Most car owners think of their vehicles as a convenient way to get around. For some, they also serve as a place to store things, and in a pinch – a place to sleep off a few too many drinks. But not many people think of their cars as playing a role in criminal activity. And yet all too often, that’s exactly what happens. Not sure what we mean? Check this out this basic break down of a few of the motor vehicle crimes in Michigan. (And just so you’re aware, this list doesn’t cover everything!)
The Fast and Furious series makes driving like a maniac look very cool. But in real life, street racing and other forms of reckless driving are nothing more than invitations to your local jail cell. And that’s assuming you don’t actually damage any property or hurt people while you’re at it.
Anyone caught driving their car in here in Michigan, in a way that endangers the safety of people or property could be charged with reckless driving. In case you’re wondering, that’s a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. But if your road stunt causes “serious impairment of a body function” you’ll be in a world of hurt!
Hurt someone in a way that keeps them from living their life in a normal way, and you’re looking at a 5 year felony, with fines of up to $5,000. Kill someone anywhere in Michigan with your car while driving recklessly and you’re talking about a 15 year felony and a $10,000 fine. Like we said, serious stuff.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is probably the most common misuse of a vehicle. Yet despite the fact that practically everybody knows what a DUI is and how much trouble you can get into driving drunk, an astounding number of Michigan residents get arrested for it every year!
So here’s a quick refresher – Michigan’s drunk driving rules are very strict! If you are busted driving a car or truck (and that includes a boat, a snowmobile and even a riding lawnmower) with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of more than .08, you’re looking at up to 93 days in jail. Do it again and you’re almost guaranteed to spend some time in your county’s jail. Not to mention the fact that you’ll lose your license, and maybe even your car!
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Most people think of leaving the scene of an accident as crashing into someone, injuring them, and then driving away before the cops arrive so they don’t get into trouble. And it sometimes happens like that. But in MIchigan, leaving the scene of an accident can mean so much more.
For example, if you slide on the ice during winter, and smack your car into an electrical pole and then leave because no one was hurt and the pole wasn’t damaged, you’re technically leaving the scene of an accident. Hard to believe but it’s true. This one could earn you 93 days in jail and a big, fat fine.
Injure someone in any way and the stakes get much higher! Under Michigan law, injuring or worse – killing someone with your car and then leaving the scene before the police arrive is a felony! Even if you weren’t at fault, and the person was harmed or killed by circumstances you couldn’t have prevented, leaving the scene is illegal! (And will make everything so much harder for you in the end!)
Fleeing and Eluding
Similar to leaving the scene of an accident, Fleeing and Eluding refers to evading the police in order to avoid getting into trouble. However in this case, it refers to someone in a car who willfully refuses to stop for a police officer who is signaling them to pull over. In other words, they kept right on driving when the cops told them not to! That’s just plain stupid.
Like numerous other crimes in Michigan, Fleeing and Eluding is divided into categories called “degrees” (think murder, child abuse and sex crimes – they’re also divided into degrees.) The range is pretty big, starting with First Degree Fleeing and Eluding, where someone is killed in the process (15 year felony) all the way down to Fourth Degree Fleeing and Eluding, which is where the driver turns off their headlights and tries to hide from the cops (2 year felony).
We defend against criminal motor vehicle charges!
At The Kronzek Firm, we understand that there’s always another side to the story. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have spent decades helping the people of Michigan to protect their rights and defend their futures. If you or a loved one have been accused of a motor vehicle crime in Michigan, call us immediately at 866 766 5245. We can help you!