will notify the citing officer(s) to appear at this hearing. The defendant may bring witnesses to testify to their observations of the violation. All persons appearing in court for a formal hearing must check in at the court window.
If a plea is not entered with the court within 10 days of the date the ticket was issued, a default judgment is entered.
Yes. A defendant has seven (7) days after an informal hearing to request an appeal. The defendant must post a bond in the amount of the fines/costs of the violation. If uncertain of the bond amount required, please call the traffic division at 1-231-627-8853. A formal hearing will be scheduled in front of the judge.