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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default Defaulted After Accidentally Missing A Court Date

    cited for "no proof of insurance", I had 20 days to show the proof to the court and have the charge waived.
    But I honestly was mistaken as to the due date (which was last Monday, I thought it was this coming Monday) and they just sent me a default judgement - it's gonna cost $185.
    But that's not the bad news - I'm expecting to get hit with Michigan's Driver Responsibilty law and have to pay $200 this year and $200 next near, for a total of $585 just for my missing the due date.
    I have insurance, and I have the proof. I was just expecting to drive to Canton this coming Monday and take care of it. (I live about 30 minutes away).
    my driving record is near-perfect (2 pts a few years ago, 3 pts maybe 10 years ago, and that's it for 30 years of driving).
    also, by the way, on the default judgement notice they sent me, they typed the wrong plate number (they typed a 'G' instead of an 'F').
    I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble to file a challenge to the default judgement - I'm definitely guilty of the offense of not producing the insurance proof so I don't see how I could challenge the verdict.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,653

    Default Traffic Problem in Michigan

    I would suggest contacting a local lawyer who handles traffic matters, to see if the lawyer can contact the prosecuting authority in charge of the ticket and convince them to let you defend against the ticket. It's tricky to get a default set aside - if you don't want to hire a lawyer, you should try to do it yourself due to the high cost of doing nothing, but your chances go up with a lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    thanks, aaron.
    also, I thought that Michigan had repealed the stupid Driver Responsibility act (as least as far as the no-proof-of-insurance goes), but there it is on the State of Michigan web site.

    so, I don't know for sure I'll get hit with the extra $400, but from reading what it says on the MI web site it looks like I will.

    I can live with the $185 - I screwed up so that's how it goes - but it's that extra $400 I'd sure like to avoid. the whole thing just seems so ridiculous.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    it looks like Michigan only lets you out of the extra $400 if you show your proof of insurance to the court before the court date. Since my problem is that I missed the court date (which was anytime within 20 days from the violation) it looks like I'm gonna get stuck with it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,653

    Default Traffic Ticket

    Again, you can attempt to have the default set aside, but it is easier to do so through an attorney (particularly if the attorney is on good relations with the prosecutor). If you don't try to have the default set aside then, yes, you'll be stuck with the fines and penalties.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    what I'm wondering is what would be the basis for the set aside.

    since I'm clearly "guilty", and my only defense is that I "didn't mean to do it" or something similar to that, I was wondering if that is ever enough of a basis for a set-aside. I'm planning to ask an attorney acquaintance tonight about it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,653

    Default Default

    And that is a legitimate, problematic question, given the court rule involved. (But it is, nevertheless, sometimes possible to finesse things with the prosecutor and a sympathetic judge.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    wasn't able to see my attorney acquaintance last night; I expect to see him today.

    what I'm learning, though, is that:

    - I'll not only need the default judgement set aside, but I'll also need to get the charge dimissed (or be acquitted) to avoid paying all the fines.

    what I mean is that, let's say they grant me a court date. but since I have no cause whatever to challenge the no-proof charge (other than I don't want to pay the fines), I guess I'd have to hope the judge likes me or my lawyer and just decides to throw out the case for no real reason.

    - my motion to set aside has to have 1. good reason for not responding (which I have: my innocent neglect), and also, 2. meritorious reasons why I'm innocent of the charge (which I don't have - what am I supposed to say, that the officer made the whole thing up and I really did show him proof?)

    anyway I suppose a lawyer could figure a way out of this, but it's not looking too likely right now.

    like I said, I'll ask my lawyer friend about it today.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I noticed that my default judgement notice has two errors - the plate number has one letter wrong, and the plaintiff is shown as "city of plymouth" instead of "township of canton", which is correct and on the initial citation.

    (that might help me get the set aside, but it doesn't help me get the no-proof charge dismissed.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Allen Park, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    update - I went to talk to my lawyer aquaintance (a former district judge) but he wasn't in yet. However I did talk to a friend of his who was a long-time court employee, and he gave me a lot of good advice (which I wrote down).

    basically he told me to pay the $185., and ask the clerk if he could talk to somebody (like the prosecutor) who could plea-bargain the charge to something else (so the state of MI won't be charging me two yearly $200 payments for violating the Driver Responsibility Act).

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