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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What does the City Attorney do?

The City Attorney's Office performs all legal services for the City, including legal advice to City officials, preparation and review of contracts and other legal documents, prosecution of persons accused of violating City ordinances, and representation of the City and City officials in lawsuits.

Can an attorney employed by the City of Ann Arbor represent me in court, prepare a legal document, or give me legal advice on a specific legal issue?

No. Attorneys in the Legal Department serve as the attorneys for City government and City officials, rather than for individual citizens. Individuals must retain their own attorneys for legal advice and representation.

Who do I call to find an attorney or other legal assistance?

The Washtenaw County Bar Association coordinates a Lawyer Referral Service. Call them at 734-996-3229. Also, for University of Michigan students, Student Legal Services may be able to help you. Call them at 734-763-9920.

Where is the City Attorney's Office located?

3rd Floor of Larcom City Hall, 301 E. Huron.

Freedom of Information Act

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

FOIA regulates and sets requirements for the disclosure of public records by all public bodies in the state, including all state agencies, county and other local governments, school boards, and boards, departments, commissions, councils, and public colleges and universities.

How do I file a FOIA request?

Requests for police reports should be made through the Ann Arbor Police Records Unit. For more information visit: Records.aspx

For complete instructions on how to file a FOIA request, please click here to visit the city clerk's FOIA page: http://www.a2gov.org/government/city_administration/
city_clerk/pages/freedomofinformationact.aspx

Requests for public records must be submitted to the City of Ann Arbor’s FOIA Coordinator in writing by U.S. mail, fax or email, as listed below.   

 U.S. Mail:    Attention: FOIA Coordinator
                   City Clerk's Office - 2nd Floor
                   301 E. Huron, P.O. Box 8647
                   Ann Arbor, MI  48107
 Fax:            734.994.8296- Attention FOIA Coordinator
 
Email:         cityclerk@a2gov.org

Misdemeanors

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a criminal violation of a law that is punishable by jail in addition to a fine and legal costs. Generally, misdemeanors are less serious criminal violations than felonies, which provide for greater jail time and greater fines and costs. Felonies are prosecuted by the County Prosecutor, while the City Attorney prosecutes only misdemeanors.

How do I request prosecution in a misdemeanor matter?

Contact the Ann Arbor Police Department. Call them at 734-994-2911.

Does the City Attorney's Office have any special policies for persons with no criminal record but now are charged with a misdemeanor violation of the City Code?

Some persons charged with certain misdemeanor violations are eligible for participation in a Deferred Setencing program. Details are described on a form available through the City Attorney's Office. The program does not apply to traffic violations. An alternative disposition may be available to persons with first offense violations of noise, minor in possession or open intoxicants ordinances. Contact the City Attorney's Office at 734-794-6170 for more information.

Neighborhood

I am involved in a landlord/tenant dispute. Does the City Attorney's Office handle this?

No. Landlord/tenant disputes are civil matters and not handled by the City Attorney's Office. If you are involved in a landlord/tenant dispute you should consult a private attorney.

My neighbor's tree limbs are extending over my property and cause a problem from dropping leaves/fruit/branches/etc. My neighbor won't cooperate. What will the City do for me?

This situation is a dispute between private property owners. To obtain specific legal advice on your situation, you need to consult a private attorney.

I would like to make a complaint about my neighbor, but I want to remain anonymous. Can I do that?

Yes, you can do that, but if you are the only witness to the violation, it may be hard to prosecute.

Who do I call to report a barking dog?

Contact the Ann Arbor Police Department. Call them at 734-994-2911.

Ordinances

Where can I read a copy of the Municipal Code or a City Ordinance?

The Ordinances and City Code can be found here:  http://www.a2gov.org/government/city_administration/City_Clerk/Ordinances/
Pages/Online%20City%20Code.aspx

How do I report a Noise Ordinance violation?

Contact the Ann Arbor Police Department. Call them at 734-994-2911.


Claims and Disputes

I owe a lot of money for unpaid parking tickets. Can I obtain a payment plan?

Effective April 1, 2010, payment plans will not be available.

If your car has been towed for unpaid parking tickets, it will not be released until you have paid all amounts owed. Before release, all towing, and per day storage charges must also be paid at the towing company.  The vehicle owner is required to pay a police administrative fee at the police front desk which is separate from any parking tickets that must be paid. 

I don't think I deserved my parking ticket. How do I challenge it?

Detailed instructions on what you need to do (and when you need to do it) are printed on the back of the parking ticket and on all follow up notices. The City's Parking Violations Bureau at 734-794-6549 can provide information if the printed information doesn't answer your question.

My neighbor's tree limbs are extending over my property and causes a problem from dropping leaves/fruit/branches/etc. My neighbor won't cooperate. What will the City do for me?

This situation is a dispute between private property owners. It is not a dispute where the City can assist. The neighbors must resolve the dispute between themselves through personal discussions, private mediation or through a private lawsuit.


Kevin S. McDonald
Senior Assistant Attorney

City Attorney
301 E. Huron
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
(734) 794-6170

Fax:  (734) 994-4954 


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