What should I do after driving on a suspended license? 6 Answers as of May 31, 2011

I was pulled over with a suspended license. I had no idea that had been suspended. I have a clean record, what should I expect?

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Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
If you received an offense for DWLS, you should have been given a ticket or an appearance date. Either way, you would generally need to either appear in Court or contact the Court to get a Court date. In general, the Court may schedule a Pre-Trial date. On this date, you and your attorney will be able to discuss your case with a prosecutor, and you can determine whether there is an agreeable way to resolve your case or whether the case will be set for trial. At this time, you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you and specifically address your questions about what to expect and what may need to be done. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/31/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Driving on a suspended license could be charged as a misdemeanor. In some instances, the police officer who issues the ticket will give the driver a break and issue them a civil infraction for another type of offense instead. A person's driving ticket should contain information regarding how the arresting officer issued the charge. If the driver was issued a civil infraction, they have a right to request a hearing to challenge the civil infraction. They can request a formal hearing where the rules of evidence apply or an informal hearing which is, as the same suggests, more informal and usually conducted in front of a magistrate. Civil infractions are only punishable by fines and costs. The driver has a right to retain council if they wish; however, the court will not make a court-appointed attorney available for a civil infraction in all but the rarest of circumstances. If a person is charged with a misdemeanor on their ticket, they will need to turn themselves in at the appropriate court to be arraigned. The ticket should state a date and time or a period of days and the location and name of the court and courthouse where the person should do this. Anyone charged with a misdemeanor has a right to retain the council of their choice. In certain circumstances, they may be able to receive an attorney paid for at the public's expense. Everyone charged with a criminal offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty. At arraignment, it is perfectly acceptable to plead not guilty or stand mute and have the court enter a plea of not guilty, regardless of the circumstances. There is generally little advantage to pleading guilty at an arraignment. A judge will not hold it against someone if they plead not guilty at an arraignment but then later end up pleading guilty. If person pleads not guilty after the bond is set, the case will be set for a pretrial or a pretrial equivalent depending on the practices of the local district court. The case will ultimately be resolved by either a trial, plea bargain, or dismissal depending on the circumstances. As a misdemeanor, driving on a suspended license, first offense, is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, fines up to $500.00, probation up to two years, and other sanctions within the discretion of the court. Further, a conviction has significant potential impacts on a person's future ability to drive. Convictions may result in vehicle impound, points, license suspension or revocation, or other penalties, depending on the driver's record. While judges are occasionally lenient on first offenders with jail sentences, they have a lot of discretion. Further, the license sanctions are administered separately and the Secretary of State has a lot of discretion too. These offenses also cannot currently be expunged under Michigan law. A conviction may jeopardize a person's professional commercial driving license. Even if a person has a clean record otherwise, a conviction for this type of offense will stay on their record for a very long time and will significantly increase the costs of maintaining a car in the future. Given the possible penalties, anyone charged with driving on a suspended license should try to retain legal council. Do not assume it's simply another traffic ticket like speeding. Simply because a person is charged does not mean they will end up being found guilty. In some instances, effective legal defense of the charge could result in dismissal, the opportunity to accept responsibility for a civil infraction, or an opportunity plead guilty to a non-abstractable offense that would not show up on their driving record. If a person is charged with the misdemeanor version of this offense and cannot afford legal council, the court may make a court-appointed attorney available upon request.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/26/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
If it is your first offense, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 93 days in jail and/or fines up to $500 plus court costs. You need to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer before pleading guilty to anything. Make sure you had proper notice of the suspension of your license from the Secretary of State.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/26/2011
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
It depends upon what district court you are in. Some prosecutors would allow you to plead guilty to a reduced offense of no valid operators license on person and you would pay a fine. Other courts and prosecutors are stricter.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/26/2011
Klisz Law Office, PLLC
Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
Get a local attorney who will assist you in handling the case. You should be ok.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/26/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    First, why was it suspended and when? Were you provided any notice of the suspension? If you truly did not have notice, it would seem prudent to plead not guilty and take the matter to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/26/2011
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