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Criminal and Traffic Department

The Criminal Division handles misdemeanor and felony cases.  The district court has jurisdiction of misdemeanor cases.  The district court is also responsible for the arraignment, probable cause conference, and preliminary examination on a felony case.  The first appearance on a felony case, the arraignment, is conducted via video conferencing. If video conferencing is unavailable, the arraignment will be handled in person at the 34th District courthouse. 




The Traffic Division handles cases where a traffic violation has occurred. The two types of traffic violations are:

Civil Infractions

Civil Infractions, marked as “C. I.” on a ticket, are minor traffic violations, such as speeding, illegal turns, booster seat violations, seatbelt violations, etc… Civil Infraction traffic violations are non-criminal violations and punishable by only fines and costs. Depending on the violation, the Secretary of State may add points to your driving record.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors, marked as “Misd” on a citation, are usually more serious traffic violations that can result in arrest. The maximum penalty for crimes in this category is $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. Most misdemeanor cases require a mandatory court appearance. Failure to appear can result in a warrant for your arrest.


 

  • Civil infraction traffic violations such as: speeding, illegal turns, going through a red light, etc. These traffic violations are non-criminal.
  • Misdemeanor traffic violations (which can result in arrest). These violations are criminal in nature and the maximum penalty for crimes in this category is a fine up to $1000 and/or 90 days in jail.
  • City ordinance violations that are criminal offenses such as: violations of the gun law, prostitution, disorderly conduct, and drug offenses that violate city ordinance rather than state law.
  • Environmental cases are criminal matters that include building safety, hazardous waste and littering offenses.

If you are charged with a civil infraction violation, you must respond to the ticket. Your options are:

  • To admit responsibility for the violation and pay the amount indicated on the ticket. This may be done in person at the court or by mail.
  • To admit responsibility with an explanation attached to the ticket describing any special circumstances. Your written explanation must state that you are admitting responsibility and must be signed. A magistrate will review the ticket and your explanation. You will be notified by mail of the magistrate’s decision.
  • To deny responsibility. You must contact the Court and request a hearing, either by mail, telephone, representation or in person, within 10 days to deny responsibility.Failure to respond to a civil infraction within the allowed time period will result in the entry of a default judgment against the driver. Points will be placed on the driver’s record and the secretary of state may suspend the driver’s license. Before driving privileges can be restored, it will be necessary to pay the judgment amount as well as any late fees and a mandatory license reinstatement fee.