Traffic Ticket Lawyer Grand Rapids MI
There are two varieties of traffic tickets that are written in the Grand Rapids area by local police officers, Kent County sheriffs, and Michigan State troopers: civil infractions and misdemeanors. It is important to understand the difference between these tickets and the potential consequences that they carry so you can make a rational decision on how you want to address it.
Civil infractions are issued by law enforcement officers for alleged violations of State and local traffic laws, such as: Limited Access Speed, Failure to Maintain Assured Clear Distance, Speeding, Improper Turn, Disobeying a Traffic Control Device (running a red light), Careless Driving, etc., which are non-criminal in nature and you have the option of resolving by making a timely payment of the scheduled fine at the local District Court with jurisdiction over the ticket. The largest problems with not contesting the ticket in Court and just paying the listed fine to the local Court before the default deadline is that points are usually assessed for the traffic violation (depending upon the nature of the ticket), and the violation in most cases becomes permanently entered onto your driving record even though the points go away with time. Having traffic violations entered against you will likely lead to an increase in the cost of your car insurance, losing driving privileges altogether for a period of time (if you obtain too many points), work troubles (if your job requires a clean driving record), and the reduction of the chance that a police officer will give you a break in the future for subsequent traffic infractions.
Traffic misdemeanors are low level criminal offenses for alleged conduct such as Reckless Driving, Drinking and Driving (OUI, DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI 2nd Offense, Super Drunk, Zero Tolerance Violation), Driving While License Suspended (DWLS), No Insurance, Failure to Stop at a Property Damage Accident, Expired Plates, etc., which require an appearance in Court before a Judge to address the specified misdemeanor. Traffic misdemeanor convictions in the Grand Rapids area can result in a jail sentence, being placed on probation with conditions deemed appropriate by your Judge, driver's license sanctions (for some offenses), damage to your reputation, and having a permanent criminal record that in many cases cannot ever be expunged.
There are also some felony related traffic matters such as Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA), Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, OUIL Causing Serious Injury or Death, OUIL 3rd Offense, and Fleeing and Eluding Police, etc., which are charged in most cases with the filing of a complaint by the prosecutor's office (after a swear to occurs before a Judge) and not by the mere issuance of a traffic ticket. Traffic felonies can result in a jail or prison sentence, being placed on probation with conditions deemed appropriate by your Judge, driver's license sanctions, damage to your reputation, and having a conviction that cannot be expunged in the future. Because a felony traffic accusation requires solid legal representation from a capable and experienced felony traffic defense attorney, the wise and prudent decision is to hire a lawyer to represent you. Felony related traffic charges in in the Grand Rapids Michigan area are initially scheduled at the District Court with jurisdiction over where the alleged offense occurred, and are transferred ("bound over") to the 17th (Kent County) Circuit Court that has jurisdiction if a probable cause determination is made at a preliminary examination or a waiver or the same.
You Have the Right to Fight Your Grand Rapids Area Traffic Matter and to Retain a Respected Michigan Defense Attorney to Help You
If you receive any traffic violation in Michigan (civil infraction, misdemeanor, or felony) you have the chance to find and retain a lawyer challenge it. If you make a timely demand for your civil infraction (before a "default" is entered against you), you have the right to a contested hearing in the Court with jurisdiction to challenge whether or not it can be proven by the government by a preponderance of the evidence that the alleged civil infraction did in fact occur. There are two types of hearings for civil infractions: an "informal hearing" (which does not involve lawyers - only yourself, the police officer/Michigan State trooper, and the Court magistrate or Judge - which is very difficult to win); or a "formal hearing" (where attorney appear in Court and either litigate or negotiate (attempt to plea bargain) the ticket).
For all misdemeanor and felony charges, you have certain fundamental due process rights that cannot be denied, such as the right to a trial where the prosecution has the sole burden of proving the allegation at trial beyond a reasonable doubt with competent evidence. A rather common, but foolish, mistake when it comes to any misdemeanor or felony traffic allegation is to elect not have any legal counsel and represent yourself in Court. Someone who chooses not to have an lawyer in Court is at a severe and unfair disadvantage because the Judge will hold them to the same legal standards as a licensed attorney, and accused person is opposed by an assistant prosecutor or city attorney who has many years of training and experience in the Michigan rules of evidence, Michigan criminal procedure, Michigan case and statutory law, direct and cross examination of witnesses, and the methods and ways of conducting a trial. You can request a court appointed lawyer in any courtroom in Michigan (if you do not have the financial ability to retain your own defense counsel), and you can pray that your public defender is passionate, and dedicated enough to fight for the best possible result, or choose to hire a highly referred lawyer, like attorney Daniel Hilf, who truly has your best interests at heart.
For any civil infraction, misdemeanor, or felony traffic offense for Grand Rapids area ticket or criminal charge, the recommended attorney to retain is Daniel Hilf, because he has the necessary experience practicing before Judges and magistrates across Michigan to demand justice and to press for a great result for his clients. Feel free to contact attorney Daniel Hilf to discuss your ticket or criminal case at 248-792-2590.