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What Are The Penalties For Violating A Restricted License In Michigan?

 

There are many reasons why a driver in Michigan would have restrictions on his or her operator’s license regulating the time, place and manner that a vehicle can be used.  No matter what the cause, any violation of these restrictions can lead to a suspension or revocation of the license and possible criminal penalties.  All drivers should be aware of any limitations ordered by the Secretary of State to avoid any accidental violations of the law.

 

RESTRICTED LICENSE AFTER SUSPENSION (MCL 257.319)

The Michigan Secretary of State may issue a restricted license to a driver whose operator’s license was suspended after conviction of certain criminal traffic offenses and any minimum suspension period was completed.  For example, a person convicted of first-offense OWI will have their operator’s license suspended for 180 days, but the Secretary of State may issue a restricted license after the first 30 days to remain in effect the remainder of the specified period.  However, a person convicted of first-offense OWVI will not have their license suspended but will have a restricted license issued for 90 days.  A driver eligible for a restricted license may be required to take a driving skills test by the Secretary of State before issuance.  If granted, a restricted license has the following limitations:

  • The driver may operate the vehicle as required “in the course of the person’s employment or occupation”. MCL 257.319(18)(a).
  • The driver may operate the vehicle to and from any of the following (MCL 257.319(18)(b)):
      1. The person’s residence.
      2. The person’s work location.
      3. An alcohol or drug education or treatment program as ordered by the court.
      4. The court probation department.
      5. A court-ordered community service program.
      6. An educational institution at which the person is enrolled as a student.
      7. A place of regularly occurring medical treatment for a serious condition for the person or a member of the person’s household or immediate family.
      8. An ignition interlock service provider as required.
  • “While driving with a restricted license, the person shall carry proof of his or her destination and the hours of any employment, class, or other reason for traveling and shall display that proof upon a peace officer’s request.” MCL 257.319(19).

 

RESTRICTED LICENSE AFTER REVOCATION (MCL 257.304)

The Michigan Secretary of State may issue a restricted license to a driver whose operator’s license was revoked after conviction of certain criminal traffic offenses (e.g. third offense operating while intoxicated) and the one to five year revocation period was completed.  This is not automatic and will be subject to the driver’s case being reviewed by a hearing officer after application and submitting documentation of sustained sobriety.  Before a full operator’s license may be granted, state law requires a driver whose driving privileges are restored after hearing to be subjected to a restricted license for at least one year.  If granted, this restricted license is subject to the following limitations:

  • An ignition interlock device approved, certified, and installed as required by the Secretary of State has been installed on each motor vehicle owned or operated, or both, by the individual. MCL 257.304(2)(b).  A full operator’s license will not be restored unless the driver demonstrates that he or she has operated with an ignition interlock device for not less than 1 year.  MCL 257.304(6)(c).
  • The driver may operate the vehicle “in the course of the person’s employment or occupation if the employment or occupation does not require a commercial driver license.” MCL 257.304(4)(a).
  • The driver may operate the vehicle to and from any of the following (MCL 257.304(4)(b)):
      1. The person’s residence.
      2. The person’s work location.
      3. An alcohol, drug, or mental health education and treatment as ordered by the court.
      4. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other court-ordered self-help programs.
      5. Court hearings and probation appointments.
      6. Court-ordered community service.
      7. An educational institution at which the person is enrolled as a student.
      8. A place of regularly occurring medical treatment for a serious condition or medical emergency for the person or a member of the person’s household or immediate family.
      9. Alcohol or drug testing as ordered by the court.
      10. An ignition interlock service provider as required.
      11. At the discretion of the judge, the custodian of a minor child may drive to and from the facilities of a provider of day care services at which the custodian’s minor child is enrolled, or an educational institution at which the custodian’s minor child is enrolled as a student for the purposes of classes, academic meetings or conferences, and athletic or other extracurricular activities sanctioned by the educational institution in which the minor child is a participant.
  • “While driving with a restricted license, the person shall carry proof of his or her destination and the hours of any employment, class, or other reason for traveling and shall display that proof upon a peace officer’s request.” MCL 257.304(5).

 

RESTRICTED LICENSE DUE TO EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES AND SPECIAL REASONS (MCL 257.312)

“Upon proper showing of extenuating circumstances and special reasons…, the Secretary of State may recommend a restricted operator’s or chauffeur’s license containing conditions and restrictions applicable to the licensee, the type of special mechanical control devices required in a motor vehicle operated by the licensee, and the area, time, or other condition that the secretary of state considers necessary to assure the safe operation of a vehicle by the licensee and under which the licensee may operate a motor vehicle.”  MCL 257.312(1).  These restrictions may arise due to concerns about the driver’s age, physical or mental health, poor eyesight, disability or handicap.  This can include requiring the driver to wear corrective lenses when operating the vehicle, drive during certain hours, drive only to employment or other locations, or driving with no passengers under age 25 in the vehicle.

The Michigan Secretary of State, after providing notice to the driver, may conduct an investigation or reexamination of a person’s license due to one or more of the following:

  • “The Secretary of State has reason to believe that the person is incompetent to drive a motor vehicle or is afflicted with a mental or physical infirmity or disability rendering it unsafe for that person to drive a motor vehicle.” MCL 257.320(1)(a).
  • “The person, as a driver, has in 1 or more instances been involved in an accident resulting in the death of a person.” MCL 257.320(1)(b).
  • “The person, within a 24-month period, has been involved in 3 accidents resulting in personal injury or damage to the property of a person, and the official police report indicates a moving violation on the part of the driver in each of the accidents.” MCL 257.320(1)(c).
  • The person has accumulated 12 points on his or her driving record within a period of 2 years. MCL 257.320(1)(d).
  • “The person has been convicted of violating restrictions, terms, or conditions of the person’s license.” MCL 257.320(1)(e).

“The Secretary of State, upon good cause, or based solely on the licensed operator’s or chauffeur’s driving record, may restrict, suspend, revoke, or impose other terms and conditions on the license of a person subject to an investigation or reexamination and require the immediate surrender of the license of that person. The secretary of state shall, in all cases, prescribe the period of restriction, suspension, revocation, or other terms and conditions.”  MCL 257.320(2). 

There is ample discretion given to the Michigan Secretary of State under these circumstances to determine the type and duration of restrictions placed on someone’s license to protect other drivers on the road.

 

PENALTIES

  • A person who violates a restriction imposed in a restricted license issued to that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500.00 or up to 90 days in jail, or both. MCL 257.312(4).  In addition, 2 points will be added to the offender’s driving record.
  • The criminal penalty does not apply to a person who is at least 14 years old but not yet 16 years old. “If a motor vehicle is being driven by a person who is at least 14 years of age and under 16 years of age, and that person is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis, the conditions, limitations, and restrictions… do not apply.”  MCL 257.312(5).
  • The restricted license granted under MCL 257.304 is subject to being revoked until the Secretary of State hearing officer reissues a new restricted license. The restricted license granted under MCL 257.319 is subject to being suspended for the remainder of the statutory license suspension period.
  • “If a licensed operator or chauffeur fails to appear for a reexamination scheduled by the secretary of state pursuant to MCL 257.320, the licensed operator’s or chauffeur’s license may be suspended immediately and shall remain suspended until the licensed operator or chauffeur appears for a reexamination by the secretary of state. However, the secretary of state may restrict, suspend, or revoke the license based solely on the licensed operator’s or chauffeur’s driving record.” MCL 257.320(6).

A misdemeanor charge will require the driver to appear in district court to be arraigned by the judge.  The defendant will also have the right to a jury trial.  Most importantly, the defendant has the right to hire a criminal defense lawyer to defend against this charge.  The judges and prosecutors do not take restricted license violations lightly.  In their eyes, the driver has a second chance to drive with some conditions and now even those terms could not be lived up to.  An attorney may be able to negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor that reduces the charge to a ffense with no points or even a civil infraction.  You only get one opportunity to defend a criminal charge appropriately, so do not leave getting a favorable outcome to chance.

If you or a loved one is charged with any traffic offense and need legal representation, then do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC to start your best defense today.

 

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