Suspended Driver's License in Michigan

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How to Handle a Michigan Suspended License

Getting a traffic ticket is serious business. If you get too many, or if you are convicted of a serious driving offense such as operating while intoxicated or reckless driving, you could risk losing your driving privilege. Find out what steps you can take to prevent a suspended license in Michigan.

Mandatory License Suspension or Revocation

The Michigan DMV point system is a way for the state to keep tabs on your driving behavior. All Michigan traffic tickets, whether minor infractions or misdemeanors, have point values attached. The more points you accumulate on your driving record, the higher your risk becomes of a having your license suspended — or worse.

By keeping traffic ticket points off your record, you could reduce your chances of a suspended license. Michigan speeding tickets, for example, require you to pay court fees and ticket fines, but if your conviction is for driving less than 25 MPH over the limit, you may be eligible to take a driver improvement course to keep the associated points off your driving record. On the other hand, if you're pulled over for operating while intoxicated, your license will automatically be suspended and you'll be facing a list of fines and penalties, including possible jail time.

In Michigan, there are a few serious traffic tickets that will result in automatic license suspension or revocation:

  • Hit and run, or leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death
  • Driving while under the influence (operating while intoxicated)
  • Reckless driving or joyriding
  • Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony
  • Making a fake school bomb threat

Fines and Penalties

Michigan fines and penalties for traffic tickets can add up fast. In addition to the fee associated with the actual offense, the Michigan Driver Responsibility Program tacks on additional fines to two categories of offenses. Drivers who accumulate more than 7 points on their driving records will face category 1 fines, while drivers who are convicted of specific offenses will be charged category 2 fines.

A category 1 offense can include speeding, making an improper turn, and following too closely, among others. Once you have 7 points on your record, you will be assessed a fine of $100 and an additional $50 for each point above 7. Drivers are responsible for paying category 1 fines for 1 year.

If you are convicted of a more severe driving violation, called a category 2 offense, you will be assessed an even higher driver responsibility fee for 2 consecutive years.

Category 2 fines include:

  • Operating while intoxicated (OWI): $1,000
  • Hit and run in a personal injury accident: $1,000
  • Reckless driving: $500
  • Driving without proper insurance: $500
The news gets worse. If you're convicted of multiple category 2 convictions —reckless driving and OWI for example— you will be assessed fines for both offenses. If you don't pay your driver responsibility fees, your license can be suspended indefinitely. To reinstate your license, you'll have to pay your fees and pay an additional $125 reinstatement fee.

Driving On a Suspended License

Once your license is suspended, you are required to turn it over to the Michigan Secretary of State. You can do this in person or by mailing it in. Driving on a suspended or revoked license in Michigan is a misdemeanor, and if you're caught, you could go to jail for up to 5 years, and the length of your suspension may be extended.

If you do end up with a suspended license, you can apply for a restricted license that will allow you to drive to work, school, or for medical appointments.

How to Get Your License Back

The process for earning your license back after a suspension is much simpler than getting it back after a revocation. Once your suspension period is up, your license will be automatically renewed as long as you pay a reinstatement fee of $125-$250.

Reinstating a revoked license is much more difficult. First offenders have one opportunity to reapply for a driver's license after one year. You'll be required to go through a restoration process that could include paperwork, a court appearance, and taking your driver's license test again. The Secretary of State will be looking for evidence that you've met court requirements and changed your driving habits for the better. A driver improvement course is one way to show you've taken steps toward becoming a safer driver. If your license is revoked a second time, you'll have to wait 5 years before reapplying. The same steps will be required in order to apply for license reinstatement.

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