Another common misdemeanor charge I’ve represented clients on in Macomb County is DWLS. A Driving While License Suspended charge shares the same criminal penalties as Driving While License Revoked also known as DWLR. Although these two charges carry the same penalties, the reality is they are viewed differently by judges and prosecutors. Reason being, a drivers license may be suspended for numerous different reasons. Unpaid Parking tickets, unpaid traffic tickets, failure to show up for court, failure to pay Michigan’s Driver Responsibility Fees, too many points on driving record, these will all result in a suspended license. Where as a revoked license is generally the result of multiple DUI / OWI convictions. As anyone with a revoked license knows, revoked means indefinitely, and suspended is temporary, either for a specified amount of time or until the matter causing the suspension is cleared up. As you might assume, anyone charged with DWLS/DWLR who has a suspended license is in a better position than someone charged with DWLS/DWLR who has a revoked license as the result of multiple DUI charges, specifically 2 within 7 years, or 3 within 10 years.
For the purpose of this article I will address true DWLS charges and outcomes, and I’ll write a separate article for DWLR Driving While License Revoked.
As an attorney specializing in DUI / OWI defense in Macomb County, naturally I also handle a great number of DWLS/DWLR misdemeanor charges as well. DWLS/DWLR are one of the most common misdemeanor charges processed through the Macomb County Courts. I’ll list out for you the penalties associated with a DWLS/DWLR charge, then I’ll explain what I do for my clients and the outcomes I seek for them when facing these charges.
First Offense DWLS/DWLR
- Up to a $500 fine plus *costs, or up to 93 days in jail, or both.
- Mandatory additional license sanction.
- 2 points added to the offender’s driving record.
- Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 consecutive years.
As I stated above, your Michigan Drivers License can be suspended for a multitude of different reasons. The first thing I do is identify why your license is suspended.
The root cause of your license suspension will often determine my approach and strategy. For example, last month I had a new client referred. His license was suspended, he was pulled over and ticketed for DWLS/DWLR in Sterling Heights. I reviewed his driving record and determined his license was suspended as the result of a few speeding tickets he managed to rack up within 2 years time. One was in Shelby Township, the other two in Sterling Heights. So he was now in a position where his family’s auto insurance rates sky rocketed, his license was suspended for nearly two years, he was facing the “Bad Driver Tax” a.k.a. Driver’s Responsibility Fees, and on top of it all, was facing a misdemeanor charge of DWLS/DWLR, of which if convicted, would double the suspension time of his drivers license, 2 additional points on his driving record and would be on his criminal record permanently. Not to mention the real possibility of probation. In this particular case my client did not have any legal representation for the prior speeding citations. I was able to file a motion to set aside default judgement on the basis my client was not legally represented. I addressed two of his past speeding tickets on his driving record, resulting in them being reduced to non moving violations. In turn the points were eliminated from his driving record. I then negotiated a plea to “No-Ops” regarding the Driving While License Suspended charge. This was a big WIN for everyone involved. My client’s driver’s license was no longer suspended, his families insurance rates were reduced as the result of him having fewer points, the city had one less case on their books, and one less suspended driver on the roads in the community. It is important to point out, as an attorney specializing in traffic tickets, DUI, and license restoration, I am very familiar with mandatory licensing sanctions imposed by the Secretary of State. Many attorneys are not familiar with the detailed specifics of SOS mandatory licensing sanctions. In this scenario had the plea for DWLS been reduced to any other moving violation, his license would have remained suspended.
Just one example of the favorable outcomes I produce for my clients and their families daily. I have handled well over a thousand DWLS cases for clients in Macomb County in the 30 years I’ve been practicing law as a specialized criminal defense attorney.
As with other articles within this blog when I discuss a particular charge I like to provide an approximation of my fees for such a service. DWLS is a Misdemeanor charge, my misdemeanor fee representation starts at $1,000 and goes up accordingly from there – However, the root cause (what caused your license to be suspended) of a Driving While License Suspended charge can vary greatly. As such, I have been known to help out clients who are in tough situations. If you have a DWLS charge as the result of unpaid Driver Responsibility Fees, or unpaid tickets, I’ll work with you on the cost for your DWLS representation. If your license suspension more closely resembles the scenario outlined above, naturally the costs are higher.
From my experience I’ve learned to recognize when things generally go from not good to really bad in a hurry. That fork in the road is often when someone is cited for a DWLS. Don’t wait until you’ve already been convicted of a DWLS and receive a second DWLS charge before hiring an attorney. You really want to keep a DWLS off your record. Once convicted it remains on your criminal record for life and cannot be expunged.
If your or someone you love is facing a Driving While License Suspended charge in Macomb County give me a call or email me.
I can make your situation better, often much better.
Call my office at 586-979-6000 to discuss your situation or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ernie Robinette Jr. – Specialized Criminal Defense Attorney – Macomb County