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City of Lansing

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-Mayor Virg Bernero

Mayor Virg Bernero
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54-A District Court back

Traffic Tickets

Options Upon Receipt of a Traffic Ticket
Failure to Appear at an Informal Hearing
Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment
Offenses Where Fines and Costs May Be Waived

What is a traffic ticket?

A traffic ticket, also known as a traffic citation or civil infraction, is an act or omission which is not a crime. You are either responsible or not responsible for a traffic ticket; there is no determination of guilt.  Traffic tickets result in fines but are not subject to jail sentences.

What are my options if I receive a traffic ticket?
  1. Admit responsibility.
  2. Admit responsibility with explanation.
  3. Deny responsibility.

1. To Admit Responsibility Without Explanation:

Appear at the court within 3 to 14 days from the date you received the ticket. Bring your copy of the ticket with you to the traffic counter on the 6th floor; or

Sign the back of your ticket and mail it along with your payment to the court.  Payment must be recieved within 14 days.

To find the cost of your ticket, refer to the 54-A District Court's fine schedule. If your violation is not listed on the fine schedule, call the court to see if there is a scheduled fine or whether an appearance before a judge or magistrate is required.

2. To Admit Responsibility With Explanation:

If you do not dispute the violation but believe there were mitigating factors, you may write a letter explaining the circumstances, sign the back of the ticket, and mail the ticket along with your written explanation to the court. It must be received within 14 days from the date you received the ticket. Do not send payment with your explanation.

The court will read and consider your explanation and either mail a response with an amount owed, or schedule a hearing.

3. To Deny Responsibility:

Contact the court within 3 to 14 calendar days and request a hearing. If there is more than one charge listed on your ticket you must specify those charges you wish to deny. The court will mail a hearing notice to the address on record.

Unless a formal hearing is specifically requested, pleas of not responsible will be scheduled for an informal hearing with the magistrate. Attorneys are not allowed at an informal hearing.   Both you and the officer who issued the ticket will be at the hearing.  If you are found responsible, the magistrate will order you to pay the judgment within 30 days. 

If you wish to appeal the decision, you must do so within 14 days of the magistrate's decision.  If you appeal, you are required to post a bond equal to the amount of the judgment, and the case will be scheduled for a formal hearing before a judge.

You may choose to hire an attorney to represent you at the formal hearing. The officer will be represented by a city or county prosecutor.

What if I don't show up for my hearing?

Failure to appear for a hearing will result in entry of a default judgment.  A notice of fines and costs will be mailed to your address on record. If payment is not made within 30 calendar days, your driver's license may be suspended and additional fees will be added until the judgment is paid.

Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment

You may file a motion to have the default judgment set aside within 14 calendar days from the day the default judgment notice was sent. You must come to court, complete the motion form and post a bond in the amount of the judgment. Your motion will be reviewed by the court and a decision mailed back to you. If the motion is denied, the bond will be used to pay the judgment. If the motion is granted a new hearing will be scheduled and a notice mailed to you.

Offenses Where Fines and Costs May Be Waived

The following tickets may be waived if proof of operator's license, registration, repair or certificate of insurance is shown within 14 calendar days of the issuance of the ticket:

  • No Operator's License in Possession
  • No proof of Registration
  • Defective Equipment

Proof may be submitted directly to the court or certified by a police officer on the reverse side of the ticket. If you have an officer sign the back of your ticket it still remains your responsibility to submit that ticket to the court within 14 calendar days. Your ticket will not be dismissed by the court but the fines and costs will be waived.

54A-District Court
6th Floor City Hall
124 W Michigan Ave
Lansing ,MI 48933
(517) 483-4433

Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.