May people have questions when they receive a ticket in from a police officer or in the mail. The first question usually is how can the ticket be taken care of. When tickets are issued the officer will indicate the “Type” of ticket issued ( usually in the middle portion of the ticket). The choices under “Type” include the following “C/I” (civil infraction); “Misd” (misdemeanor); “Fel” (felony); “Warn” (warning); “Fug” (fugitive); and “Waiv” (Waivable).
“Warn” (warnings) are just that. They do not require any further action on behalf of the person issued the ticket
“C/I” (civil infraction) can be handled by either paying the ticket before the appearance date that is indicated on the ticket. The person issued the ticket has the opinion to challenge the ticket at a hearing. Many people who receive moving violations (for example: speeding; disobey traffic control device, etc.) choose to challenge the ticket to try and avoid points and to try and avoid having the ticket appear on the person’s driving record. The person issued the ticket can elect to schedule a formal or informal hearing with the court. Formal hearings often occur when the person issued the ticket hires a lawyer to contest the ticket (which is often a smart decision). At a formal hearing the ticket can either be contested in front of the Judge or the parties reach a resolution of the ticket (which on many occasions involves a reduction). Informal hearings involve only the person issued the ticket, the police officer who issued the ticket, and a magistrate. Informal hearings often place the person who was issued the ticket at a disadvantage because the magistrate likely has a regular familiar relationship with the police officer, the person issued the ticket more likely than not has no relationship with the court, and the District Court relies upon the money it collects from tickets as part of its operating budget. Hence, the chance of prevailing at a informal hearing in many courts is low.
“Misd” (misdemeanor) tickets more often than not require the attendance in court of the person issued the ticket by or before the appearance date. A person issued a misdemeanor ticket has the right to retain a lawyer of his or her choosing, request a court appointed lawyer, or self represent. With a misdemeanor ticket the best course of action is to immediately retain a lawyer.
“Fel” (Felony) tickets always require the person issued the ticket to appear. Again, the person issued the felony ticket has a right to legal representation.
“Waiv” (waivable). There are sometimes offenses called “Waivable misdemeanors” which permits the person named on the ticket to simply pay a fine and have a conviction on their record rather than appear in court. Sometimes a civil infraction is waivable. This usually occurs when there is an equipment violation (for example: illegal tint; broken tail light). A waivable civil infraction allows the person who received the ticket to have the issue repaired and submit proof of that repair in exchange for having the ticket dismissed.