McDonald Pierangeli Macfarlane, PLLC

How do I get my suspended drivers license reinstated?

Did you lose your Michigan license after being unable to pay your driver responsibility fees (DRF)? The fees were an additional penalty added to motor vehicle citations, and in the event you did not have the financial capability to pay, your license was suspended without notice.

A vicious cycle

Driver responsibility fees accumulated for those with point violations ranging from $100-$500 per year; or for those drivers charged and convicted of a category 2 violation such as DUI or driving under suspension. This created a vicious cycle: those unable to pay had their licenses suspended, but many decided to take the risk and continue to drive, which when caught by law enforcement resulted in driving under suspension charges. The situation left hundreds of thousands of Michigan drivers with suspended licenses, making employment and daily life a struggle.

Recognition of disproportionate impact

In December 2017, a federal judge issued an injunction against Michigan’s Secretary of State forbidding further license suspensions for those who could not pay off traffic tickets and associated fees. When these fines became past due, license suspension was carried out without notice by the Secretary of State’s Office. Because drivers were not granted the opportunity to challenge the finding or explain why they were unable to pay the fine, the practice violated a legal concept called procedural due process. As a result, the state legislature passed a law to eliminate these fees which was signed by Governor Snyder in March of 2018.

DRF fees forgiven as of October 1, 2018

Living without a valid drivers license is difficult, but the good news is that the legislation went into effect this past October ending driver responsibility fees. Over $650 million of debt owed by Michigan drivers has now been forgiven. So, how do you get your drivers license reinstated?

There is a reinstatement fee that must be paid, but there are additional issues you may face when trying to get your license back. The best course of action is to discuss your situation with an attorney, who will look at your record to determine whether you have any pending actions, remaining fines, fees for failure to appear in court or comply with a judgment filed against you.

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