What is a citation/ticket?
Citation means "a complaint or notice upon which a police officer shall record an occurrence involving one or more motor vehicle law violations by the person cited." The cited driver is the defendant.
A citation can be a civil infraction or a misdemeanor depending on the seriousness of the traffic violation.
All defendants who receive a citation must respond to the allegations in the citation.
Note: the following policies apply only to the 75th District Court. If your citation is from a court other than the 75th District, you must contact the court listed on your citation for processing instructions.
The defendant has these options when a civil infraction is issued:
- Admit responsibility without explanation for the civil infraction and pay the ticket, by representation, or by mail within 14 days.
- Admit responsibility with explanation for the civil infraction and make an appearance by mail or in person.
- Deny responsibility for the civil infraction and request an informal or formal hearing in person, by mail, or by phone.
- If a defendant fails to respond to a traffic civil infraction citation, or fails to appear for a scheduled hearing, the court may enter a default judgment of responsibility and impose appropriate sanctions.
Does not apply to misdemeanor citations. Contact the court for procedures.
Admission of responsibility without explanation
If a defendant wishes to admit responsibility without explanation for a civil infraction, he or she must pay for the ticket by mail, in person or by representation. Admissions of responsibility are not accepted by telephone.
To avoid late charges all admissions of responsibility must be received within 14 days from the date you received your citation. You do not need to call the court to confirm this.
Methods of payment:
- Personal check, VISA/MasterCard, and money order payments are accepted through the mail and in person.
- Cash payments are accepted in person only. Do not send cash payments through the mail.
- Money Order payments should be made payable to the 75th District Court. Please do not staple or tape your money order to the citation.
- Credit Cards may be used for paying in-person, or on the telephone. To pay by telephone, call 989-832-6714.
Personal Checks payments should be made payable to the 75th District Court. Please do not staple or tape your check to the citation. Personal checks do not need to be certified. The court will NOT accept a personal check once your license has been suspended or for bond.
You may pay in the following ways:
- IN PERSON - A defendant may appear in court to admit responsibility anytime during the course of a normal business day. Court hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your copy of the citation with you. The clerk will ask you to sign the back of your ticket admitting responsibility and issue a receipt for your payment.
- MAIL - Appearance by mail is made when the defendant returns the citation to the court with a signed admission of responsibility (see back of ticket), along with full payment of applicable fines and costs. Personal checks and money order payments will be accepted by mail. Mail payment to the court listed on your citation. If payment is not enclosed, the court will enter the judgment and assess the appropriate fines and costs. Your payment must be received within 14 days.
Warning: Failure to make a timely appearance will result in entry of a default judgment against the defendant. Noncompliance with the judgment will result in eventual suspension of the defendant’s license as well as other possible sanctions. Failure to answer a citation or a notice to appear in court for a traffic violation can also result in license suspension.
*Unless corrections are made.
Admission of responsibility with explanation
A defendant’s admission of responsibility with explanation consists of the following:
- An admission of responsibility for the offense charged; and
- An explanation of the circumstances surrounding the offense.
A defendant’s appearance to make admission with explanation may take place in one of the following ways:
- IN PERSON - Defendants who wish to make an admission with explanation in person should contact the court in person, by telephone or mail to schedule an appearance or obtain dates and times of magistrate's availability. (Defendants may appear by appointment by the appearance date specified, but should call the court first to determine if a magistrate will be available).
- BY MAIL -Appearance by mail is made when the defendant returns the citation to the court with A SIGNED ADMISSION OF RESPONSIBILITY (see back of citation). Mail the signed citation along with your letter of explanation to the court within 14 days from the date on your citation. If payment of applicable fines and costs are not enclosed, the court will notify you by mail of the amount due and the payment deadline.
If the court finds the defendant responsible with explanation, it may only reduce the civil fines and costs in light of the extenuating circumstances. The court can not reduce the number of points assessed by the Secretary of State.
The defendant’s appearance (by mail or in person) must occur within the time specified. Failure to make a timely appearance will result in entry of a default judgment against the defendant. Noncompliance with the judgment will result in eventual suspension of the defendant’s license, as well as other possible sanctions.
Defendant denies responsibility
To deny responsibility is to contest the case. The defendant must appear to offer a defense at an Informal or Formal hearing. Denials of responsibility/requests for hearings must be received from 3-14 days within the date your citation was issued. Request for Informal or Formal Hearings may be made by mail, in person, or by phone.
Informal and formal hearings
There are two types of hearings for contested civil infraction cases:
Civil Infraction Informal Hearing
The majority of contested cases are heard and decided at informal hearings.
A hearing conducted by a District Court Magistrate involving the police officer, the defendant and any witnesses, held without a prosecutor or defense attorney. The determination may be appealed to a formal hearing.
Civil Infraction Formal Hearing
A hearing conducted by a District Court Judge involving the police officer, defendant and all witnesses. Defendant may be represented by an attorney, and a prosecutor must be present.
How do I request a hearing?
To request an informal or formal hearing, notify the court in person, in writing or by phone, that you are denying responsibility for your citation and specify if you wish to have an informal or formal hearing. Please notify the court of any dates and time that you will not be available to appear for your hearing. (The court will try to accommodate reasonable requests). Also, inform the court of the address you wish to have your notice to appear sent; if it is different from the address on your citation. A phone number where you can be reached during business hours 8:00 a.m. through 4:45 p.m. is appreciated.
Requests for informal or formal hearings must be received 3-14 days from the date the ticket was issued. Failure to make a timely request for a hearing will result in entry of a default judgment against the defendant.
What happens if I don't show up for a hearing?
If a defendant fails to appear at an informal or formal hearing the court may enter a default determination of responsibility and impose appropriate sanctions.
Failure to answer a citation or notice to appear in court for an informal or formal hearing can also result in license suspension.
FINES, COSTS AND POINT SCHEDULE
DO NOT MAIL CASH!!!
Make checks payable to: 75TH DISTRICT COURT
Points cannot be reduced or deferred. They are set by the Legislature.