|Appealing a Traffic Court Decision and Motions to Reconsider|
Traffic Court Appeals
You have the absolute right to appeal any General District Court or Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court ruling within ten days. As part of your appeal, you will receive a new trial in front of a new judge in the local Circuit Court.
As soon as you file your appeal with the traffic court clerk, the traffic court’s punishments are vacated and completely erased. If you appeal a decision within ten days, you will not owe fines and will once again be innocent of the charges.
If you choose to withdraw your appeal, you must do so within ten days of filing it. As soon as you withdraw your appeal, the original fines and costs again become your responsibility. Any appeal not withdrawn within ten days goes to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court is a completely different court and in some counties the Circuit Court is located in a different building or even a different city.
You cannot have a jury trial in General District Court or Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, but in Circuit court you have a right to a jury. You should expect to pay higher court costs in Circuit Court (usually about $150 extra). If you wish to have a jury trial the cost is approximately $500 a day. These costs are only incurred in the event that you are found guilty (even if you are found guilty of a lesser offence).
Your trial in Circuit Court is a complete do-over. It is possible that the punishment you receive will be more severe than the one you received in General District Court. Be sure to speak with a local traffic attorney about the possibility of receiving a more severe punishment in Circuit Court before deciding to appeal a speeding case.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your case as a result of having gone to trial by yourself, contact a local traffic attorney for a free consultation to discuss what the likely outcome of an appeal would be.
Motions to Reconsider
A driver who was sentenced by a traffic court judge may request that the same judge reconsider his ruling. The driver hasten days following the hearing to make such a request. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant the request. There are two situations when a driver would normally ask for a motion to reconsider: 1) when a driver has important evidence that was not available at trial and 2) when a driver was tried in absentia (i.e. without being present).
If either of these situations apply and the driver wants the judge to change his mind, the driver makes a motion to reconsider within ten days and then appears before the judge to argue why the case should be reconsidered. The driver must first argue why the judge should grant the motion before the driver can even begin to argue for a new outcome to the case.
If you are considering a motion to reconsider, consult a local traffic attorney first.