Q: Can I have an attorney appointed to represent me?
A: No. Attorneys are only appointed by a court in criminal cases. Municipal Courts do not handle criminal cases. The vase majority of people appearing in Municipal Courts do not have attorneys. If you are not represented by an attorney, the judge will protect your rights, and give you some guidance through the procedures.
Q: I missed my court date (initial appearance), what’s going to happen now?
A: If you missed a date that was more than two weeks ago, you were probably found guilty and judgment was entered against you by default. You can call the Court Clerk and confirm that, or simply wait until you receive a notice that gives you time in which to pay the forfeiture.
Q: Can I get a judgment that was entered against me by default reopened?
A: You can request the judge to reopen your case, explaining why you missed your court date and why you want it reopened. You can make your request in person on a court date, or mail your request to the court. A reopening fee might be charged. If the reopening request is more than six months past the entry of a judgment, a hearing will be held before the judge with the City Attorney present unless the City Attorney agrees to the request.
Q: I didn’t pay my forfeiture(s) and now I’m suspended. What can I do?
A: If you pay the forfeiture, the court will electronically notify the DMV of the payment. Then you have to pay a reinstatement fee to the DMV and they will reinstate your driving privileges. If you cannot pay the forfeiture(s), you can appear on a court date and request the judge to lift the suspension. It is likely that will be required to pay some portion of the amount owed and have a realistic plan to pay the balance.
Q: How does the point system work?
A: If you accumulate 12 or more points within a 12-month period, measured backwards from the date the last ticket was issued, the DOT will suspend your driving privilege.
Q: I'm afraid I'm going to lose my license on points. What can I do?
A: Appear on your court date and inform the judge of your license status. If you are willing to go to Point Reduction School, the judge is likely to hold your case open until you complete the school, at which time the DMV will deduct three points from your driving record.
Q: How long will this traffic charge remain on my record?
A: The points will remain on your record for only one year from the date of the violation. The charge itself will remain on your record for five years, except a charge of Operating While Intoxicated or Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration will remain on your record forever.