Don't Let a Traffic Ticket Affect Your Record

March 14, 2018

Traffic tickets are a fact of life. Just like death and taxes, as the saying goes.

Don’t let traffic tickets hurt your driving record. Avoid points on your license and insurance rate hikes. Speak to a lawyer to see your options. 

Here is an outline of your two options when you receive a traffic ticket.

Formal Hearing

A formal hearing is a trial. A lawyer may represent you at the trial. An informal hearing is a trial over the ticket but without an attorney.

At the hearing, the prosecutor gets to go first. The prosecutor will present the police officer or witnesses on the stand. These people will present testimony regarding the alleged civil infraction.

After the prosecution presents their case, then it’s your turn. You may testify in your own defense and call witnesses as well. 

Formal Hearings Are Not Criminal Trials

Civil infractions are not crimes, although it may feel like a crime. There are key differences between formal hearings and criminal trials. 

First, there is no jury. The judge alone makes the final decision on whether the civil infraction was committed. 

Second, the prosecution must prove that you committed the civil infraction only by a preponderance of the evidence. This means the prosecutor must show it is more likely than not that you committed the infraction. This is not very hard to do. 

In a criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is a much higher burden to reach than preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, it’s more difficult to win these traffic ticket trials than a criminal trial. 

Negotiate a Deal

Working out a deal with the prosecutor is the second option for dealing with traffic tickets. This is where we make an agreement that you will admit responsibility for one ticket in exchange for a dismissal for the original ticket. 

For example, let’s say you’ve been charged with speeding, an offense that would put two points on your driving record. The goal would be to work out a deal in which you admit responsibility to the offense of impeding traffic, a zero-point offense, in exchange for a dismissal of the speeding ticket. The obvious benefit to you is preventing two points from going on your license. 

Speak To A Lawyer Before Paying Your Ticket

It is worth your time and money to have an attorney deal with your ticket. Don’t settle for points on your record. Make sure those points never go on your record in the first place. 

Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Call at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at [email protected] to speak with Sam Bernstein. ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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