Articles Posted in Traffic Violations

Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a gun possession case presenting an issue that frequently arises in many Michigan drug cases, or other possessory offenses. The case required the court to determine if the police officers’ approach of the defendant’s vehicle constituted a seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Finding that the officer’s reason for approaching was not to investigate criminal activity, but to check on the welfare of the defendant, the court rejected the defendants’ motion to suppress.

Generally, police officers need a warrant to conduct a search or seizure. However, over the years, courts have allowed several exceptions to the warrant requirement. Not all encounters between police officers and citizens are searches or seizures. Under federal constitutional law, a seizure occurs when “a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.”

According to the court’s opinion in this case, police officers received a call reporting someone was passed out behind the wheel at a fast-food drive-thru. Officers responded to the scene and approached the defendant’s vehicle. After a short time, police were able to wake the defendant up. Once the defendant was awake, the officers asked him out of the vehicle to check on his well being because he had fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Recently, the Michigan legislature recently passed an amendment repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee program. The program, enacted in 2003, required drivers guilty of certain traffic offenses to pay annual fees. These fees, which ranged from $100 to $500 per year as well as the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee, will no longer be collected by the Michigan Department of the Treasury.

Some drivers must continue to make payments, though. Currently, Michigan drivers who entered Driver Responsibility Fee payment plans on or before February 1, 2018 are no longer required to make payments. Their payment plans are terminated. Drivers in this category who do not currently have pending actions against their driver’s licenses may have their licenses reinstated without having to pay the $125 fee any time between now and December 31, 2018. On January 1, 2019, the reinstatement fee will return. Drivers who entered payment plans between February 2, 2018 and March 31, 2018 are required to continue making their payments until October 1, 2018.

Understanding What this Means for You

Some of the most common traffic violations would be speeding tickets, stop sign violations, running a red light, careless driving, reckless driving, and improper lane changes. There is also another one that is not as common, but just as serious, and that is failure to yield to an emergency vehicle. That can be a misdemeanor in some circumstances in our state.

How Long Does Someone Have To File For A Traffic Violation Hearing?

People usually have between ten to fourteen days to make a response to the court that you are either accepting responsibility or that you are going to challenge the ticket. If you challenge the ticket, you can have either an informal or a formal hearing. If you have an attorney represent you, it must be a formal hearing and the attorney would take care of the scheduling with the court system. If you want to do it yourself, then it can be a formal or informal hearing too, and the procedure and processes are different for each particular court.

There are lots of examples of things that could be misdemeanors, but typically it is going to be something that is considered a bit more serious in nature. The court has the authority and or the discretion to be able to potentially put you in jail for what you did. The most common one in the driving and traffic realm is driving while a license is suspended. That is a ticket that will be issued, because somebody failed to pay a speeding ticket and their license was suspended and then pulled over. Sometimes the drivers do not even know that their license was suspended, but that is not a defense in most situations.

With a driving while license suspension, if you are convicted you will receive an additional thirty day suspension on your license, and two points off your license. You might face probation, and be subjected to drug or alcohol testing if the court feels that is appropriate. You could go to jail for up to ninety-three days for a first offense and up to one year in jail for a second subsequent offense. That is the most common ticket people do not think is serious enough. But in certain situations it is treated very seriously in many of the courts. In particular in Oakland County, they take driving while a license is suspended very seriously, especially if the person has any prior history of the same offense.

They really do not approve of multiple DWLS tickets. They feel like it represents people who do not care about following the law. In Oakland County, Macomb County and parts of Wayne County, they take it very seriously. Sometimes clients have been in trouble in local cities where driving while a license is suspended is not taken as seriously, and then suddenly shocked to find out that they are in front of a judge who is considering placing them in jail. Reckless driving is another traffic misdemeanor, and you can go to jail for that offense. If convicted, it is six points on your license and a ninety day hard suspension of your driver’s license. This means you cannot drive at all for ninety days.

Say you have a bad driving record with all of these charges, and you have a conviction for drag racing and one for careless driving and now you are charged with reckless driving. You are going to have a hard time convincing the prosecutor and the judge that you are a really good driver and that you deserve a break and some leniency. So the worse your record looks, the more danger you are going to be in when you are in court. The judge and the prosecutor look at their job as protecting the public, and if they see a poor driving record who, in their opinion, disregards the law, they are afraid to give you a break. Their thoughts are that eventually you might get in an accident and kill somebody.

They do not want these problems to land back on their doorstep and have somebody blaming them for not being tough enough on you. There are a lot of factors that go into the final outcome of these cases, and people need to understand that the judge’s point of view is not always the same as theirs. If you do have a bad driving record whether you are going to court for a ticket, a misdemeanor, or a felony, you need to be concerned about how you are going to be treated.

What Are The Penalties Associated With A Reckless Driving Charge?

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