How Much Will a Traffic Ticket Raise My Insurance Rates?

Ask the Detroit Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorney:
How Much Will a Traffic Ticket Raise My Insurance Rates?

As experienced Detroit traffic ticket lawyers, we are often asked how much effect points will have on a client’s insurance rates. The short answer is “a lot.” But the full answer is much more complicated than that.

While traffic ticket fines can be different from Court to Court, driving record points are set by the Michigan Vehicle Code and are the same across all of Michigan, for any given traffic ticket. In other words, a careless driving ticket is always 3 points – whether you get it in Detroit or in Romulus or in Kalamazoo.

However – and this is a BIG HOWEVER – every insurance company treats points differently. Each auto insurance company has their own unique formula (“algorithm”) for determining your rate increase after you’ve had accidents or received driver’s record points.

This means that not every insurance company will penalize you the same, for the same number of points. For example, one major traffic ticket can increase your car insurance rate by only 20% with one insurer – and by 40% with another auto insurance carrier.

Obviously, the more points you have on your driving record, the more likely your insurer is to raise your rates.  But the number of points on your driving record may be treated differently by different car insurance companies.

Most insurance companies actually have their own point system – that is different than the Secretary of State point system. The insurers assign their own “point values” to each traffic ticket or accident. Then, they use their rating system to evaluate your insurance increase based on their “points” instead of each infraction.

If you want to find out what the specifics are for your insurance company, you should can request a copy of their rating factors from the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). However, even with this information, it can be difficult to apply their exact formula to calculate your rate increases.

How Can I Keep Insurance Rates from Going Up When I Get Points?

If you already have points on your driving record, your best recourse is often to “shop around” for the best insurance rates. Since every insurer will treat your driving record points differently, you may find a difference of 30% or more. On a $2000 annual auto insurance policy, a savings of 30% saves you $600 per year.

But, by far, the best way to ensure that points do not raise your auto insurance rates is to hire an experienced Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorney to get the points reduced or dismissed entirely.

Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Reduce Points

Under Michigan’s traffic ticket point system, points are placed on your driving record only after you have been convicted of, or found guilty of, or admitted responsible for, the traffic offense. So no points will affect your insurance rates if you are able to “beat” or “fight” your ticket. But remember, just paying the fee instead of “fighting” the ticket will result in automatic points. Also, ignoring the ticket will result in an automatic assessment of points.

Our Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Help

If you are concerned about traffic ticket points, our experienced Detroit traffic ticket attorneys can help you understand the points you are facing – and fight to get them reduced or eliminated. Our lawyers have helped hundreds of Detroit residents reduce fines and points, and wherever possible even get their traffic tickets dismissed. Call us today for a free consultation with an experienced and affordable Detroit traffic ticket attorney.

Detroit Lawsuit Challenges Traffic Ticket Fines for the Poor

Detroit Women Bring Lawsuit to Challenge
Michigan Traffic Ticket Fines for the Poor

Like many people in Detroit, two woman received traffic tickets that they simply could not afford to pay. Kitia Harris and Adrian Fowler – both single mothers – received tickets for minor violations that they could not pay immediately. And, as is always the case, fines and penalties were added on. This made it even more impossible to pay the traffic tickets – and eventually both women lost their license.

25-year-old Kitia has a serious medical condition – so now she must rely on friends and family to take her to doctor’s appointments. And when no one can drive her, she is forced to cancel her treatment appointments.

Under Michigan’s current system, the Secretary of State automatically, indefinitely suspends a person’s licenses if they owe court-ordered fines and other fees, even if though they cannot afford to pay those fees. And as the late fees and driver responsibility fees keep piling on, it just becomes more and more impossible for the person to pay everything that is required in order to get their license back.

Lawsuit Claims Tickets Unfair to Poor

This vicious cycle of heaped-on traffic tickets fees, fines and penalties could happen to anyone. Perhaps it has even happened to you. In fact, an estimated 100,000 people in Michigan have their driver’s licenses suspended every year by because they didn’t, or couldn’t, pay their traffic tickets for minor traffic violations.

However, there may be some good news in store. Recently, attorneys for a national civil-rights organization called “Equal Justice Under Law” (EJUL) – along with Detroit’s Sugar Law Center attorneys – filed a class action lawsuit against Michigan’s Secretary of State, challenging these fees. That lawsuit accuses the State of Michigan of running a “wealth-based … scheme that traps some of the state’s poorest residents in a cycle of poverty.”

According to the lawsuit, Michigan unfairly keeps its poorest residents in a cycle of poverty by suspending their driver’s licenses when they can’t afford to pay court debts.  Without their license, poorer people cannot get or keep jobs, take care of their children, or even obtain necessary medical treatment.

EJUL is arguing that this in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment – which punishes people for no other reason than they are too poor to pay the excessive traffic ticket fines, fees & penalties.

Last year, the Department of Justice also wrote a letter addressed to all courts across the country expressing concern about how poor people are affected by fees, fines and bond practices that sometimes cause people to stay in jail simply because they lack money.

Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys

It is too early for our Detroit traffic ticket attorneys to tell whether or not this lawsuit will eventually help reduce the unfair burden of traffic ticket fines on those who cannot afford them in Detroit and across Michigan. Our experienced Detroit traffic ticket attorneys are hopeful that this will be a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, if your license has been suspended for unpaid or outstanding Detroit traffic ticket fines, fees or penalties, call our attorneys for a free consultation today. Our attorneys will be happy to explain your rights and try to help you resolve your Detroit traffic tickets in the most affordable way possible.

Southfield Traffic Attorneys Discuss the 3 Kinds of Tickets

Southfield Traffic Attorneys Discuss:
The 3 Types of Traffic Tickets

If you received a traffic ticket in Southfield, Michigan, our attorneys want you to understand your rights. Choosing how you handle your traffic ticket will not only protect your driving record – but will help you avoid costly insurance hikes and/or even jail time.

In Southfield Michigan a traffic ticket can be either a civil infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Each type of traffic ticket needs to be handled differently. In this article, our experienced Southfield Traffic Attorneys explain the differences of the three types of traffic tickets.

The Three Types of Traffic Tickets:

(1.) Southfield Civil Infraction Traffic Tickets

Most traffic tickets issued in Southfield, Michigan are civil infractions – which means that they are not a “crime” and there is no potential jail time. However, civil infractions can still come with large fines – as well as points on your driving record. And accumulated points can result in a driver’s license suspension and skyrocketing insurance to premiums.

Southfield traffic tickets are handled in the 46th District Court. Southfield now offers 5 options for responding to a civil traffic ticket. However, if you ignore it – or if even you admit responsibility and pay the fine – you may receive points that can result in license suspension or insurance increases.

If you have received a civil traffic ticket in Southfield Michigan, you should always call an experienced Southfield traffic ticket attorney. Our lawyers can help you make sure you address your civil traffic ticket in a way that will reduce or eliminate fines and points.

(2.) Southfield Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets

If you receive a misdemeanor traffic ticket – you may be facing a penalty that includes a jail sentence of up to 93 days. Southfield Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets are actually “crimes” – which means you will have a criminal record, in addition to points, if you do not beat the ticket.

Some of the more common Southfield Traffic Misdemeanor Tickets include: Reckless Driving, Driving with a Suspended License, and Leaving the Scene of An Accident.

Never ignore a Southfield Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets, because failing to appear for your traffic misdemeanor arraignment (hearing) will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

Also, traffic misdemeanors cannot be removed from your criminal record. And – in some cases – a traffic misdemeanor can also keep you from being able to remove or “expunge” other crimes from your record. So ignoring a Southfield traffic misdemeanor – or just pleading guilty and paying the fine – can leave you with a criminal record for the rest of your life.

Many people do not realize that a misdemeanor traffic ticket has such serious consequences. But you should always discuss your options with an experienced Southfield traffic ticket attorney. Our experienced lawyers can typically have your charges, fines and points reduced – or even dismissed.

(3.) Southfield Felony Traffic Offense

Technically, traffic “tickets” for which the penalty exceeds 93 days in jail, are actually called “felony complaints”, rather than a “ticket.” If you are stopped in Southfield for a felony traffic offense you will typically be arrested and taken into custody right there. And if you are not apprehended at the time of the offense, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Common Southfield traffic felonies can include: third offense OWI/DUI, vehicular manslaughter, negligent homicide, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, and throwing dangerous objects from a vehicle.

You should never try to represent yourself in a felony traffic case. Not only can you lose your license, but you can also go to jail, which can mean losing your job. And a felony conviction also means that you will have great difficulty finding a job in the future due to your criminal record.

If you are facing a felony traffic offense in the 46th District Court – or anywhere in Wayne, Macomb or Oakland County – it is important that you talk to an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Our aggressive, affordable traffic lawyers understand that your freedom, your job and your financial future is at stake. We will give you a free consultation so you understand your rights, and we will fight your felony traffic matter with every resource available.

Our Southfield Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Help

If you are facing a civil, misdemeanor or felony traffic charge, call our experienced Southfield traffic ticket attorneys today. Our lawyers have helped hundreds of people avoid jail time, reduce fines and points, and wherever possible get their tickets dismissed.

Attorneys Discuss Changes to Drunk Driving Ticket Law

Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys Explain
New Change to Michigan Drunk Driving Law

As experienced Detroit Drunk Driving Attorneys, we want to bring attention to a new – and disturbing – change in Michigan Drunk Driving law.

In a nutshell, the Michigan Supreme Court just expanded the definition of “drunk driving” to include moving your car, truck or motorcycle up and down your own private driveway.

While one might think that to be convicted of drunken driving you should actually be driving, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.

This all started in 2014 with a simple noise complaint. A state police trooper, responding to the complaint, parked his squad car in front of a Northville man’s home. The man backed his car out of his garage – but when he noticed the state trooper, he pulled back into the garage.

The man refused the field sobriety test, so the trooper arrested him for drunk driving in his own driveway – before he ever reached the street.

Is it Drunk Driving if you are on Private Property?

The man’s blood level later tested at three times the legal limit. So he was clearly drunk . . . but was he legally driving?

The first two courts ruled that he was not driving, based on Michigan’s drunk driving laws.

Michigan’s drunk driving law prohibits motorists under the influence of alcohol “from operating a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles.”

The Oakland County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals both agreed that his driveway was not “open to the general public or generally accessible” – meaning that he wasn’t driving drunk. And, most attorneys would also consider a driveway to be private, and not open to the public.

But the Michigan Supreme Court majority disagreed, ruling that the upper portion of a driveway is generally accessible to the public, even though they clearly would have to trespass to access it!

Are Arrests for Drunk Driving on Private Property Unfair?

As experienced Detroit drunk driving attorneys, we are forced to wonder whether this decision tramples on the Michigan residents’ civil liberties and respect for private property.

In fact, one of the Judges who disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling on Drunk Driving stated emphatically that “private property rights are, of course, central to our legal system.” Adding that, “If a private citizen chooses to have a few beers while washing his car (or to wash his car while having a few beers), on a patch of his own land covered by a driveway, that is his right.”

Everyone agrees that you should never drive while intoxicated. But our drunk driving attorneys want you to know that you can now legally be arrested in your own driveway – thanks to this overreaching interpretation of the law.

Our Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Help

If you were arrested for drunk driving in Detroit or anywhere in Southeast Michigan our skilled and experienced traffic attorneys are here to help. Call us today so we can look at all of the factors in your case, to ensure that you have the best defense and get the best possible results in your drunk driving case.

Detroit Traffic & Drunk Driving Attorneys
Free Consultation: 800-717-4757

 

Attorneys Explain 46th District Court Traffic Ticket Amnesty

Ask the Southfield Attorneys:
Does the 46th District Court
Have Traffic Ticket Amnesty?

As an experienced 46th District Court traffic attorney, I am often asked if Southfield, Michigan has a traffic ticket “amnesty program.” The short answer is, unfortunately, “No, not currently.” However, there are still many things a traffic attorney can do to get unpaid traffic tickets set aside, or have fines and penalties reduced.

What is a Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program?

A traffic ticket amnesty program offers people with overdue traffic tickets – and sometimes other misdemeanor violations – the chance to pay a past due fine, without being charged late fees and other financial penalties.

During an amnesty period, people with delinquent traffic cases can also take care of old traffic tickets and – and even warrants for civil infractions and some misdemeanors – without fear of arrest.

Courts usually say that the amnesty programs are aimed at giving violators a “clean slate”. But the reality is that most Courts offer amnesty as a way to bring in a large chunk of revenue from unpaid tickets – while also reducing their backlog of cases.

Does the 46th District Court have a Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program?

Michigan’s 46th District Court includes Southfield, Lathrup Village, Beverly Hills, Franklin, Bingham Farms and Southfield Township.

Very occasionally in the past the 46th District Court has offered a traffic ticket amnesty program. However, there is no current amnesty being offered in Southfield’s 46th District Court.

Unfortunately, these type of ticket relief programs do not come around very often – and are only offered for a limited number of days. This year The 46th District Court offered an amnesty program that ran for one month from April 17 through May 12.

That amnesty program waived late fees on eligible traffic tickets and parking violations – and also waived late fees and warrant fees on eligible traffic misdemeanors that did not require a court appearance.

Our 46th District Court traffic attorneys have never seen an Oakland County District Court offer more than one amnesty program in the same year. So, it is unlikely that Southfield will offer more amnesty any time soon.

What to Do if You Missed the 46th District Court Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program

Failure to respond to a traffic ticket within the allowed time period will automatically result in a default judgment (“guilty conviction”) against you, including automatic assessment of any points and fines. Next, late fees will accrue, and your license will be suspended – which adds an additional fine to the ticket to have it reinstated. Finally an arrest warrant may be issued!

For this reason it is important to speak to an experienced 46th District Court traffic attorney, if you have unpaid tickets, missed a traffic related court hearing, or believe there may be a warrant for your arrest.

46th District Court Traffic Ticket Attorneys

Our caring attorneys understand that you may not be able to afford the tickets, and that you may feel hopeless about ever paying off your fines… so it may just seem “easier” to ignore them.  But, unfortunately, the fines and penalties will just continue to grow – and you may be in danger of being arrested at home, at work, during a routine traffic stop, or even if you are in a minor fender bender.

Our experienced traffic lawyers can immediately spring into action for you. We have successfully handed hundreds of traffic ticket cases in 46th District Court where we have gotten traffic offenses set aside, set up payment plans, or taken other action to ensure that our clients are not arrested.

Depending upon the money you owe, and the traffic violation with which you are being charged, there are numerous things that our experienced 36th District Court traffic attorneys can do. In some cases we can even file a Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment – to show the Judge “good cause” why the Default Judgment against you be “set aside”.

Call our experienced 46th District Court Traffic lawyers today – stop the “snowball effect” and get you back on track – so you no longer have to worry about an arrest warrant for 46th District Court traffic tickets.

46th District Court Traffic Attorneys
Free Consultation: 800-717-4757