Generally speaking, traffic offenses are non-criminal and are referred to as Civil Infractions. However, that does not mean they are not important. The impact a traffic offense and the points that come with it on someone’s license, ability to drive and therefore their job, can be very significant. The West Michigan Defense Team handles all types of traffic tickets, including those affecting a commercial drivers license. If you’ve been issued a ticket, before you simply pay it and suffer the consequences, contact the West Michigan Defense Team for help and guidance.
To fight a traffic offense you have two options – (1) a formal hearing; or (2) an informal hearing.
If you choose to have a formal hearing, you are entitled to have an attorney represent you and the West Michigan Defense Team can help. A formal hearing is held before a District Court judge and the officer who wrote the citation will be represented by the local prosecuting attorney’s office. At the formal hearing the prosecutor will have to provide evidence, typically through the eyewitness testimony of the officer who wrote the citation, as to what violation, if any, you may have committed. Your attorney has a right to cross-examine the officer and to call into question the accuracy of his or her testimony.
You can also testify on your own behalf, or have eyewitnesses to the incident testify. Your attorney can question you and your witnesses and elicit information and evidence that is favorable to you in an effort to avoid being found “responsible” for the issued citation.
The standard of proof that must be met is what attorneys and judges call “preponderance of the evidence”. This means that if the prosecutor can show that “more likely than not” you committed the traffic offense, then you will be found responsible for the citation and have to pay fines and court costs and receive the associated points on your drivers license.
If you choose an informal hearing, the same process takes place with one big difference – nobody is allowed to be represented by attorneys. It is just you, the officer and any witnesses testifying before either a judge or a magistrate under the same “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
You may also be eligible for the Michigan Driver Improvement Program. This is a fairly new program that can keep you on the road and keep points off your license. The following link will bring you to the homepage for the Michigan Driver Improvement Program for further information.