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Why Could My Driver's License Be Suspended in Michigan?

There are many reasons why your driver’s license can be suspended in Michigan. There are some obvious reasons, such as drinking and driving, fleeing a police officer, or having too many tickets, but we will also examine some more obscure reasons like injuring someone on a highway operating farm equipment. Your license can be suspended for a definite period of time, or it can be suspended indefinitely. The ideal time to prevent a suspension is before you are convicted, enter a plea, or pay a fine. In this section, we will discuss the many various reasons that a person’s driver’s license can be suspended in Michigan.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) First Offense

If you are convicted or plead guilty to a first offense OWI in Michigan, then you will have your driver’s license suspended for 30 days and have a restricted license for another 150 days. During the first 30 days, you will not be able to drive at all. However, after the 30 day suspension is over, you will be eligible for a restricted license. Your restricted license will last for 150 days. The restricted license you will be granted will allow you to drive to and from work, school, and court ordered alcohol treatment. After you successfully complete 150 days on the restricted license, then you will be able to pay the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee and reinstate your full driving privileges. For more information about the type of restricted license, visit our section on What Restricted Driver’s License Use Does Michigan Grant For a Suspended License?

High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Operating While Impaired (OWI): Super Drunk OWI

If you are convicted of a high BAC OWI for having a BAC of .17 or over, then you will face a 45-day hard suspension of your driving privileges. During the first 45 days, you will be unable to drive for any reason. Technically, the Secretary of State describes the suspension as one year, but the practical application is after 45 days you will get a restricted driver’s license. Before the Secretary of State will issue you a restricted license, you must get a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your vehicle. Be sure to get a sealed proof of installation, because you will need to present it at the Secretary of State. Once you have your restricted license, you will have to use it for 10.5 months without any additional offenses or BAIID violations. After you complete the 45-day suspension, and the 10.5 months using the BAIID and the restricted license, then you will be eligible to reinstate your full driving privileges by paying the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee.

Implied Consent Breathalyzer Refusal Suspension

Under MCL 257.625c, any person who is operating a vehicle on a public highway or road open to the general public has given their implied consent to chemical testing. This means that if you refuse chemical testing, then the police officer will submit an Officer’s Report of Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing to the Secretary of State. A refusal to submit to chemical testing is a civil infraction. You have 14 days from the date the ticket was issued to contest the charge in writing. If you fail to contest the charge, or are found responsible for the civil infraction, then your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If it is a second offense, then there is a mandatory two year driver’s license suspension.

12 Or More Points on Your Driver’s License

Michigan has a comprehensive point system that has been codified in MCL 257.320a. Each offense has a corresponding number of points, and the number of points corresponds to the severity of the offense. Navigate to our Michigan Point System section for more information and a complete chart of how many points each offense is worth in Michigan. If you have accumulated 12 points or more on your driving record at any time, then it triggers a driver’s license reexamination. A magistrate or hearing officer will determine whether to restrict, suspend, or revoke your driver’s license. Therefore, a suspension is not mandatory if you accumulate 12 points or more, but there is a strong possibility that the Secretary of State will decide to restrict or suspend your license. You may want to consult with an attorney before going to a driver’s license reexamination hearing. Points for old violations are removed from your license after two years. Navigate to the How to Request a Copy of Your Driving Record section to learn more about your Master Driving Record.

Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) or Driving While License Revoked (DWLR)

A charge for DWLS or DWLR is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines, and both charges are under MCL 527.904. If you are convicted of DWLS or DWLR, then your license will be suspended or revoked for an additional period of time. Additionally, it will add two points on to your driver’s license. While a charge reduction to No-Ops can be beneficial for some people, it can also be detrimental to others. It can be beneficial, because it does not carry a “mandatory suspension,” and there are no additional points that go on your driver’s license. However, it can trigger an additional “like kind” suspension or revocation when the court sends notice of what the conviction is to the Secretary of State. Consequently, it may not be the best outcome for someone that was caught driving on a revoked license who is serving a revocation between one and five years.

Driving Without Insurance

MCL 500.3101 requires a person to have personal protection insurance, personal property protection insurance, and residual liability insurance, and MCL 500.3102 makes it a criminal misdemeanor not to have insurance. If you are convicted of driving without insurance you can have your driver’s license suspended, or even have your license plate cancelled.

Minor Who Uses a Fake ID to Purchase Alcohol

If a minor is caught furnishing a fraudulent identification to purchase alcohol, then he or she may be convicted of a misdemeanor in violation of MCL 436.1703. This misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a fine of $100. Additionally, once the Secretary of State receives a notice of the conviction from the court, they will automatically suspend the individual’s license for a period of 90 days.

Minor Who Makes A Bomb Threat at School

Under MCL 257.319(11), if a person is older than 14, but younger than 21, and is convicted of any of the crimes outlined in 750.411a, then he or she will have their driver’s license suspended until three years after the date of the conviction. The crimes listed in MCL 750.411a are related to making false reports, threatening to use explosives, or actually attempting or using explosives.

3rd or 4th Degree Fleeing and Eluding

If a person is convicted of 3rd or 4th degree fleeing and eluding, then their driver’s license will be suspended for one year. You will not be eligible for a restricted license during your one year suspension, but after the year is over you will be eligible for automatic reinstatement after you pay the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee.

Failure to Appear in Court (FAC) and Failure to Comply with Court Judgement (FCJ)

Failure to Appear in Court (FAC) and Failure to Comply with Court Judgement (FCJ) are both misdemeanors under MCL 257.321a, and the maximum penalty is 93 days in jail and $100 fine. The courts use driver’s license suspensions as a way to compel people to show up for their court dates and to pay their bills and fines. Twenty-eight days after a missed court appearance or failure to comply with a court judgement, the court will mail a notice that you must appear or comply. If you fail to appear or comply within 14 days, then the court will notify the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will then immediately suspend your driver’s license. Unlike an OWI that has a definite “from” and “through” date, a FAC or FCJ both have indefinite periods of suspensions. Your license will not be reinstated until you have resolved the matter, and obtained a clearance from the court. You will have to pay all of the fines and costs associated with the FAC or FCJ which will include a $45 reinstatement fee paid directly to the court before the Secretary of State will reinstate your license. If you were released on a percentage bond, then you may also owe the additional percentage of the bond you didn’t pay, because you did not appear in court.

FCJ occurs for failing to obey a court order. This could include failing to pay a traffic ticket, fine, or a non-moving violation like a court order to pay child support. The court will not issue a clearance until you have complied with the court order, and paid all of the costs, fines, and fees associated with the court order. Once you have resolved all pending issues related to the court judgment, then the court will issue a clearance that you can use to obtain a statement of termination of the suspension from the Secretary of State. You can learn more about Failure to Appear in Court (FAC) and Failure to Comply with Court Judgement (FCJ) – Driver’s License Suspensions in Michigan section.

Stealing Gasoline

Under MCL 750.367c, if you are convicted of theft of motor vehicle fuel by pumping gasoline into the vehicle and driving off without paying, then the Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license for a period of six months.

Other Non-Moving Violations

Non-moving violations can also result in suspensions. Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) violations can result in an additional suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, if you accumulate three or more unpaid parking tickets, then it can also result in a suspension of your driver’s license.

Other Reasons Your Driver’s License Can Be Suspended Under MCL 257.319

MCL 257.319 provides for a long list of reasons that a person’s license can be suspended. Consequently, the Secretary of State will immediately suspend a person’s license after receiving a record from a court for a violation of any of the following crimes, offenses, or violations. First, fraudulently altering or forging documents pertaining to motor vehicles. If you are convicted of a crime that relates to forging documents related to motor vehicles, then the court will notify the Secretary of State and your license will automatically be suspended for a period of one year. Next, is stealing a car. Taking possession of and driving away a motor vehicle is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and results in an automatic one year suspension of a driver’s license.

90 Day Suspensions Under MCL 257.319

Under MCL 257.617a, failing to stop and disclose your identity at the scene of accident that resulted in an injury is a misdemeanor that has a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $1,000 fine. This is commonly referred to as a hit and run. Additionally, the Secretary of State will automatically suspend your license for 90 days after receiving an abstract of the conviction from the court.

Next, if you are charged with malicious destruction of trees, shrubs, plants or soil under MCL 750.382, and the value of the trees, shrubs, grass, turf, plants, or soil was valued at $200 or more, then you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. This misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,000 or three times the value of the trees, shrubs, and grass whichever is greater. Additionally, the court will send over a notice of your conviction to the Secretary of State, and your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 90 days. However, if the value of the trees, shrubs, or grass is found to be valued at less than $200 then the mandatory automatic suspension is only for 30 days.

Moving Violations

There are numerous moving violations that can result in a suspension of your license. Under MCL 257.626, reckless driving is a misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty is 93 days in jail and a fine of $500. If you are convicted of reckless driving, then it will trigger an automatic 90 day suspension of your driver’s license. Reckless driving is described as being “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Willful or wanton disregard is a term of art, and if you are facing a charge for reckless driving in Michigan, then you will absolutely want the advice and guidance of an expert legal defense attorney.

Under MCL 257.601b, any moving violation in a work zone or a school bus zone, that is at least three points on your license, and results in an injury to another person is a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. The statute specifies that you must have committed a moving violation worth at least three points to trigger the automatic 90 day suspension of your driver’s license. Therefore, driving 16 mph over the speed limit, disobeying a crossing guard, and failure to stop for a school bus would all meet the criteria. However, if you were only going 10mph over, then it would only be a two-point moving violation and would not trigger an automatic 90 day suspension of your driver’s license.

Another less common moving violation that results in a mandatory 90 day suspension, involves farming equipment. Under MCL 257.601, it is a misdemeanor if a person commits a moving violation that has criminal penalties, and as a result causes injury to a person operating an implement of husbandry (farming equipment) on a highway. This can cost you up to one year in prison and $1,000. Additionally, it will trigger an automatic mandatory 90 day suspension of your driver’s license.

A moving violation causing serious impairment of body function or death under MCL 257.601d results in an automatic one year suspension of the person’s driver’s license by the Secretary of State. This is a very serious misdemeanor, and there are two different variations. First, a moving violation that results in serious impairment of bodily function to another person has a maximum penalty of 93 days in prison or $500.00 in fines. The second variation is the moving violation results in the death of another person, and can result in the maximum penalties of up to one year in prison and $2,000 in fines. Both variations result in an automatic mandatory one year suspension of your driver’s license.

Next, is a violation of 257.653a that promulgates the rules for passing stationary emergency vehicles. The section describes the particular rules and expectations for passing a stationary emergency vehicle. However, the legislature has recently passed updated legislation and effective February 13, 2019, the rules will stipulate that you have to reduce your speed by at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and yield the right-of-way by moving at least one lane away, or two vehicle lengths apart from the stationary emergency vehicle. If you fail to follow this procedure in violation of the statute, and are in an accident that results in the injury of a police officer, firefighter, or emergency personnel, then you will be guilty of a felony. This felony has a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and $1,000 fine. If you are convicted, the court will notify the Secretary of State by an abstract of the conviction and you will automatically have your driver’s license suspended for 90 days.

Suspension For a Felony in Which a Motor Vehicle Was Used

A driver’s license suspension will occur if a felony in which a motor vehicle was used where one of the following circumstances existed:

  • The vehicle was used as an instrument of the felony.
  • The vehicle was used to transport a victim of the felony.
  • The vehicle was used to flee the scene of the felony.
  • The vehicle was necessary for the commission of the felony.

If a person is convicted of a felony and any one of the above scenarios existed during the commission of the felony, then an abstract of the conviction will be sent from the court to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will then automatically suspend the driver’s license for a period of one year.

If you are facing any of the issues listed above, then you should call the skilled driver’s license attorneys at Grable & Associates to discuss your case. We are a full-service law firm that specializes in criminal defense and driver’s license matters. As you can see, these are serious offenses, and for many of them the mandatory automatic suspension may be the least of your concern. Contact Grabel & Associates to begin formulating a comprehensive plan that addresses all aspects of potential criminal culpability, as well as your future on the road. Call now to schedule your free consultation at 1-800-677-9795.

Please note: Recently Administrative Hearings Section (AHS) changed their name to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight. Common use of the name Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight has not yet been widely accepted and the entity responsible for driver's license hearings is still referred to as AHS in almost all legal areas, which is why we continue to use the term "AHS" throughout our website. More information about this change can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State's website.

Client Reviews

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