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Traffic Offenses


Under Michigan law, a traffic violation is classified as either a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. Sanctions are charge specific, but they can include fines and costs, license suspension and, in the case of misdemeanor traffic offenses, jail. Failure to take care of a traffic ticket may also lead to driver license suspension. In addition, points may be posted to your driving record.


Under Michigan’s point system, each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are placed on your driver record only after you have been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor or responsible for a civil infraction. Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction.

Driver Phone Bluetooth

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

Under Michigan law, some traffic violations are civil infractions while others are misdemeanors or felonies. Depending on the violation and how it is resolved, you may be fined, referred to a special program or, in the most serious situations, sent to jail. In most cases, if you do not take care of a traffic ticket, your driver license will be suspended.

Each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, you will have to pay certain court fines and costs. In addition, points may be posted to your driver record. Under Michigan's point system, each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are placed on your driver record only after you have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction. Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction. If you believe there are extenuating circumstances for the ticket you received, these must be submitted when you appear in court. The Secretary of State cannot set aside a court conviction or the points for it.


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?

If you look at only the cost of a traffic ticket ($150.00 to $180.00 for most civil infractions), you may think that it is cheaper just to pay it rather than hire a lawyer to fight it. The process to accept responsibility is made very easy and convenient by the the local court system. On the face of the ticket, you will be given options to pay in person or on-line. In fact, according to the National Motorists Association statistics, only 5% of Americans contest their traffic tickets. However, paying a traffic ticket without a fight will cost you far more in the long run. The government is not on your side and neither is your insurance company. You will be sorry very quickly if you pay a ticket without fighting it.

Here are the major disadvantages to paying a ticket without trying to fight:

  • Higher insurance premiums for 3-5 years following the incident which are far greater than the cost of a lawyer.

  • Points appear and accumulate on your master driving record.

  • The prosecutor will consider tickets that appear on your record should you contest future tickets.

  • Employers may deny or limit your use of company vehicles.

  • Getting a ticket set aside after you admit responsibility is expensive and not guaranteed.

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

The path of least resistance, paying the ticket versus fighting it, is not economically logical. The best course of action is to fight every ticket with a skilled traffic defense lawyer. Having an attorney who knows how to negotiate traffic tickets can make a huge difference in the outcome as well as your household’s bottom line budget for the next 3-5 years. In our experience, we always leave the court system better off than we started. On a consistent basis, traffic tickets can be resolved with an advantageous outcome which will protect your driving record and save you hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of dollars per year.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days do I have to respond to my ticket?
The district in which you received the violation will determine your response time. Usually you have between 10 and 21 days.

What happens if points are added to my record?
Every traffic violation adds points to your record. These points can accrue over time and impact your ability to drive. If you receive 8 points within 2 years, you will receive a warning letter. 12 points within 2 years results in an assessment of your record by Driver
Reexamination agents.

Why should I fight my ticket?
Failing to fight your ticket means that you plead guilty and the offense will show up on your record. Fighting it gives you a much higher chance of receiving reduced charges and keeping a clean record.

Will my insurance rates go up as a result of my ticket?
If the court convicts you, it is likely that your insurance rates will increase. Maintaining a safe and clean driving record often causes the insurance company to lower your rates.

Taking Notes

Providing Serious Defense for All Traffic Charges in Michigan

After receiving a traffic ticket, it is common to face many questions and concerns about your rights and future. When you secure our representation, we will address each of your concerns and answer all of your questions in order to help you obtain the peace of mind you deserve.


Attorney Mark Caldwell is fully equipped to handle the following violations:

  • US 131 freeway tickets

  • I-96 freeway tickets

  • I-196 freeway tickets

  • Speeding tickets

  • All civil infraction tickets

  • All misdemeanor tickets

  • Commercial drivers (CDL)

  • Equipment violations

  • Reckless driving

  • Careless driving

  • Driving with a license suspended (DWLS)

  • Racing / drag racing

  • Driving without a license

  • Fail to stop and ID

  • Fail to yield

  • Running a red light

  • Disobey traffic signal

And all other offenses listed on the offense code index

After performing an in-depth analysis of your case, we can inform you of your rights and legal options and guide you down the path that best suits your needs. It is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty and you have the right to an attorney.


With the proper representation, your traffic record can be kept clean!


We strongly advise against you facing the legal system alone. With our personalized defense strategies, we can help protect your driving record, your insurance rates, and your future. If you or someone you know has received a traffic ticket of any kind, act immediately. You may risk receiving additional fines that could work against you and prevent you from fighting your 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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