Traffic Ticket FAQ in Michigan

I just received a traffic ticket. What do I do?

Read both sides of the ticket carefully, paying close attention to the due date. You must submit a plea to the court listed on your citation by this date. You will have three plea options:

The ticket will disclose full information on how to respond. If you have questions, call the court listed on your traffic ticket.

How many days do I have until I must respond to my citation?

This will depend on the district you were ticketed in. Some districts may allow 10 days, others 14, and some even give you 21 days.

What will happen if I don't respond by the ticket's due date?

The court will issue a default judgment, which usually comes with a default fee. If you fail to respond to the default judgment, your MI driver's license will be suspended. In some instances the court may even issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Will I get points for a traffic ticket?

All traffic ticket convictions add points to your driving record. Depending on the infraction, the state will assign your record between and 2 points and 6 points. The more severe the infraction, the higher the point total. Learn more on our page covering Michigan traffic ticket fines and penalties.

Is there any way I can have points removed from my MI driving record?

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to have points removed from your driving record by completing a Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDIC). Learn more on our Defensive Driving & Traffic School page.

Will a traffic violation cause a jump in my insurance rates

This will depend on your car insurance provider. Call your car insurance agent and ask. You might consider comparing car insurance rates online.

Can I hire an attorney to represent me at an informal hearing?

You can hire a traffic attorney to advise you, but you must represent yourself at an informal hearing. Your traffic lawyer can, however, represent you during a formal hearing before a judge.

What's the difference between a formal and informal hearing?

At an informal hearing you appear before a magistrate, while at a formal hearing you appear before a judge. If you don't agree with the magistrate's decision, you do have the right to appeal. Your case then goes before a district court judge, or what is called a formal hearing.

Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?

Fines vary by district. If you have a question about your fine, call the district court listed on your citation.

Why should I check my driving record?

It's always wise to check your driving record for accuracy after getting cited for a traffic violation. Because traffic violations could cause the SOS to suspend your Michigan driver's license and spur an increase in your car insurance rates, it's wise to check your record is correct.

Are there any traffic violations where fines and costs may be waived?

The following ticket fines and costs may be waived:

  • No driver's license in your possession when stopped
  • No proof of registration
  • Defective car equipment

To have fines and costs waived proof must either be presented to the court or certified by a police officer on your citation. If you have an officer sign your ticket, you must submit it to the court before the ticket's due date. Keep in mind that even though the fines and costs are waived, the ticket still appears on your driving record.

Why should I hire a traffic attorney

A traffic ticket lawyer's advice and representation might improve your chances for a reduced charge or even the dismissal of your traffic ticket. A favorable decision could save your MI driver's license from being suspended.

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