What is an Informal Hearing?
An Informal Hearing consists of the Magistrate, the respondent and the police officer who issued the ticket. Attorneys are not allowed to participate in an Informal Hearing. Both individuals are placed under oath and the Magistrate listens to the testimony.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 respondent is responsible for the alleged traffic violation. The respondent is also entitled to testify, including having witnesses testify on his/her 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 Informal Hearing to a Formal Hearing, which will then be sent to the Criminal Division and held before a District Judge. If the decision is appealed by the resp