Michigan DWLS Explained & Outlined
If you are found driving on a suspended, denied or revoked drivers license, you may find yourself in a position where you are issued a Michigan DWLS ticket. This type of ticket is a criminal misdemeanor, generally carrying a possible maximum punishment of 93-days in jail, plus a possible fine, costs and probation. See MCL § 257.904. There are multiple situations and scenarios that can bring about a suspension, revocation or denial for an individual’s drivers license here in Michigan.
A very common situation that will allow for the issuance of a driving on suspension charge is when an individual fails to pay a traffic infraction ticket or citation in the identified timeframe. When an individual fails to pay one or more of those tickets, the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) will suspended the drivers license, bringing about the ability to be issued a Michigan DWLS. Of course, a Michigan DWLS ticket cannot be issued without first being stopped by an officer; however, it does allow for the ability for an officer to issue and charge an individual for such a thing. It is also important to note that because a Michigan DWLS is a criminal offense, an officer is allowed and able to arrest an individual who is caught or found driving on a suspended, revoked or denied license. With that said, even a jail sanction or punishment can ensue if an individual is found or pleads guilty to the offense of driving while license suspended. The reasoning, again, rests on the fact that a DWLS is a traffic misdemeanor, and thus it is punishable, if chosen, by a term of incarceration or jail.
Moreover, it is also important to note that an individual with a prior conviction of a DWLS and then receives another DWLS charge, he or she will be looking at an enhanced criminal misdemeanor. When an individual is facing his or her second driving on suspended, they will be looking at an enhanced 1-year criminal misdemeanor, meaning the maximum punishment by jail 1-year and/or a fine. As compared to its lesser counterpart, a DWLS first is simply a 93-day misdemeanor, as indicated previously. It is also important to note that regardless of the charge (DWLS 1st or 2nd) possible driver’s license sanctions can also ensue upon a conviction. The type of sanction will be dependent on the specific individual charged with driving while on a suspended license and what their drivers record looks like, meaning some individuals will not automatically be suspended upon a conviction of a DWLS. You may also be in need of drivers license restoration.
It becomes highly important to contact and obtain the assistance of a criminal defense attorney whenever you have been issued or charged with driving while on a suspended license. You should not treat a DWLS charge like traditional traffic offense, such as speeding. There could and will likely be larger repercussions that you are unaware of or may not understand. Always lawyer-up!