Driving with a Suspended License

In Michigan, it is a misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle on a highway “or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles” if:

  • Your driver’s license is suspended
  • Your driver’s license is revoked
  • You have been denied a driver’s license; or
  • You have never applied for a driver’s license

This includes designated parking areas.
It is also a misdemeanor to allow another person to operate your vehicle under the same circumstances described above.

Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in Michigan

Driving While Suspended – First Offense

Although many people think of driving with a suspended license as a traffic infraction, it is a criminal charge which may result in a criminal record, and could mean jail time. A first conviction for either of the misdemeanors described above carries a possible penalty of:

  • Up to 93 days in jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to $500; and
  • Cancellation of registration plates.

In addition, the Secretary of State is mandated to enter a new suspension or revocation in a like term to the underlying suspension. Thus, if the driver’s license was suspended for two years, the conviction for driving with a suspended license would bring a new two-year suspension.
If the underlying suspension period was indeterminate, the Secretary of State will enter a 30-day suspension.
If you’ve been charged with driving on a suspended license, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you take another step. The consequences of acting without complete information could be serious. Why not pick up the phone and take the first step toward protecting your rights right now? 269-978-6560.

Driving While Suspended – Second Offense

The penalties for a second or subsequent offense for the crimes described above are more severe. They include:

  • Up to one year in jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to $1,000; and
  • Cancellation of registration plates.

Driving with a Suspended License Causing Death or Bodily Impairment

A person who, in the commission of one of the crimes above, causes the death of another person is guilty of a felony, and may be punished by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; and/or
  • A fine of between $2,500 and $10,000

One who, in violation of this section, causes serious impairment of body function in another is also guilty of a felony, with possible penalties of:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and/or
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $5,000

In addition, a person guilty of either of these felony crimes may be subject to vehicle forfeiture. In the event that the vehicle is not ordered forfeited, it shall be immobilized.
Similarly, a person who permits another whose license is suspended or revoked, or who has been denied a driver’s license or never applied for a driver’s license, to operate his vehicle and the death of another results, the vehicle owner will be guilty of a felony and subject to penalties of:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and/or
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $5,000

If serious impairment of body function results:

  • Up to 2 years in prison; and/or
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $5,000
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