8th District Court - Traffic Division
Denial of Responsibility
If you believe you are not responsible for the civil infraction violation, you must contact the Court within 10 calendar days (from the date the citation was issued) to request a hearing.
This may be accomplished by:
- Telephone: Call the District Court at the phone number shown on your citation.
- Appearing: Appear at the District Court Office.
- Mail: Mark the area on the back of the ticket to designate your plea of not responsible and sign in the area provided. Mail the citation - along with your current mailing address and telephone number - to the court so that it will be received on or before the 10th calendar day.
After the Court receives your denial of responsibility, a hearing will be scheduled before a District Court Magistrate. Review the following information so you may proceed knowledgeably at the hearing:
- You will receive a Notice to Appear in the mail directing you when and where to appear for your hearing. The Notice to Appear will direct you to call the night before the hearing to confirm the hearing will be held as scheduled. Calling the Court the night before will avoid an unnecessary trip if the matter was rescheduled.
- If there are eye witnesses, you may have them appear at the hearing. They may voluntarily appear or you may require their appearance via a subpoena. Likewise, the officer may have witnesses present at the hearing.
- You may not be represented by an attorney at an informal hearing. Neither you nor the officer may be represented by an attorney when a Magistrate hears the case.
- The Magistrate will allow you and the officer to present your case. Be prepared to state why you believe you are not responsible; bring copies of any documents supporting your position to provide to the Magistrate at the hearing.
- The Magistrate will render a decision (typically at the time of the hearing) and a judgment will be entered. If you are found not responsible for the violation, the matter will be closed. If you are found responsible, the Magistrate will assess fines and costs. The amount assessed will be due immediately; payment will be tendered at the District Court Clerk's Office. The conviction will be reported to the Secretary of State immediately and points will be assessed to the driving record for applicable offenses.
- Appeal of the Magistrate's decision may be demanded within 7 calendar days from the date of the judgment. To appeal the judgment, you must complete the Claim of Appeal form and post a bond in an amount equal to the fines and costs assessed by the Magistrate.
- A formal hearing will be scheduled before a District Court Judge who will hear the matter de novo (as though it had never been heard before).
- You will receive a Notice to Appear directing you when and where to appear before the Judge. The Notice will also direct you to call the Court the evening before your hearing to verify that your case is still on the court docket for the date and time scheduled. Calling the Court the night before will avoid an unnecessary trip if the matter was rescheduled.
- If there are eye witnesses that support your belief, have them appear at the hearing. They may voluntarily appear, or you may require their appearance via a subpoena. Likewise, the officer may have witnesses present at the hearing.
- An attorney may represent you at the formal hearing. If you opt to have an attorney represent you, contact your attorney immediately. A Prosecuting Attorney will represent the officer at the formal hearing.
- The conviction will remain on your driving record pending the outcome of the formal hearing. The court is required to report the conviction regardless of whether or not the judgment is appealed. If you are found not responsible at the formal hearing, the conviction will be removed from your driving record.
- If you fail to appear at the hearing a default judgment will be entered against you, and an additional penalty fee of $25 will be assessed. Failure to comply with the Judgment (pay fines and costs) will eventually result in a suspension of driving privileges and additional fees.
- Motion To Set Aside The Default Judgment.. Following the entry of the default judgment, you may file a Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment within 14 days (from the date of mailing). Be sure to state the reasons why you believe you are not responsible for the violation in Item 3 on the Motion. When the Motion is filed, you must post a bond in the amount of the fines & costs. A Judge will grant or deny the Motion ex parte (without a hearing). A copy of the Order granting or denying the Motion will be returned to you by mail. If the Motion is granted, a Notice to Appear should accompany the Order. If the Motion is denied, the bond will be applied toward the fines and costs.
- If the officer fails to appear at the hearing, the matter will be dismissed without prejudice and the case closed. However, the officer may file a Motion to Set Aside the Dismissal. If the motion is granted, a new hearing will be scheduled and you will receive a Notice to Appear along with a copy of the Order granting the Motion to Set Aside the Dismissal.
The data contained herein is for informational purposes only; it is not legal advice.