Traffic violations under municipal ordinance, classified as non-criminal offenses, carry only a monetary penalty. The person may pay the established penalty for the violation set forth in the Dickinson Municipal Code. Non-criminal offenses include (but are not limited to) violations such as speeding, disregarding a stop sign, failure to register a motor vehicle, possession of tobacco by persons under age 21, and animal-at-large violations.
Receiving a Citation
If you are issued a citation for a non-criminal offense, you may plead guilty by paying the bond amount listed on your citation, or plead not guilty by posting the bond amount and requesting a court date within 14 days of the offense date.
The following information relates specifically to non-criminal offenses:
If you pay the required fee by the due date given on the citation, there is no further action required on your part. NOTE: This is entering a plea of guilty/no contest. The bond amount for a non-criminal offense must be paid in full online, in person, over the phone, or by mail. After hours, on weekends, or on holidays, you may deposit your bond in the drop-box located in the east alleyway next to the City Hall building.
If you wish to plead not guilty you must request a hearing and post the required bond indicated on the citation within 14 days of the offense date. The bond will be returned to you if you are found not guilty. By law, an Administrative Traffic Trial must occur within 90 days of the offense date.
Pretrial Conference: The Clerk’s Office will give you a date for a Pretrial Conference, roughly within 6 weeks of the offense. Before this date, make an appointment with the City Prosecutor to request discovery. Court Appointed Attorneys are not eligible for non-criminal offenses, but you may retain an attorney at your own expense. This hearing is held to discuss the discovery documents, and gives the defendant an opportunity to accept a possible amendment of the original charge, or decide to take the case to trial.
If you are not represented by an attorney, and would like a trial in Municipal Court, a Status Conference is held approximately 2 weeks prior to the trial date for one final meeting to finalize the preparation for the trial.
Administrative Traffic Trial: As is the procedure for criminal bench trials, the City Prosecutor and the defendant have the opportunity to cross-examine anyone who testifies. You do not have a right to a jury trial in a non-criminal matter except for non-criminal traffic offenses with a fine of $20.00 or more. You must appear on the date and time scheduled for the trial, or the posted bond will be forfeited (guilty by non-appearance) and the case will be closed.
Burden of proof: In non-criminal cases, the burden of proof required is the preponderance of the evidence, which means the City of Dickinson must only show that the offense is more likely than not to have occurred.
The following information relates specifically to No Liability Insurance citations:
If you had valid liability insurance at the time of the stop, but not in your possession, you may present your proof to the City Prosecutor’s office at 38 2nd Avenue E, Dickinson, ND. Upon reviewing your document(s) and confirming your insurance to be valid, the Prosecutor will order a dismissal of the citation, which would be mailed to the address on the ticket. No further action would be required on your part.
If you did not have valid liability insurance at the time of the stop, follow the procedures previously outlined for non-criminal offenses. You may be required to file proof of liability insurance (SR-22). Contact the ND DOT at (701) 328-2604 for more information.
Failure to Pay
If you do not follow the procedures as outlined, your driving privileges may be suspended by the North Dakota Department of Transportation, or by the licensing authority in the state where you are licensed. For certain traffic and non-traffic offenses, such as Open Container in a Motor Vehicle (passenger), Animal-at-Large, or Possession of Tobacco (under 21), the Municipal Clerk of Court may order a Failure to Comply complaint & summons, which is a class B Misdemeanor (see Criminal Procedures for maximum penalties).
To Appeal a Guilty Verdict in Municipal Court
For non-criminal cases, you may appeal your case to the District Court. A written notice of appeal must be filed with the Municipal Clerk of Court within 30 days after the entry of judgment. The conviction is reported to the state licensing authority even if an appeal is filed.
The Clerk will then forward the court file to the Clerk of District Court within five days after the appeal is filed. The Clerk of District Court will notify the defendant of future court appearances.
For information on getting points reduced on your driving record by attending a Defensive Driving Course, visit the ND DOT here.