Driving with a suspended license (DWLS) and driving with a revoked or denied license (DWLS/R/D) are violations of the same law in the state of Michigan. These misdemeanors do, however, carry different punishments depending on the type of violation, the unsafe driving behavior involved, and driving record. Working with a Michigan lawyer and exhibiting a willingness to comply with state recommendations and requirements can help the driver win a DWLS case and achieve driver’s license restoration.
A suspended license means driving privileges have been suspended for a definite “from-through” period of time. Like a student who is suspended from school and is eventually permitted back in the institution, the driver with a suspended license is eventually permitted to drive again after a specific period of suspension has lapsed. Suspension can occur for a variety of reasons including an OWI violation or because a driver is unable to pay outstanding traffic tickets and Driver’s Responsibility Fees. If a driver charged with DWLS originally lost their driving privileges because of an OWI or DUI charge, their situation will be much more difficult than if they had their license suspended for any other reason. They will need the help of a Michigan attorney to manage their case in court.
Once the period of license suspension has ended, the driver cannot automatically get back out on the highway. At the end of a suspended license term, when the driver is again eligible to be licensed, they can visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s office and request a reinstatement of their license. This is accompanied by a $125 reinstatement fee. Oftentimes, a driver is unable to pay this reinstatement fee yet they choose to drive anyway, which could result in a DWLS violation.
A driver’s license that is suspended indefinitely does not have a “from-through” duration like a definite suspended license, though there can be a minimum period of suspension put in place.
A license that has been suspended indefinitely can only be reinstated if the driver completes a required task or is approved for relicensure by the Michigan Department of State or a court of law. Working with a Michigan lawyer will aid in either situation. The reinstatement may involve paying fines or fees, completing a specified course, or submitting favorable medical statements for evaluation. The sooner the task is carried out, the sooner the possibility for driver’s license restoration.
If a driver’s license has been revoked, that means it has been taken away by the Michigan Secretary of State and a simple reinstatement request and fee will not restore the license. An expelled student is not permitted back into the school unless they reapply and are officially approved for readmission – the same applies to a driver with a revoked license.
To restore their driver’s license, the driver with a revoked license must start from the beginning by reapplying for their license and proving that the violation they were charged with is no longer a problem. The driver can go through the process of driver’s license restoration and will be that much better off with the help of an attorney. A Michigan lawyer will aid them in determining eligibility for license restoration and filing the appropriate documents for an appeal to insure that their case has the greatest likelihood of being won.
A denied license technically means that the driver in question never had a driver’s license at all and has never applied for a license yet they choose to drive anyway. This type of violation often occurs among young drivers who have not yet obtained, or had the opportunity to obtain, a license.
A driver who is caught driving with a suspended, revoked, or denied license will face a first-offense punishment that includes a fine of up to $500, up to 93 days in jail, or both. Jail time is unlikely in first-offense cases, particularly if the driver retains an attorney to plead their case. However, there is a mandatory additional suspension and a $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
A second offense comes with up to a $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both. Jail time is a bigger possibility in second DWLS offenses and for those beyond a second offense, especially if the original suspension was the result of an OWI. A second offense includes a mandatory additional suspension, the $500 Driver Responsibility Fee, and the vehicle may be immobilized for up to 180 days.
A third or fourth offense of DWLS (must have two priors with seven years): mandatory additional suspension, license plate confiscated, 90 to 180 days of vehicle immobilization, and $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
A fifth offense of DWLS (must have four priors within seven years): mandatory additional suspension, license plate confiscated, vehicle immobilized for one to three years, and $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
For all drivers charged with DWLS, it is critical to retain a Michigan lawyer to plead their case in court. Depending on the situation at hand and the driving record of the client in question, an attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to drop the DWLS charge to a lesser offense known as a “No-Ops.” This can result in zero points, no Driver’s Responsibility Fees, and avoids further suspension of the license. This requires some effort on the part of the attorney, and may cost the client quite a bit of money to clear up any outstanding tickets or other matters, but this type of deal is only possible with the expertise of a lawyer.
For drivers who are dealing with a subsequent DWLS violation, they most certainly need the help of an attorney in order to avoid jail time.