Traffic Ticket Defense in Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties
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 it 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 1 year in jail and up to 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.
“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 on a traffic misdemeanor to order a fine and close the case; however, the trend in many courts in Southeastern Michigan is to consider jail time and order lengthy probation periods. There are some courts, mostly in Oakland County, where probation and jail are standard and even expected. Common misdemeanors that can be issued by a traffic 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. One reason these cases are very serious is that a conviction will be on a person’s criminal history for life and can never be removed. The law in Michigan that allows for convictions to be set aside, often called expungements, are not permitted for any criminal offense written under the Motor Vehicle Code.
“Is it worth it to hire a lawyer for a traffic ticket?”
Regardless of whether a ticket is for a civil infraction or a misdemeanor, hiring a good criminal defense attorney is very advisable. 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 you 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, and much more. A violation of probation frequently results in a jail sentence and should be avoided at all costs. If you are charged with a traffic misdemeanor, it is critical that you hire a great lawyer as soon as possible.
If you are charged with a civil infraction, it is also a good idea to hire a lawyer to represent you in court. Although a civil infraction cannot result in jail or probation, it can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket or could 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 possible chance of having your ticket dismissed or reduced. A reduction can be lower points, lower fines, and in some cases, an offense that does not even get 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.
Experienced and Effective Traffic Defense Lawyers
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. handles traffic citations in Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Livingston County and Washtenaw County. We do our best to reduce or eliminate points so that insurance companies do not profit off simple, momentary mistakes while driving. Often times, 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 excellent reputations can be instrumental in the negotiation of an optimal resolution in your case. If you have a traffic ticket and you 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. In the alternative, you can fill out a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.
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 Obey a Traffic Control Device
- Improper Lane Usage
- Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle
- Carless 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 Vehicle
- Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury
- Civil Infraction Causing Death