Michigan Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney
Traffic Ticket Defense in Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties. We can usually get traffic charges dismissed or reduced.
Michigan Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney
Traffic tickets can be issued for both civil infractions and misdemeanors. A civil infraction is a violation of the motor vehicle code that cannot result in jail time or probation and does not appear on your criminal history. Some civil infractions appear on your traffic history, and some do not. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense and can carry up to one year in jail and up to two (2) years of probation. People who receive a ticket for a misdemeanor are often shocked that they could be facing jail, a long term of probation, and extensive costs and fees—the best hope of getting a traffic ticket dismissed is with an experienced defense attorney.
“Can I go to jail for a traffic ticket?”
You can only go to jail for a traffic ticket if the citation is for a misdemeanor. A judge does not have the power to sentence a respondent to jail for a civil infraction. In some courts, the general practice for sentencing for a traffic misdemeanor is to order a fine and close the case; however, the trend in many courts in Southeastern Michigan is to consider jail time and lengthy probation periods. Some courts, mainly in Oakland County, where probation and jail are standard and even expected.
Common misdemeanors charged by a ticket include reckless driving, driving while license suspended, driving in violation of a restricted license, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to provide identification, no operator’s license on person, and failure to provide proof of insurance. Some of these cases are serious because a conviction might be on a person’s criminal history for life. Michigan law allows setting aside most misdemeanor convictions, called expungement; however, expungement is not permitted for some criminal offenses, particularly if there is an injury or death or if it involves alcohol or drugs.
“Is it worth it to hire a lawyer for a traffic ticket?”
Hiring a good criminal defense attorney is advisable if a ticket is for a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. If your charge is a misdemeanor, you could be looking at jail and probation, and your criminal history will never be cleared or removed. If you have any other type of criminal history and are hoping to get an expungement, a traffic misdemeanor can make you ineligible for this relief. Probation can include drug and alcohol testing, therapy, traffic safety school, tether, inability to drive or restricted driving, reporting for regularly scheduled probation meetings, etc. A probation violation frequently results in a jail sentence and should be avoided at all costs. If you are charged with a traffic misdemeanor, it is imperative that you hire a great lawyer as soon as possible.
Hiring a lawyer to represent you in court is also a good idea if you face a civil infraction. Although a civil infraction cannot result in jail or probation, it can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket or prompt an insurance company to cancel your policy, depending on the circumstances. If you have a clean record, it is in your best interest to keep it that way because once you get a ticket on your record, it is much less likely a police officer will give you a break in the future. An experienced attorney gives you the best chance of having your ticket dismissed or reduced. A reduction can be lower points, lower fines, and, in some cases, an offense that is not even reported to the Michigan Secretary of State or your insurance company. Tickets that result from traffic accidents are more complicated because even if the ticket is dismissed, the accident will still appear on your traffic history.
“Why do insurance companies raise rates because of traffic tickets and points?”
Insurance companies typically raise rates due to traffic tickets and points to manage risk. Traffic violations and the accumulation of points indicate a driver’s behavior and likelihood of being involved in accidents. From an insurer’s perspective, a driver with a history of traffic infractions poses a higher risk and is more likely to file a claim. This correlation is supported by actuarial data, which insurance companies use to assess risk and set premiums. The increase in rates compensates for the heightened risk and potential costs associated with more frequent or severe claims and serves as a deterrent against risky driving behaviors.
The impact of traffic tickets on insurance rates can vary, depending on factors such as the type and number of violations, the driver’s overall record, and the specific policies of the insurance company. Some insurers may forgive minor infractions or the first offense, while others might increase rates for any violation. The duration that these tickets affect insurance rates also varies, usually depending on the severity of the offense and the insurer’s policies, reflecting the nuanced approach insurers take to balance risk and customer retention.
Common Civil Infractions and Driving Misdemeanors
Traffic tickets are issued by police officers and Michigan State Police troopers in all parts of the state of Michigan. Some of the most aggressive and zealous prosecutors and law enforcement officers are in Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Livingston County, and Washtenaw County. Common offenses include:
- Failure to Stop Within an Assured Clear Distance
- Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device
- Improper Lane Usage
- Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle
- Careless Driving
- Reckless Driving
- DWLS (Driving While License Suspended) or OWLNA or OWLR
- OWI (Operating While Intoxicated, Drunk Driving, OUIL, DUI, DWI, OWIN, etc…)
- Negligent Homicide
- Open Intoxicants in Motor a Vehicle
- Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury
- Civil Infraction Causing Death
Experienced and Effective Traffic Defense Lawyers
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. fights traffic citations in Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Livingston County, and Washtenaw County. We do our best to reduce or eliminate points so insurance companies do not profit from simple, momentary driving mistakes. Often, we can secure outright dismissals of traffic tickets or reductions to nonmoving violations (not sent to the Michigan Department of State and no points). Because we have extensive experience handling traffic infractions and misdemeanors, we are very familiar with the courts in Southeastern Michigan, the prosecutors, and the judges. Our attorneys’ excellent reputations can be instrumental in negotiating an optimal resolution in your case. If you have a traffic ticket and would like to speak to an experienced traffic ticket attorney, please do not hesitate to call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation. Alternatively, you can fill out a Request for Assistance Form, and we will promptly contact you.
It is worth fighting every ticket if you are charged with a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. A savvy defense lawyer can find creative ways to use the law, facts of your case, and relationships with prosecutors and judges to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.