Is Driving with a Suspended License Worth the Jail Time?

Traffic Tickets Aren’t the Only Punishment for DWLS and DWLR Charges

Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) or Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) are both misdemeanors in Michigan. Although you may not think anything of taking a quick trip to the store when you’re not legally allowed to, these charges will go on your criminal record if you are convicted. You could also face an extension of your license restrictions and other painful circumstances. If you need help after a DWLS or DWLR charge, we are here to answer your questions. We understand how important the ability to drive is—and we’ll do everything we can to help.

Common Causes of License Suspension or Revocation

Now that Michigan has done away with Driver Responsibility Fees, you’re most likely to face license-based punishments after being pulled over for a moving violation. However, other crimes can result in suspension or even revocation depending on the severity. This penalty can (and, in some cases, must) be assessed for convictions including:

  • Operating While Intoxicated (yes, even on your first OWI!)
  • Operating While Visibly Impaired
  • Refusing a BAC test
  • Under 21 BAC or Open Intoxicants
  • Fraudulent Change of Address
  • Reckless Driving
  • Failure to Respond to a Traffic Citation (FAC) or Comply with a Court Judgement (FCJ)
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Injury
  • Accumulating 12 or More Driving Record Points

What Happens If I Drive on a Suspended or Revoked License?

Having your license suspended or revoked can upend your life. Many of us rely on our cars to get back and forth from work, school, and other engagements. However, being caught driving on an invalid license can make your situation even worse. When suspensions stack up (or become revocations), it becomes even harder to keep your life in order. Here’s what happens to anyone caught behind the wheel after a license suspension or revocation.

First Offense: DWLS or DWLR

Thankfully, both of these charges are misdemeanors rather than felonies, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get off with a slap on the wrist. If you’re caught and convicted, you could be subject to:

  • Fines of up to $500
  • Probation for up to 1 year
  • Further license suspension or revocation
  • Cancellation of your registration
  • Jail time of up to 93 days

Repeat Offense: DWLS or DWLR

The second (or third) time you’re caught driving on a suspended license, you’ll face higher penalties:

  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Probation for up to 2 years
  • Further license suspension or revocation
  • Cancellation of your registration
  • Confiscation of license plates
  • Vehicle immobilization
  • Jail time of up to 1 year

If you are charged with multiple repeated offenses, the penalties slowly increase—and after a certain point, you’ll no longer be able to register a car in Michigan.

Other Consequences of DWLR Violations

A revocation is very different from a suspension. If your privileges to drive are taken away, you will have to go through a long appeal process to request license restoration. Aside from the material penalties you may face for a DWLR charge, these convictions can be used against you in your appeal. Getting your license back after a revocation isn’t easy; getting convicted of a DWLR can complicate the process even further.

Other Infractions on a DWLS or DWLR

In some situations, charges can be elevated depending on your convictions and the circumstances surrounding your current offense. For example, take a Driving While License Suspended charge involving injury or death. You could end up with a felony on your record, prison time, and fines of up to $10,000. Especially if you’re being brought up on charges beyond the DWLS/DWLR misdemeanor, you need a strong criminal defense lawyer to fight for you in court.

An Effective Defense for DWLS and DWLR Charges

If you have been charged with Driving While License Suspended or Driving While License Revoked, you have the right to an experienced defense lawyer on your side. Though it may seem like the state has a cut-and-dried case against you, a lawyer could help you walk away with:

  • A reduction of charges
  • A dismissal of charges
  • Lesser penalties

Don’t further risk your driving privileges. If you’re facing a DWLS or DWLR, reach out for help now.

Contact our Tanis Schultz team online or call (616) 227-3737 to discuss your legal options.