Traffic Tickets in Michigan – The First Thing You Should Do With a Citation

Part of my Practice includes working out Traffic Tickets. In other Blog articles I have explained how I handle Tickets, and on my Website I also discuss the general philosophy I have regarding Tickets, and the Fees I charge to handle them (about $450 to $600 for Civil Infractions, and between $1200 to $2200 for those that are Misdemeanors, or Criminal Traffic Matters that carry a potential Jail Sentence).

I also point out that my Traffic Ticket Practice is limited to Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. Given what I charge, there is no way it’s worth my time to go farther, and it’s also true that I don’t think it’s worth anyone spending much more than what I charge when they can find a local Lawyer in a distant County who can probably do the same thing that I can, and for what I charge locally.

police_ticket.jpgWhen a person gets a Ticket, the first thing they should do is decide whether or not they’re going to simply “eat it” or if they want to avoid, or at least lessen the points and other consequences of it. Given that I call not doing something about a Ticket “eating it,” you can probably already tell that I think just paying it is a dumb idea. It’s not just my professional experience that results in that conclusion.

As a Law Student, over 20-some years ago, I remember getting a Ticket and telling one of my classmates about it. At the time, I was just going to pay the Ticket and be done with it. My classmate told me that I would be crazy to just pay the Ticket. He had an older brother who was a Lawyer, and told me I should hire him and have him take care of it for me. At the time, I think I had a few points on my Record, so my big concern was that my insurance would go up.

I decided that I was willing to see what my friend’s brother could do. I plunked down his fee (reduced because I was his brother’s friend, and as a quasi-professional courtesy). My buddy’s brother went to Court with me, and wound up getting the Ticket worked out where no points would go on my Record. I paid a fine, and that was it. I had saved not only the points on my Record, but the inevitable increase in insurance rates that would have followed.

Sometimes, when people call me, they either cannot come see me within the time remaining before they have to either pay the ticket of set up a Court Date, or they may not have the money until that time has passed. So what should a person do?

Without fail, and in every Ticket Case, a person who if facing a Citation would be well-served to call the Court and at least have the matter set for an “Informal Hearing.” This will stop the clock from running, as the Court will inform the Person that they’ll be mailed a Court date some time in the future. In the meantime, they can make arrangements to hire a Lawyer.

For those who have the money and ability to jump right on it, then there’s no need to call the Court. Just hiring the Lawyer will allow the Lawyer to file Papers with the Court which will likewise “stop the clock” and cause the matter to be set for a future Court Date. For those, however, who might need a little time, calling the Court and requesting and “Informal Hearing” will result in additional time to hire the Lawyer.

When a Lawyer is hired, even if it’s the very day before the “Informal Hearing,” the Papers he or she files with the Court then causes the Citation to be re-scheduled for what’s called a “Formal Hearing,” which is where the Lawyer meets with the Prosecutor at a “Pre-Trial,” just like that in a Misdemeanor Case.