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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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What are the penalties for driving with a suspended license?

By Spodek Law Group | October 16, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 10:57 pm

Driving with a Suspended License – What are the Penalties?

Getting your driver’s license suspended can happen for lotsa reasons – unpaid tickets, too many points on your license, a DUI conviction, failure to pay child support, etc. It’s a huge pain, but life goes on, right? You still gotta get to work and school and run errands. So it may be tempting to just keep driving even though your license got suspended. But that decision can get you in big trouble!! Here’s what you need to know about the penalties for driving with a suspended license in Michigan.

How You Can Get Your License Suspended in the First Place

There’s a bunch of ways you can lose your license privileges in Michigan:

  • Hit and run accidents – if you’re involved in an accident and leave the scene, your license will def get suspended
  • DUI/OWI convictions – getting busted for drunk driving means automatic license suspension
  • Reckless driving – getting multiple tickets for stuff like speeding and weaving through traffic will lead to a suspension
  • No insurance – it’s illegal to drive without insurance, and they’ll suspend your license if you get caught
  • Too many points – rack up too many points on your license from traffic violations and it’ll be suspended
  • Not paying child support – the state will suspend your license if you fall behind on payments

It doesn’t even matter if you didn’t know your license got suspended – if you keep driving, you’re breaking the law. The cops and the courts don’t care if you “forgot” about the suspension or didn’t get the paperwork in the mail. You’re expected to know the status of your driving privileges.

Penalties for a First Offense

Let’s say you get pulled over and find out your license is suspended. Not good! For a first offense, here’s what you can expect:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Fines up to $500
  • Driver responsibility fees – these suckers can add up to thousands of dollars!
  • License suspension will be extended – they’ll tack on more time to your existing suspension
  • Possible vehicle immobilization – they might boot your car or take your license plates
  • 1 year of probation

Those penalties are no joke. 93 days in jail would seriously disrupt your life, not to mention losing your ability to drive for even longer. The fines and fees aren’t cheap either. And you could end up with a criminal record if convicted.

Second and Subsequent Offenses

If you get caught driving on a suspended license more than once, the penalties get even tougher:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines up to $1000
  • More driver responsibility fees
  • Possible license revocation – this is more serious than suspension!
  • Extended probation – up to 2 years
  • Vehicle forfeiture – they can take your car!

Multiple offenses show you have no regard for the law. So prosecutors and judges will throw the book at you. Lengthy jail time, huge fines, and losing your license and vehicle are very real possibilities.

Aggravating Factors

There are some circumstances that can make a suspended license charge even more serious:

Causing an Accident

If you cause an accident while driving on a suspended license, you’ll face felony charges instead of a misdemeanor. The penalties will increase dramatically:

  • Injuries – up to 5 years in prison and $1,000-$5,000 fines
  • Death – up to 15 years in prison and $2,500-$10,000 fines

When an accident with injuries or fatalities is involved, prosecutors won’t mess around. These cases often end in lengthy prison sentences.

Multiple Prior Convictions

If you already have multiple prior convictions for driving on a suspended license, new charges will be taken very seriously. Judges have little patience for repeat offenders, so you can expect:

  • Longer jail sentences
  • Bigger fines
  • Extended or permanent license revocation

License Suspended for OWI/DUI

If your license was already suspended for an alcohol or drug offense like OWI or DUI, driving on the suspended license will be treated more harshly. These cases show a blatant disregard for the law and for public safety.

Restricted Licenses

There is one small bit of good news – in some cases, you may be able to get a restricted license that allows driving for certain purposes like work, school, or medical appointments. An ignition interlock device is usually required as well.

Talk to a lawyer to see if you qualify for a restricted license. But only drive when absolutely necessary, and follow the restrictions exactly. Any violation could mean new criminal charges!

How Lawyers Can Help

Facing charges for driving on a suspended license is scary. Jail time, huge fines, and losing your license and vehicle are all on the line.

But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help! Here’s how:

  • Look for procedural errors and technicalities – mistakes by the cops or prosecutors can get charges reduced or dismissed
  • Negotiate plea bargains – prosecutors may agree to lighter penalties to avoid going to trial
  • Advocate for probation instead of jail time
  • Help get restricted licenses granted
  • Develop defenses such as lack of notice of the suspension or driving due to emergency

Having skilled legal representation maximizes your chances of the best possible outcome. So don’t go it alone against the criminal justice system. Get help from lawyers who know these cases inside and out.

The Bottom Line

Driving on a suspended license brings severe consequences in Michigan. Even a first offense can mean jail, fines, and an even longer suspension. For repeat offenses or cases involving accidents, the penalties are even worse.

Your best bet is to not drive at all until your suspension is lifted. But if you do get charged, speak to an attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer can often negotiate reduced charges or penalties on your behalf. With so much at stake, it’s critical to get professional help defending your rights. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of the courts – fight back with a lawyer on your side!

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