Misdemeanor Driving in Violation of Restricted License
A Michigan driver’s license can be restricted for various reasons. Regardless of whether the restrictions result from multiple OWI/DUI convictions, excessive points, a medical issue, or something else, a charge for driving in violation of the restrictions is a criminal misdemeanor.
Penalties and Defenses to Restricted License Violation Charges
As if spending time in jail or on probation is not enough, having a suspended, revoked, or restricted license can substantially impair a person’s ability to work, go to school, visit with family and friends, and take care of the many day-to-day activities. Because of the criminalization of driving on a restricted license, a conviction can prompt a spiral of multiple lengthy suspensions and new convictions for driving in violation of a restricted license or a suspended license. With the help of an experienced, aggressive lawyer, a restricted license violation can be dismissed or reduced.
Driving in violation of a restricted license is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, up to $500 in fines, and up to 2 years of probation.
Defenses to Driving on a Restricted License
Emergency or necessity is a defense to a misdemeanor charge for Driving in Violation of a Restricted License. A person is permitted to drive in violation of a restricted or suspended license in case of an emergency, which is not of the person’s own creation. An emergency compels the person to drive a vehicle to prevent a greater harm.
Although not technically a “defense,” a skilled and savvy criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges. To persuade a prosecutor to enter into an extraordinary plea bargain, the lawyer must show sufficient mitigating circumstances, either with the individual or with the offense, that a reduction in the charge is justified. A lawyer’s credibility and reputation with the prosecutor and the court can play a critical role in the effectiveness of negotiations.
Reasons a License Might Be Restricted
- Restricted License Following a Suspension – A restricted license may automatically follow the expiration of a suspended license. After the first conviction for OWI, an individual’s driver’s license is suspended for 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving privileges.
- Restricted License Following Revocation – The Michigan Department of State may revoke a person’s driver’s license if convicted of two or more alcohol-related driving offenses within a certain period (2 convictions within 7 years, or 3 convictions within 10 years). The individual must file an appeal with the Michigan Department of State Drivers Assessment and Appeal Division to restore their driver’s license. If the appeal is successful, the individual gets a restricted driver’s license (with an alcohol-interlock device).
- Restricted License Due to Special and Extenuating Circumstances – The Michigan Department of State might restrict the driver’s license of a person believed to be:
- incompetent to drive,
- afflicted with a mental or physical infirmity or disability rendering it unsafe for the person to drive,
- if the person has been in 1 or more accidents resulting in death,
- if the person was involved in 3 or more accidents resulting in personal injury or damage to property within 24 months,
- if a person accumulates 12 or more points within 2 years, or
- if the person is convicted of violating the restrictions, terms, or conditions of their driver’s license.
Typical Restrictions on a Michigan Driver’s License
Although the particular restrictions may vary depending on the circumstances, typical restrictions include the ability to drive to, from, and during the course of employment, and also to and from:
- alcohol, drug, or mental health education or treatment as ordered by a court,
- Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other court-order self-help programs or support groups,
- court hearings and probation appointments,
- court-ordered community service,
- an educational institution at which the person is enrolled as a student,
- a place of regularly occurring medical treatment for a serious condition or medical emergency for the individual or a member of the individual’s household or immediate family,
- alcohol or drug testing as ordered by the court,
- an ignition interlock service provider as required, and
- at the discretion of a judge, the custodian of a minor child may drive to and from the facilities of a provider of daycare services at which the custodian’s minor child is enrolled or an educational institution at which the custodian’s minor child is registered as a student for classes, academic meetings or conferences, and athletic or other extracurricular activities sanctioned by the educational institution in which the minor child is a participant.
Under Michigan law, while driving with a restricted license, a person must carry proof of their destination and the hours of any employment, class, or other reason for traveling and shall display that proof upon a peace officer’s request.
Your Rights if Charged with Misdemeanor Driving in Violation of a Restricted License
If you are ticketed, arrested, or charged with violating your restricted driver’s license, you must appear in a district court for arraignment. You will have the right to be released on a reasonable bond. Following the arraignment, you can enter a guilty or not guilty plea. It is best to plead not guilty, at least at first.
Additionally, you will have the right at a hearing to an attorney, to be presumed innocent, to a trial, to testify or not testify (and not have your silence used against you), to call witnesses, and to cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses. The prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you face charges, it is essential that you have experienced legal counsel protecting and defending you in court. A cycle of misdemeanor driving convictions and license restrictions or suspensions can be hard to break. A savvy, experienced, and reputable defense lawyer can potentially help you avoid a conviction and a resulting additional suspension or a revocation of your driving privileges.
Experienced and Successful Defense Attorneys
The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience representing clients on misdemeanor charges, including Driving in Violation of a Restricted Driver’s License. We have an unparalleled track record of success working out favorable resolutions to these cases, and often we can seek the complete dismissal of all charges. If you call us for a free consultation, we will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and address each of your concerns. We will find a way to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.