Failure to Appear in Court (FAC) and Failure to Comply with Court Judgement (FCJ) - Driver's License Suspensions in Michigan
Failing to appear in court is a misdemeanor in Michigan. You may have been arrested for any number of offenses, but if you failed to appear in court then you could face additional punishments and penalties. One of the tools used by the courts is to suspend a person’s driver’s license to make sure that people appear, pay their tickets, and comply with court orders. You may have failed to appear in court for any number of reasons, including forgetting the date, not having transportation to get there, or not having the necessary legal representation to adequately represent your interests in court. No matter the circumstances that led you to having your license suspended in Michigan for failure to Appear in Court (FAC) or Failure to Comply with Judgement (FCJ), the skilled driver’s license restoration attorneys at Grabel & Associates can help you obtain a clearance from the courts and lift your suspension with the Secretary of State and get bench warrants set aside.
Failing to Appear in Court: Bail and Being Released on Your Own Recognizance
If you are arrested you could spend a short time in jail until the judge has time to arraign you if you appear without an attorney. At the arraignment the judge makes an important decision about whether to let you go, and under what conditions to do so. The judge will decide if you should be let out on bond, or “bail,” based on the seriousness of the offense and your past criminal history. If the judge sees a person as a flight risk, then he is more likely to set a high bond. For example, if a person is visiting Lansing from out of state and owns no property in Michigan, then that person would likely receive a higher bond then someone with a family, a job, and a home in the area, because the person with ties to the community is more likely to come back to appear for court.
There are three main types of bond that a judge might require. First, is a cash bond. If a judge were to require a $2,000 cash surety bond, then you would have to post the whole $2,000 before you could leave. You could also have a bond agent post a “bond” for that amount. When a bond agent posts bond they do so with a voucher, meaning that if the person does not show back up for court, then the bond agent has to pay the whole amount of the bond. However, if the person does not show back up for court, then the bond agent also has an opportunity to arrest the person and bring them in to court. This is where people like Dog, The Bounty Hunter, come into play.
Next, is a percentage bond. If the judge gives you a 10% bond at $2,000, then you only have to post $200 to get out of jail. However, if you skip your court date, then you owe the other $1,800. You will also end up with a FAC misdemeanor and likely have your driver’s license suspended. Finally, there is a recognizance bond, which means you will be released on your own recognizance and you do not have to pay any money to leave. This type of bond is typically available to someone with few prior convictions, strong ties to the community, and is considered a low flight risk. However, no matter what type of bond you leave with, if you do not show up for your court date, then the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. It might be easy to think that an arrest warrant will go away, however, it will not. By paying your fines and going to court you can avoid additional criminal penalties for Failure to Appear in Court. The court will notify the Secretary of State 14 days after the missed court appearance and you will have your driver’s license suspended until the matter is resolved.
Failure to Comply With a Judgement by the Court
Failure to Comply with a Judgment by the court is one of the many tools courts use to make sure people pay their bills. Local courts will notify the Michigan Department of State, and the Department of State will issue a notice that your license will be suspended until all of the terms of the court’s judgement are complied with. One common situation is when a person does not make child support payments. In certain circumstances the court will determine that it has become necessary to issue a Failure to Comply with Judgement to compel a person to pay their child support. Essentially, the court will use the Department of State and The Secretary of State to suspend a person’s driver’s license until all of the child support has been paid. Once the child support has been paid, then the court will notify the Department of State and they will clear the suspension. The individual will get a clearance from the court. Once a person has a clearance, they can get a statement of termination for their license suspension from the Secretary of State immediately. Another common issue is not paying traffic tickets. No matter the circumstances, the skilled attorneys at Grabel & Associates can help you navigate the process and avoid costly fines and additional punishments.
How the Suspension Works.
Under MCL 257.321a, a person who fails to answer a citation, or a notice to appear in court, or fails to comply with an order or judgement of the court, including “paying all fines, costs, fees, and assessments, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both.” Twenty-eight days after a person Fails to Appear in Court (FAC) or Fails to Comply with Judgement (FCJ), the court will mail a notice to you that if you do not comply with the order or judgement within 14 days after the notice is issued that the court will notify the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will immediately suspend the person’s license. To clear a suspension for a FAC or FCJ a person must pay all of the fines and costs associated with the FAC or FCJ, which include the $45 reinstatement fee paid to the court.
Getting a Moving Violation while Your License is Suspended for FAC or FCJ
Pursuant to MCL 257.907(11) a person who gets a moving violation, or ticket while their license is already suspended for an FAC or FCJ will receive an additional 30-day mandatory suspension. Unfortunately, this is a flat rule. Meaning, it does not matter if the ticket was for careless driving or for 5mph over the legal speed limit. If you get a ticket for any moving violation during a FAC or FCJ license suspension, then your license will be suspended for an additional 30 days. To clear the suspension after the 30 days, you must pay both the $125 reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State and $45 reinstatement fee to the court.
Our Approach to Failure to Appear in Court and Failure to Comply with Judgement
Once you contact our firm we will take the time to understand all of the details and nuances of your particular situation. We then begin building a comprehensive legal defense strategy to address all of the problems. We will fight to avoid any convictions underlying a FAC and guide you to getting your license reinstated. Our dedicated team of attorneys have the experience of handling thousands of cases all across the state to help you avoid a conviction. Contact us now to begin the process of obtaining top-notch legal defense from one of the most respected firms in the state. Consultations are free, so call 1-800-677-9795 now to get back on the road to freedom.