Non-Driving Offenses No Longer a Bar to Licensed Driving

As of October 1, 2021, thousands more Michigan residents may legally drive again. The State introduced legislation immediately reinstating driving privileges to individuals whose license was suspended for violating judgments (FCJ) or failing to appear in court (FCA). While the State promises to promptly notify individuals eligible for immediate relief, here’s what you need to know to help any client:

1. Relief applies to indefinite suspensions only
Definite suspensions (e.g. 90 days, 180 days) still apply. And MCL 257.320(e)(5) clarifies that the law in effect when an offense is committed or attempted applies.
2. Reinstatement of driving privileges does not negate other criminal or civil penalties
FCJ suspensions result from violating a court order; that court order would still remain valid and enforceable besides the driver license suspension. Similarly, FCA suspensions usually mean a bench warrant is issued. The client would remain subject to arrest.
3. Failing to pay child support can still result in license sanctions
Many people’s licenses are suspended for being behind on child support, resulting in a FCJ suspension. Those suspensions are guided by MCL 257.321(c). Now, driver license suspensions cannot happen automatically, but can be initiated with a signed order from a judge. The Friend of the Court had authority to automatically suspend driver licenses whenever a person became over two months behind on child support.
4. Reinstatement involves money
Clients still need to do their part to complete restoration. A driver license reinstatement fee of $125 is payable to the Secretary of State. For FCJ suspensions processed under MCL 257-321(c) - Friend of the Court actions - an additional $45 must be paid to the circuit court after the client receives certification from the Friend of the Court that he or she now complies with the appliable orders.

by Brent Geers

About Brent Geers:

“When do I get to tell my story?” Brent listens and helps clients do just that through effective advocacy and common-sense advice.

While serving in the U.S. Army on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Brent realized that three things matter most to most people: family, finances, and yes, freedom. Now as a lawyer for nearly a decade, Brent approaches all cases with that in mind.

He seeks first to deliver knowledge. The legal system - particularly the criminal justice system - is fraught with misinformation stemming from a lack of resources to knowledge and mistrust within various communities.

A Grand Rapids native, Brent enjoys being an integral part of the community, and works to deliver knowledge and opportunity to each client.