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A formal hearing is held before a district court judge regarding a civil infraction offense with the defendant and the police officer (plaintiff) under oath. At a formal hearing the prosecutor or city attorney will represent the plaintiff; the defendant may also be represented by his or her own attorney.

The plaintiff has the burden of proving the defendant is responsible by a preponderance of the evidence, or that it is more likely than not, that the defendant is responsible for the alleged offense. The judge will make a determination as to the defendant's responsibility.

If neither party is satisfied with the outcome of a formal hearing, the case may be appealed to the Oakland County Circuit Court within 21 days of the district court judge's decision. If the decision is appealed by the defendant, bond must be posted in the amount of the fine. (Michigan Court Rule: Chapter 7.100 Appeals to Circuit Court)