Bipartisan plan would reclassify several minor offenses as civil infractions
The state House of Representatives has approved Rep. Mike Mueller’s plan to re-examine the penalties for driving with a suspended, revoked, or denied license in Michigan.
Mueller said reclassifying penalties for first and second-time offenses as civil infractions would establish better, more proportional penalties that make sense based on the offense in question.
“When someone can’t afford to pay a parking or speeding ticket, their license gets suspended, and from there it just takes one run-in with the law for them to get arrested,” said Mueller, a retired sheriff’s deputy. “I’ve seen it happen countless times. Good citizens end up wrapped up in the criminal justice system, go to jail, or even lose their jobs, simply because they couldn’t afford to pay a ticket. There’s no need to waste taxpayer dollars and jam up law enforcement and the courts on minor offenses like these. They have much bigger issues to worry about.”
A first-time DWLS offense is currently a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 93 days and/or up to $500 in fines, and a second or subsequent such offense is currently a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If Mueller’s plan is enacted, a first offense would become a state civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $150, a second offense would become a state civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $250, and a third or subsequent such offense would become a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 93 days and/or a fine of up to $500.
Additionally, the plan would carry a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 93 days and/or a fine of up to $500 if the individual’s license was suspended due to dangerous driving activity such as operating while intoxicated, reckless driving, or a violation that causes the injury, death, or serious impairment of another individual.
The plan now moves to be considered by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.