Traffic Citations: An Important Element of Public Safety
Aug 01, 2016 10:05AM
● By Bryan Scott
By Michelle Henderson – Midvale Justice Court Administrator
Midvale, Utah - Speeding citations, forgetting to get your car registered, rolling a stop sign or running a red light are the most common reasons people receive a traffic citation. These citations can be seen as an annoyance and waste of the police officers’ time or as a reminder to make sure that you are always following the law. Tra c violation citations may seem like small potatoes in the larger game of criminal justice, but they are not something that should be ignored.
Why traffic citations? Traffic enforcement is a vital part of public safety in a community because it ensures that the roads are safe for citizens to travel. The majority of accidents on Utah roads are related to speeding, inattentive driving and failure to obey traffic devices such as stop signs and stop lights. It may be “just a speeding citation” but it is an important part of the public safety machine. When you receive a traffic citation, don’t ignore it. Once you have been cited for violating a traffic law, you are responsible to appear before to court to take care of it. There are multiple options available to those who have received a traffic citation, including options that don’t require an appearance at court. Five days after you have received your citation, you should do the following:
1. Call the Court at 801-255-4234 or go to the Justice Court website at www.midvalecity.org/departments/justice-court (the new website is still under construction and will be updated frequently).
2. Find out if you qualify for a Plea in Abeyance. A Plea in Abeyance is a method designed to help you dismiss the ticket at the end of probation terms. In the Midvale Justice Court this requires that you not have had a moving violation in the last three years. There is an additional $25 fee on top of the ne amount (which is dictated by the speed you were going) and an additional fee for traffic school. Once you have paid your fee and attended traffic school the case is dismissed.
3. Set a court date. If you feel that the citation was issued in error, you have the right to contest the ticket and see the judge. Traffic Citation arraignments (initial appearance court dates) are held Monday through Wednesday at either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. and are by appointment only.
What if you ignore the citation? If you fail to contact the court regarding your citation it will not go away. In fact, it will only get more damaging to your record. There are two steps taken by the court when a traffic citation isn’t followed up on. A er two weeks an additional $50 delinquent fee is added to the fine amount of the ticket. If the ticket still hasn’t been addressed after 40 days, a Failure to Appear charge is added to the case and a warrant is issued. Traffic citations are infractions which means that there is no jail time attached to the violation. A Failure to Appear charge is a Class B Misdemeanor charge and it, and a history of issued warrants, will show up on your criminal history. Charges, and convictions, of this type can affect your ability to obtain a job, get a loan, or find housing. A Failure to Appear charge will also be forwarded to the Driver License Division of the State of Utah and your driving privileges may be revoked and will not be reinstated until you appear at court and resolve the issue. Failure to follow through as instructed on your traffic citation can have very large consequences.
The Midvale City Justice Court wants all citizens who come through its boundaries to have a safe, pleasant experience. If you receive a traffic citation while in Midvale, the court is here to help you navigate the process and resolve the citations as quickly as possible so that no citizen has to be subject to the consequences of failing to do so. The court clerks are here to help answer questions, explain charges, explain the process and assist you in finding the best way to resolve the citation. Public safety is a priority for Midvale City. It ensures safety and security for its residents, business owners and commuting workers. If you have any questions regarding a traffic citation you have received p urt at 801-255-4234 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.