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Traffic Offenses | Points For Some Traffic Convictions


Traffic Offenses

It often pays to have an attorney represent you if you have been charged with a traffic offense, because the consequences of a traffic violation often don't end with the fine and costs. There may be sanctions imposed by the Secretary of State, such as points, driving restrictions or even suspension of your driving privileges. In addition, your auto insurance premiums may escalate. An attorney can often argue more effectively on your behalf than you can and may be able to negotiate a favorable plea agreement, or, if there is a weakness in the prosecutor's case, obtain a dismissal or a finding of not guilty or not responsible. Bodwin & Associates, P.C., offers professional, experienced representation with regard to traffic offenses.

Traffic Tickets: FAQ's
1. How can they get me on radar when I am going in the other direction?
The radar or speed measurement device is designed to receive the speeds of vehicles which are approaching the radar field from the opposing direction and while the police car is being driven by the officer. The computer part of the radar system will automatically subtract the police car's speed from the speed measurement of the oncoming citizen vehicle.

2. I want to contest my traffic citation. What do I need to do?
You must promptly contact the District Court in whose jurisdiction you were issued the violation (usually listed on the back side of your copy of the ticket). The court will instruct you on how to proceed.

3. Do I get points on my driving record for traffic tickets?
Most traffic tickets have a point value assessed to the specific violation. Points are assessed by the Secretary of State. View the Michigan Secretary of State's Offense Code which includes point value of each traffic offense at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/OffenseCode_73877_7.pdf.

4. Will the Secretary of State take away my license because of tickets?
The Secretary of State will review a driver's record, and likely send a warning letter when a driver obtains 6 points on the driving record. A driver with 12 points or more may be suspended or have driving privileges restricted.

5. Will the traffic ticket affect my insurance rates?
All insurance companies request driving records from the Secretary of State. Insurance companies determine an insured driver's rate based on tickets, accidents and other data. Contact your own insurance company for more information.

6. What traffic tickets/violations are able to be waived?
There are only two violations that can be waived, signed off, or certified by a police officer -- violations for NO LICENSE ON PERSON and for DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT. For additional information, contact your local District Court.

REPORTING ACCIDENTS
A person involved in an accident has a duty to stop, render assistance in seeking medical aid to the injured, exchange identifying information, notify property owners, and report the accident to authorities. Leaving the scene of an accident without doing these things is a crime, and where there is injury it could be a felony.

Drivers involved in automobile accidents should immediately telephone the local police department to report the accident. Unless there are injuries or a circumstance that merits immediate police response, drivers or passengers need not dial 911. In most situations police officers respond to all accidents, regardless of how minor, so it is generally recommended that the vehicles not be moved from the scene unless absolutely necessary. Drivers may wish to drive to the police department to report their accident in person, but only if both parties agree as to the facts and circumstances of the accident.

Reporting Accidents: FAQ's
1. Why do both drivers have to present with their vehicles to make an accident report?
Michigan law requires that the police officer complete the accident form in full and that the department immediately forward the report to the Director of State Police. By having both vehicles and drivers present during the interview and investigation stage of the reporting process, it is assured that all information receives equal consideration in determining the cause of the accident.

2. If I am involved in a minor traffic accident and the other driver suggests that we exchange information now and report the accident to the police later, what should I do?
Part of Michigan law that addresses accidents requires that you exchange your name, vehicle owner's name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle. The law also states if the apparent extent of damage totals $1,000 or more that you shall immediately report the accident to the police. (MCL 257.622).  Many police departments require that if an accident is reported at a later time at the police station, all drivers and vehicles involved must be present at the same time to complete an accident report.

3. I didn't receive a ticket, so why does my insurance company say I have points for my accident?
Most insurance companies have formulated their own point system - not to be confused with Secretary of State's point system - which assists the insurance company in what rate is charged for your particular automobile insurance policy. The insurance company may assign points on your insurance record if you were determined to be at fault in an accident, even if the officer did not issue you a ticket.

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Points For Some Traffic Convictions*

Six Points
• Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or other felony involving the use of a motor vehicle.
• Operating under the influence of liquor or drugs.
• Failing to stop or give identification at the scene of a crash.
• Reckless driving.
• Unlawful bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more.
• Refusal to take a chemical test.
• Fleeing or eluding a police officer.

Four Points
• Drag racing.
• Operating while visibly impaired.
• Under age 21 with any bodily alcohol content.
• 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.
• Failure to yield/show due caution for emergency vehicles.

Three Points
• Careless driving.
• Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing.
• 11 through 15 mph over the legal speed limit.
• Failure to stop at railroad crossing.
• Failure to stop for a school bus or for disobeying a school crossing guard.

Two Points
• 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit.
• Open alcohol container in vehicle.
• All other moving violations of traffic laws.
• Refusal of Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) by anyone under age 21.

*Please note that snowmobile and off-road vehicle (ORV) alcohol-conviction points are placed on a driver record and may result in licensing action against your driving privileges even though the violation happened while operating a snowmobile or ORV.  This information is from the Michigan Secretary of State website, located at: http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1627_8665_9066-23757--,00.html

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