An Informal Hearing consists of the Magistrate, the defendant and the police officer who issued the ticket. Attorneys are not allowed to participate in an informal hearing. On the date of the hearing, the defendant may elect to admit responsibility, or admit responsibility with an explanation, or request a full hearing.
If a full hearing is requested, all parties are placed under oath and testimony is taken by the Magistrate. The burden of proving the defendant responsible is on the police officer who is also called the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, or that it is more likely than not, that the defendant is responsible for the alleged traffic violation. The defendant is also entitled to testify, including having witnesses testify on his behalf. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Magistrate will make a determination of responsible or not responsible. If either party is not satisfied with the outcome, the case may be appealed within seven days of the hearing to a Formal Hearing before a District Judge. If the decision is appealed by the Defendant, a bond must be posted in the amount of the fine. At the Formal Hearing, the defendant may be represented by an attorney, and the Prosecutor will represent the Plaintiff’s case.