There are a variety of penalties that someone can face if they are caught driving without a license, whether that means they never got a driver’s license, have a suspended license, or left their driver’s license at home. In some cases, people moved to Michigan from another state and never applied for a Michigan driver’s license.
Driving While Your License Is Suspended Or Revoked
Under Michigan law, someone who drives with a suspended license or a revoked driver’s license will likely be charged with a misdemeanor and may be required to pay fines, face jail time, and even incur additional licensure penalties.
Someone who is merely caught with a suspended or revoked license may be punished by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for the first offense. For a second offense, the penalties may increase to up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
In addition to jail and fees, the individual’s driver’s license suspension or revocation may be doubled from its original timeframe, meaning that if someone had their license suspended for one year, it would likely be extended to two years.
Causing An Accident While Driving With A Suspended License
Under Michigan law, if someone is driving with a suspended license and causes an injury during an accident, they may face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, under Michigan law, if the accident results in a fatality, those penalties could be increased to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Driving Without Proof Of A License
Almost everyone has gone somewhere and realized they forgot their driver’s license at home. This may be a simple mistake but can result in a misdemeanor under Michigan law. In Michigan, someone can face up to 90 days in jail for forgetting their license at home and be fined up to $100. It is not common that someone will face jail time for forgetting their license at home, but it is possible, so it is important to be careful so as not to make the police officer’s life more difficult.
Exceptions To Driving Without Proof Of A License
Individuals who live in states other than Michigan or are deployed military personnel can drive in Michigan without an in-state license. However, everyone is still required to follow the traffic laws of Michigan.
Moving To Michigan
People who move into Michigan from another state must obtain a Michigan license within 30 days of becoming domiciled. This means that if someone is going to school in Michigan with no intention of living there, they are not generally required to obtain a Michigan driver’s license. However, if someone moves to Michigan with the intent of staying, they are usually considered domiciled.
Driving With An Expired License
Driving with an expired license is a misdemeanor in Michigan, so it is important to make sure that your license is renewed before it expires. In Michigan, a driver may renew their license up to one year before the expiration date, which usually must be renewed every four years.
Allowing An Unlicensed Driver To Drive Your Vehicle
Under Michigan law, it is illegal to knowingly allow someone to operate your vehicle without a valid driver’s license. The penalties are generally the same as operating without a driver’s license because you knowingly let them get behind the wheel and are, as a result, liable for the same punishment.
Defenses For Driving Without A License
Several defenses may be available to someone who is charged with driving with a suspended license, including but not limited to the following:
- No knowledge of the suspension. This means that you may have a defense if you did not get a notice that your license has been suspended. However, before 2015, the state of Michigan was required to notify someone to be able to charge them with driving with a suspended license; after 2015, it is no longer a requirement to notify someone of their license suspension.
- Necessity. Necessity is an affirmative defense, and the defendant is usually required to admit that they did drive with a suspended license. Still, they only did it because it was necessary to prevent greater harm. To prove this defense, the defendant must show by a preponderance of the evidence that something more dangerous would have happened if they had not driven. For example, if someone’s child was suffering a medical emergency and you drove them to the hospital, that may be considered a necessity that will result in an acquittal.
Hiring An Criminal Defense Attorney In Michigan
If you or someone you know has been accused of driving with a suspended or revoked license or driving without a valid license in their possession, there is a potential to face serious penalties for a simple mistake. To make sure their life is not severely impacted by forgetting their license at home, contact an experienced attorney who will be able to review the charges and help develop a strategy to protect the accused party’s interests. There are several ways that charges and penalties may be reduced, and one of our knowledgeable attorneys can assess your case and determine the best defense. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at (248) 247-7459 or online.