Speeding Tickets in Michigan
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Michigan
Michigan Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
In Michigan and in many states, there are three types of speed limits: absolute, prima facie, presumed or basic speed limit. In general, if a driver does not comply with these limits, they will receive a ticket which may require payment of fee upon conviction. In Michigan, Being convicted on a speeding offense may also add points a driver’s license. Statutes and laws concerning speed limits are found in the Michigan Vehicle Code and the Michigan Complied Laws.
As noted, there are three main types of speed limits. The first type is known as an absolute speed limit. These limits state the absolute maximum speed a vehicle can travel in certain area or roadway. In states with absolute speed limits, driving over the speed limit even slightly is a violation. In Michigan, the speed limits are only absolute of state freeways. On freeways, the maximum speed limit 70MPH. Drivers exceeding this speed would violate this absolute speed limit. These state freeways include both rural and urban interstates; any freeway maintained by the state. On state freeways, trucks may not exceed a speed of 60 MPH. If the speed limit on the freeway has been lowered to a speed less than 70 MPH, then the speed limit for trucks is 55 MPH. 55 MPH is the maximum speed on highways if it has not been fixed elsewhere. 50 MPH is the maximum speed for school bus drivers; however that speed is increased to 55 MPH on limited access highways or freeways. There are also minimum speed limits for state freeways is 55 MPH, and a driver going below this absolute limit has committed a traffic violation.
It is important to note with these absolute speed limits, signs do not have to be posted.
Many states also use prima facie speed limits. Prima facie means “on the face” and in this situation it refers to the fact that driving faster the posted speed limit is evidence of unreasonable speed. However, in these situations, a driver can produce evidence showing that although he or she exceeding the speed limit, his or her speed was safe. This differs from absolute speed limits in that exceeding does not automatically mean you were driving at unreasonable speed. In Michigan, city roads and highways have prima facie speed limits. In general, the maximum limit for city business, residential districts, public parks, and schools is 25 MPH. 25 MPH is also the limit of county highways. However, city and county governments may establish and change the limit in many of these areas; therefore it is important to watch for posted signs. If local authority changes the prima facie speed limit, then signs must be posted for the new speed limit to be binding.
The third limit type is the presumed speed limit. Violations of a presumed speed limit occur when a person drives at a speed that is unreasonable given a special hazard or the conditions of the road. Often in these situations, a person has been driving under the posted speed, but still too fast given the current driving conditions. Situations involving presumed speed limits often involve weather conditions such as driving in the rain, and road conditions such as driving too fast given the amount of traffic. In Michigan, a person cannot drive at speed greater or less than is “reasonable and proper” with regard to traffic, any conditions present, and to the width and surface of the highway. Therefore, an officer may issue a ticket if a driver is going to fast or too slow for the present road conditions.
Elements of a Speeding Charge in Michigan
The elements of a speeding charge are requirements for a driver to found guilty of a charged offense. Unless, a driver admits guilt, it must be established and proved in a hearing. In general, the plaintiff who is usually the citing officer has the burden of proof. This means, that the officer has to prove each element of the charged offense. In civil cases, the plaintiff must prove the elements a preponderance of evidence. This means, the officer must show that is more likely than not that event occurred and the elements existed. This is different from the burden of proof in criminal cases which is beyond a reasonable doubt. While most speeding violations are civil infractions, some such as speeding in a school zone are criminal misdemeanors. It is important to understand your charge and the related elements.
The basic elements of a speeding offense in Michigan are the identity of the vehicle, the identity of the driver, the place where the violation occurred, and jurisdiction of the offense. In general, the plaintiff must identify the vehicle involving in the violation. He or she must also identify the driver. Moreover, the officer must show that the violation occurred on a public highway. Additionally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the violation occurred in the officer’s jurisdiction and under the political subdivision that created the statute or ordinance at issue. The plaintiff must show that the offense took place under the magistrate’s jurisdiction. He or she must show that the driver or defendant operated a motor vehicle or highway and the speed of vehicle was in violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code or a local ordinance.