Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) in Michigan
Criminal defense lawyers who are dedicated to the passionate, fearless, and effective defense of those charged with driving while license suspended (DWLS), revoked, restricted, or never obtained.
A driver’s license might be suspended or revoked for many reasons.
Fail to pay a ticket? Receive a parking ticket you didn’t know about? Behind in child support? Habitual alcohol-related driving convictions? In Michigan, your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for many reasons. A great criminal defense lawyer may be your best hope to avoiding a permanent criminal conviction if you are charged with driving while license suspended.
“What if I didn’t know my license was suspended?”
Often, a client will come to us who never even knew his or her license was suspended or revoked. Prosecutors and judges have a zero-tolerance police relative to defendants claiming, “I didn’t know!” At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we have a zero-tolerance policy for judges and prosecutors who want to abuse our clients and deprive them of their rights! If you are charged with driving while license suspended because you did not get notice, we will fight to get your charges dismissed if possible.
“What is the worst thing that can happen with a DWLS?”
Driving While License Suspended, Revoked, or Never Acquired is a misdemeanor charge that carries up to 93 days in jail, court costs, fines, and up to 2 years of probation. It also carries a longer or additional term of suspension.
We have successfully represented hundreds of clients charged with DWLS. Through aggressive, fearless and zealous representation, we have a track record of success in achieving in dismissals, reduced charges, civil infractions that carry no points, and civil infractions that are not even reported to the Secretary of State.
We know that the most critical factor for most of our clients is to avoid jail. Many inexperienced lawyers and defendants are often shocked and amazed when a judge imposes a jail sentence for DWLS. Although it is not common, some judges in Michigan routinely hand out jail time. We fight to protect our clients’ rights, and we will do everything humanly possible to keep them out of jail.
You should also understand that a conviction for DWLS results in a permanent criminal conviction. A conviction for this offense can never be expunged because it is written under the Motor Vehicle Code. If you have a prior conviction for a different felony or misdemeanor offense and you are convicted of DWLS, you may never be able to clear your criminal history of either offense (an expungement of multiple offenses is rare and only permissible in minimal circumstances).
Driving While License Suspended – A Common Offense
The tough economy in Michigan has prevented many people from paying off or otherwise dealing with child support payments or traffic tickets (which then results in an “FCJ” or Failure to Comply with Judgment” suspension of their license). When the driver’s license responsibility fee is not paid, the Michigan Department of State will also suspend the driver’s license.
Arrested for DWLS
Driving While License Suspended – First Offense
A driver who is accused of a first offense for driving with a suspended, revoked, or denied license will face a maximum fine of up to $500, up to 93 days in jail, or both. There is a mandatory additional suspension and a $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years. The judge may also impose a probation period of up to 2 years with terms and conditions that can include a prohibition against the use of drugs or alcohol, testing, therapy, community service, and much more.
Driving While License Suspended – Second Offense
A DWLS 2nd carries a maximum $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both. The potential for jail time increases exponentially with one or more prior convictions for Driving While License Suspended. The defendant’s driving record and the reason for the initial suspension (especially an OWI or DUI) can be a complicating factor. A second offense includes a mandatory additional suspension, the $500 Driver Responsibility Fee, and the vehicle may be immobilized for up to 180 days.
Driving While License Suspended – Third or Fourth Offense
A third or fourth offense of DWLS will increase the mandatory additional suspension. The license plate confiscated and destroyed. The car will be immobilized for 90 to 180 days. The Secretary of State will impose a $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years. Note: must be two priors with seven years.
Driving While License Suspended – Fifth or Subsequent Offense
A fifth or subsequent offense of DWLS (four priors within seven years) carries a mandatory additional suspension, license plate confiscation, vehicle immobilized for a minimum of one and up to three years, and $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.
Aggressive, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Because DWLS is so common, having a skilled defense attorney can be extremely helpful. It is often possible to get these charges completely dropped or reduced. A conviction for DWLS will result in a permanent criminal record.
If you or a loved one has been accused of Driving While License Suspended or a similar offense, misdemeanor, or traffic misdemeanor, you need a skilled and proven criminal defense attorney on your side. Please contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience defending people being accused of or charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses, including DWLS. We will employ our vast resources to minimize or eliminate the penalties you face potentially.
We Can Help You with a Charge of Driving While License Suspended
If you are charged with Driving While License Suspended, Revoked or Denied and you want a lawyer who will fight for you and not minimize the importance of the case. If you call us for a free consultation, we will take the time to hear your whole story, answer all of your questions, and develop the best strategy to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.