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Prior to 1981, minor traffic or motor vehicle offenses were crimes. The Legislature has decriminalized many traffic, parks, wildlife, and fisheries offenses. These offenses are now called infractions and are civil cases
Start by reading the entire backside of your notice of infraction (ticket). If you follow the instructions, you can’t go wrong!
A person has three options when he/she receives an infraction:
In Douglas County there’s also the option to use the Infraction Hearing Online form in lieu of appearing in person, for Contested and Mitigation Hearings.
A mitigation hearing is where you admit you committed the violation but wish to explain the circumstances of the infraction. To request a mitigation hearing, you should check box two. The Judge, depending on the explanation and your record, may adjust the penalty. However, the Judge will not dismiss your ticket. As the Court is required to forward all committed traffic tickets to the Department of Licensing, it will appear on your driving record.
If you believe you did not commit the violation, then you should select box three and have a contested hearing. As a result of a contested hearing, the penalty may stay the same, be reduced, or the ticket dismissed. In the event that you have subpoenaed witnesses, you may be required to pay court costs. A contested infraction hearing is a civil case and the Judge will decide upon a preponderance of the evidence.