Changes in Law Lift Driver's License Suspensions for Thousands

If it seems as if traffic has increased, it may be because driving restrictions were lifted on several thousand Michigan drivers due to a law that went into effect last month.

The law amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to remove certain provisions that require the Secretary of State to suspend, revoke, restrict, deny, or refuse to renew a person’s driver’s license for certain offenses.

The law is part of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Criminal Justice Reform package. Advocates for the legislation, which lifted restrictions on 73,000 Michigan residents, argue that suspending licenses to punish drivers for failing to pay fines is counterproductive. Several sanctions were removed, including the following examples:

  • Having two or more moving violations in the previous three years;
  • Failing to pay a driver responsibility fee or engage in alternative workforce training;
  • Failing to report a change of address, falsely reporting a change of address, or reporting a change of address for someone else without their permission; and
  • Using a motor vehicle without permission of its owner but without the intent to steal it.

Some sanctions remain in place

Michigan drivers can still have their licenses suspended for reasons that are not related to driving, including being convicted of a drug offense and others. In addition, sanctions involving the “injury, death, or serious impairment of a body function of another individual” remain, as well as driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

Fiscal impact

According to the Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, traffic offenses accounted for half of all criminal court cases in 2018.

The decrease in revenue generated from court cases will affect the Department of State, the Juror Compensation Reimbursement funding, and other state departments and local communities.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding the new legislation. For more information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Municipal