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Traffic Offenses


In Michigan, traffic violations are categorized as civil infractions or misdemeanors. Sanctions for these violations can include fines, costs, license suspension, and potential jail time for misdemeanor offenses. Failure to address a traffic ticket can result in driver license suspension, and points may be added to your driving record.


Michigan operates on a point system where each traffic violation carries a specific point value established by the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are only added to your driver record after a conviction or finding of guilt for a misdemeanor or responsibility for a civil infraction. These points remain on your record for two years from the date of conviction.

Man Texting & Driving

Six Points (worst)
The highest amount of points per convicted charge.

  • Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or other felony involving use of a motor vehicle.

  • Operating under the influence of liquor or drugs.

  • Failing to stop and 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 
The second highest amount of points per convicted charge

  • 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
A typical amount of points per convicted charge.

  • 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
The lowest amount of points per convicted charge.

  • 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.

Police Car Lights

Point System

In Michigan, traffic violations can range from civil infractions to misdemeanors or felonies. The consequences depend on the nature of the violation and how it is resolved, potentially resulting in fines, participation in special programs, or even jail time for severe cases. Failing to address a traffic ticket often leads to driver license suspension.


Each conviction for a traffic violation requires payment of court fines and costs. Additionally, points may be added to your driver record. Michigan's point system assigns a specific value to each traffic violation, as mandated by the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are only applied to your record after a conviction, finding of guilt, or responsibility for a civil infraction. These points remain on your record for a duration of two years from the date of conviction. If you believe there are mitigating circumstances for your ticket, you must present them in court. It is important to note that the Secretary of State does not have the authority to overturn a court conviction or the associated points.

Mark Caldwell Grand Rapids Office

The law firm of Caldwell Law, PLLC represents clients on Michigan traffic tickets throughout the West Michigan area representing both commercial vehicle drivers and personal vehicles. On 90% of the cases I'm hired on I either get the charge reduced or dismissed.


If you’d like the best chance at negotiating a ticket reduction, you want Mr. Caldwell representing you.

Why is fighting every traffic ticket a wise investment?

Paying a traffic ticket without contesting it may seem cheaper initially due to the ticket cost ($150.00 to $180.00 for most civil infractions), and the convenient payment options provided by the local court system. However, statistics from the National Motorists Association indicate that only 5% of Americans challenge their traffic tickets. Yet, paying a ticket without a fight can have significant long-term costs. The government and insurance companies are not on your side, and regret may quickly follow if you choose to pay without contesting.


Here are the main drawbacks of paying a ticket without fighting:


  1. Higher insurance premiums for 3-5 years, surpassing the price of hiring a lawyer.

  2. Accumulation of points on your driving record.

  3. Future tickets may be influenced by the presence of previous tickets on your record.

  4. Limits or restrictions on your use of company vehicles by employers.

  5. Expensive and uncertain processes to have a ticket set aside once responsibility is admitted.

What can an attorney do for me if I get a traffic ticket?

Paying a traffic ticket without contesting it may seem like the easier option, but it is not financially logical. The recommended approach is to fight every ticket with the assistance of a skilled traffic defense lawyer. With their expertise in negotiating traffic tickets, the outcome can significantly impact your household budget for the next 3-5 years. Based on our experience, we consistently achieve better results within the court system. By resolving traffic tickets favorably, we can protect your driving record and save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

Response Time: The time frame to respond to your ticket depends on the district where the violation occurred, typically ranging between 10 and 21 days.


Points on Record: Each traffic violation adds points to your record, which can accumulate and impact your driving privileges. Accumulating 8 points within 2 years triggers a warning letter, while 12 points within 2 years leads to a review of your record by Driver Reexamination agents.


Reasons to Fight: Choosing to fight your ticket increases your chances of receiving reduced charges and maintaining a clean record. Simply paying the ticket results in a guilty plea and a mark on your record.


Insurance Rate Impact: A conviction by the court often leads to an increase in insurance rates. Conversely, maintaining a safe and clean driving record can result in lowered insurance rates.

Taking Notes

Providing Serious Defense for All Traffic Charges in Michigan

When you choose our representation after receiving a traffic ticket, we prioritize addressing your concerns and answering all your questions to provide the peace of mind you deserve.


Attorney Mark Caldwell is fully equipped to handle various violations, including US 131 freeway tickets, I-96 freeway tickets, I-196 freeway tickets, speeding tickets, civil infractions, misdemeanors, commercial driver violations (CDL), equipment violations, reckless driving, careless driving, driving with a suspended license (DWLS), racing/drag racing, driving without a license, fail to stop and ID, fail to yield, running a red light, disobeying traffic signals, and other offenses listed on the offense code index.


After conducting a thorough analysis of your case, we will inform you about your rights and legal options, guiding you towards the best course of action. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, and you have the right to an attorney.


With proper representation, we can help keep your traffic record clean. We strongly advise against facing the legal system alone. Our personalized defense strategies protect your driving record, insurance rates, and future. If you or someone you know has received any type of traffic ticket, take immediate action to avoid additional fines that could hinder your ability to fight the violation.

Michigan Traffic Citations Penalties

Accident- Fail to Stop or ID after Personal Injury 6 points, misdemeanor, 90-day suspension

Accident- Fail to Stop or ID after Property Damage 6 points, misdemeanor

Accident- Hit and Run 6 points

Careless Driving 3 points

Disobey Stop Sign 3 points

Disobey Traffic Signal 3 points

Drag Racing 4 points

Drove While License Suspended/Revoked/Denied 2 points, misdemeanor, additional suspension

Drove Without Due Care & Caution 2 points

Failure to Dim Lights 2 points

Failure to Signal 2 points

Failure to Stop within Clear Distance 2 points

Failure to Yield 2 points

Failure to Yield Emergency Responder 4 points, misdemeanor

Improper Passing 3 points

Improper Turn 2 points

Open Intoxicant in Motor Vehicle 2 points; misdemeanor

Reckless Driving 6 points; misdemeanor; 90-day suspension

Speeding No Amount Given up through 10 mph over 2 points

Speeding up through 15 mph over 3 points

Speeding over 15 mph 4 points

Violation of Basic Speed Law 2 point

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