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What Happens When You Drive on a Suspended License in Michigan?

Northern lights seen above Mackinac bridge between Michigan's two peninsulas.
Driving in Michigan can, on occasion, be a pretty downright magical experience. But make sure you have a legal license when you get behind the wheel!

Driving on a suspended license might not sound like a big deal to some people. But, here in Michigan, it is! Why? Because if the court or the Secretary of State has taken away your driver’s license for a period of time, and you decide that you’re going to drive anyway (even if you think you’ve got a really good excuse), this means you’re driving without a driver’s license.

And that’s a big deal. Judges all over Michigan tend to frown on people refusing to comply with court orders, and choosing to drive on a suspended license or a revoked driver’s license. In Michigan, we have laws in place governing what happens when you drive on a suspended or revoked license. And the penalties aren’t good for offenders.

Why would someone lose their driving privileges in the first place?

There are many reasons why the court or the Michigan Secretary of State would take away your driver’s license. These are a couple of the more common ones:

What does it mean when your Michigan driver’s license gets revoked or suspended?

In some cases, when the judge takes away your right to drive, it means you absolutely cannot under any circumstances drive a vehicle. Your driving privileges have been completely stripped and you’re going to have to rely on rides from others or public transport to get around.

But sometimes a judge will grant a restricted license that allows a person to drive to certain places, like their job, or a substance abuse treatment center, but nothing else. In those cases, the court will be very clear about exactly where and when you may drive. Any driving outside of those parameters will be considered a violation of a court order.

What are the punishments if you drive on a suspended license?

Under Michigan law, anyone caught driving on a suspended or revoked license the first time could face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine of $500, or both. If you’re caught a second time, and any time after that, it’s still a misdemeanor but the punishment increases in severity. Now you’d be up against the possibility of 1 year in jail and fines of up to $1,000, or both. In addition, being convicted will extend the length of your suspension. 

But what about if you actually hurt someone while you’re out driving on your suspended license, or worse – kill someone? At that point, the act of harming or killing someone else is a game-changer. Anyone who drives on a suspended or revoked license and causes “the serious impairment of a body function of another person”, could face a felony punishable by 5 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, or both. Killing someone increases that to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Motor vehicle crimes are taken very seriously in Michigan!

Driving on a suspended or revoked license are only some of the crimes that fall under the title of “motor vehicle crimes” in Michigan law. But whether you’re accused of driving without a valid driver’s license, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, drunk driving, or some other motor vehicle crime, there’s a lot on the line for you.

And that’s where we come in. Here at The Kronzek Firm, our well respected and very experienced criminal defense attorneys have spent more than a quarter-century defending the people of Michigan’s lower peninsula, protecting their rights, and defending their futures. If you’ve been accused of any type of motor vehicle or any crime for that matter, we can help. Just call 866 766 5245 (866 7NoJail) and ask for help from the best. We’re standing by 24/7 to help you.

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