Online ticket review system streamlines process of resolving traffic citations

This article first appeared in C and G News and was written by Alex Tekip.

(Photo by John McTaggart)

(Photo by John McTaggart)

HARPER WOODS — Drivers charged with civil traffic infractions in Harper Woods — speeding, running a red light or a stop sign, among others — can now resolve a citation from anywhere with internet access.

The 32A District Court’s online traffic ticket review system has been operating since April. According to a press release from the 32A District Court, the online ticket review system allows the city attorney or Wayne County prosecutor to review a driver’s position that can be submitted online. The court follows up and lets the driver know his or her fines, the majority of which can be paid online.

Court Administrator Marcy Ruggirello said the online traffic ticket review speeds up the process of resolving a traffic ticket. She said officers typically set court dates anywhere from three weeks to two months after a citation. Online ticket review shortens the process to about a week.

Ruggirello said the shortened process of the online ticket review is valuable for a defendant, who may have otherwise had to adjust his or her schedule to attend court.

“I think it’s helpful for the defendant,” she said. “I always think of their time. Their time is valuable, and if they don’t have to have the stress and the taking of time off work to come to court, I think it’s a good thing.”

“Online ticket review provides our customers the convenience of resolving traffic citations online, anytime, saving the expense of missing work,” said Chief Judge Dan Palmer in the press release issued by the court. “Just as important, the system helps police, prosecutors and judges resolve cases more efficiently and more quickly.”

The 32A Distict Court’s online ticket review system can be accessed atwww.courtinnovations.com/MID32A, or by visiting the Traffic Division link on the 32A District Court’s page at the city’s website, www.harperwoodscity.org. The ticket review system is separate from the site used to pay tickets online.

Before a driver can have his or her ticket reviewed online, he or she must input his or her driver’s license number and date of birth, then answer a series of questions to determine eligibility, including submitting his or her email address and cellphone number, and a comment if he or she wishes.

Ruggirello said eligibility primarily is based on a person’s driving record. The decision rests with the city attorney if the infraction was issued by a Harper Woods officer, and the Wayne County prosecutor if it was issued by a state trooper.

“Let’s say they’ve got five tickets on their record already. That would probably make them ineligible,” she said. “They’ve basically got to have a good record.”

According to the press release, drivers cannot have a defaulted, or late, ticket in order to be eligible for online ticket review. In addition, drivers must have no more than two citations in the past four years and no more than two citations currently open.

The press release said the 32A District Court is among the first courts in Michigan to implement online ticket review. Other courts that use the system include Bay County, East Lansing, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Highland Park, Washtenaw County and the city of Wayne.

The 32A District Court has built a reputation for high user satisfaction — 2015 was the court’s third consecutive year achieving a high ranking in that category on a survey conducted by the Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Office.

According to the press release, the court hopes to build off its high satisfaction rate in the implementation of the online traffic ticket review program.

Ruggirello said the number of residents who use the online ticket review system has increased since it was first introduced.

“I think word is getting out from our clerks, and the defendants call in and they offer this as an alternate means for them,” she said.

Ruggirello receives online ticket reviews before they’re handed off to the Wayne County prosecutor or city attorney.  As somebody who is exposed to the system routinely, she said it makes the process easier for all parties involved.

“I know I would feel stressed going to court if I had to,” she said. “If I could do it this way, I would like to do it. I think it’s a good service to offer.”

Posted in In the news.