Michigan House Bills: Changes in Suspensions of Driver’s Licenses for Violations of Law
Michigan House Bills 5846, 5847, 5850–5853 (2020) changed many sections of the Michigan vehicle code and other code sections that required or allowed denial of a driver’s license or suspension of a driver’s license because of certain violations of law. Most sections of the code that were changed pertained to denying or suspending a license for a violation of law that had nothing to do with the traffic code.
- HB 5846
- HB 5847 & 5850–5853
Under HB 5846, the secretary of state is no longer required to deny a license to or suspend the license of a person who:
- Violated Michigan’s controlled substance laws (deleting MCL 257.303(1)(k))
- Violated Michigan’s laws prohibiting a minor to:
- Purchase, consume, or possess an alcoholic beverage
- Attempt to do the above
- Have any blood alcohol content
- Use fraudulent identification to obtain alcohol
(deleting MCL 257.303(1)(l), 257.319(3)(c), 257.319(7), and 257.321(4))
- Provided fraudulent identification to a minor to purchase alcohol (deleting MCL 257.303(1)(l), 257.319(3)(c), 257.319(7), and 257.321(4))
- Had two or more convictions for furnishing alcohol to a minor (deleting MCL 257.319(12))
- Failed to answer a citation or notice to appear in court or failed to comply with an order or judgment of a court issued for a first, second, or third conviction for purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol or having any alcohol blood content as a minor (deleting MCL 257.321(4)
- Failed to answer a citation or notice to appear in court or failed to comply with an order or judgment of a court regarding
- furnishing a minor with fraudulent identification to buy alcohol
- using fraudulent identification as a minor to purchase alcohol
- transportation or possession of an open container of alcohol
- transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor by someone younger than 21
(deleting MCL 257.321(4))
- Was convicted of or adjudicated for:
- knowingly making a false report regarding violations of Michigan law involving explosives, bombs, or harmful devices involving a school
- placing a harmful object or substance in food involving a school
- mingling poison or a harmful substance with food, drink, nonprescription medicine, or a pharmaceutical product involving a school
- placing poison or a harmful substance in a spring, well, reservoir, or public water supply involving a school
- threatening to do the above
(deleting MCL 257.303(5)(a); 257.303(5)(b); and 257.319(11))
- Was convicted of felonious driving or operation of a vehicle resulting in serious impairment of a body function (deleting MCL 257.319(2)(c))
Other provisions deleted from the vehicle code include:
- The section of the vehicle code that made failure to answer a citation or appear for any violation of the vehicle code reportable to the secretary of state, which would result in license suspension. (Amending MCL 257.321a(2).)
- The section of the code making it mandatory for the secretary to deny a license or renew a license for failing to comply with an order or judgment of the court for civil infractions other than parking or traffic violations. (Deleting former 257.321(9).)
- The section of the code that required a court to notify the secretary of state that a person failed to answer a citation for a traffic code violation when the person had 2 or more parking violations for parking in a disabled parking space OR had 3 or more citations for illegal parking. This section prohibited the secretary from issuing or renewing the license of such person until he or she came into compliance. (Deleting MCL 257.321(7) & (8).)
HB 5846 also added a few provisions to the vehicle code:
- When a vehicle code violation specifically calls for suspension of a license, the failure to appear, answer a citation, or comply with an order or judgment of a court regarding that violation results in license suspension. Formerly, the failure to appear, answer a citation, or comply with an order of the court for any vehicle code violation could result in suspension of a license. (amending MCL 257.321a(1)).
- License suspension is now mandatory for failure to appear or answer a citation for reckless driving, driving in violation of the vehicle code that causes injury, death, or impairment of a body function, or a “serious offense” involving a motor vehicle. (adding to MCL 257.312a(3)).
- The definition of “serious offense involving a motor vehicle” was added: a felony or misdemeanor punishable by more than 93 days in jail during the commission of which the person operated a motor vehicle in a manner that presented real or potential harm to persons or property and
- the vehicle was an instrument of the offense
- the vehicle was necessary for the commission of the offense
- the vehicle was used to transport a victim of the offense, or
- the vehicle was used to flee the scene of the offense
(adding MCL 257.321(10))
- HB 5846
- HB 5847 & 5850–5853
HB 5847 deleted three provisions that required suspension of a license for certain offenses.
- MCL 436.1701(1): the secretary shall suspend the license of a person who is not a retail licensee or a retail licensee’s clerk, agent, or employee and who has two or more violations for knowingly selling or furnishing liquor to a minor or failing to make diligent inquiry into whether the person is a minor.
- MCL 436.1703(6): the secretary shall suspend the license of a minor who purchases or attempts to purchase, consumes or attempts to consume, possesses or attempts to possess any alcoholic liquor; or who has any bodily alcohol content.
- MCL 436.1703(6): the secretary shall suspend the license of a person who furnishes a minor with fraudulent identification or a minor who uses fraudulent identification to purchase alcoholic liquor.
This bill deleted provisions that required suspension of the license of a person who failed to pay support. It amended the following section:
- MCL 552.628 This section formerly allowed suspension of a person’s driver’s license in a friend of the court case based solely on proof that (a) the payer (of support) was 2 months in arrears and (b) an order of income withholding was not applicable or had not been successful, but it was deleted by HB 5850.
- HB 5850 also added to MCL 552.628. Now, suspension of a person’s driver’s license is required if (a) the payer is 2 months in arrears, (b) an order of income withholding was not applicable or had not been successful, (c) the court has determined that the payer has the ability to pay and is willfully failing to do so, and (d) the office of the friend of the court determines that no other sanction would be effective to assure payment.
This bill eliminated suspension of a juvenile’s license for violating provisions of the law regarding controlled substances. It deleted the following:
- 333.7408a(1): the court’s ability to consider the juvenile’s driving record when sentencing for a violation of controlled substance laws. It also deleted the court’s ability to order suspension of the juvenile’s license as part of the sanctions imposed.
This bill eliminated violations of the public health code as a basis for suspending a license, deleting MCL 769.1e(2).
This bill eliminated MCL 257.907(11). That section of the code required suspension of the driver’s license of a person who failed to comply with an order of the court imposing fines and/or costs for traffic code violations, including the following:
- having defective safety equipment
- failing to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on a license
- a person under 21 knowingly possessing or transporting alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle
- depositing snow, ice, or slush on or across a roadway
- operating a motor vehicle that produces excessive noise
- using a handheld mobile phone while driving
- parking in a disabled parking spot without a certificate of identification or a placard
- failing to stop for a school bus
- failing to have a child restraint system
- failing to wear a safety belt
Aside from time behind bars, a conviction often comes with the loss of certain rights and privileges, like the suspension or denial of a driver’s license. The introduction of Michigan House Bills 5846, 5847, and 5850–5853 seek to change that by peeling back these restrictions and allowing individuals the right to get back to their lives. Our devoted team at Spolin Law wants nothing more than to see our clients soar and be able to move on without being held back by post-conviction difficulties. To learn more about how we can get you the justice you deserve call for a free consultation at (866) 963-7561.