Civil infractions are civil wrongs that do not rise to the level of a misdemeanor. Student Legal Services can give advice on civil infractions, but cannot represent. Students must respond to the tickets promptly and should schedule an appointment immediately upon receiving the citation.
Upon receiving a Civil Infraction you must respond within the time indicated on the ticket, usually 10 days. You have 3 options:
- Admit Responsibility – By pleaing responsible to accept the fine and corresponding points. If it is your first ticket, check with the Secretary of State to see if you are eligible for the Basic Driver Improvement Program. This program allows you to keep the points of your record.
- Admit Responsibility with an Explanation – Under this option you can submit a written explanation which the judge may take into consideration to reduce fines. You still get the points. 54-B offers a process called Online Case Review by which you can submit your argument online and get a judge’s opinion without going to court. Take note that the time to respond is less than 10 days.
- Deny Responsibility – Use this option if you wish to dispute whether you should have received the ticket at all.
You have the option of an informal or formal hearing. With the informal hearing, the officer goes first because they have the burden of proof. The burden, however, is just the preponderance of the evidence, more likely than not. Then you respond. Attorneys are not allowed to appear. If you lose, you may appeal to a formal hearing.
With a formal hearing, both sides may be represented by an attorney and the rules of evidence apply. If you lose you may be responsible for higher costs.