Legal Question in Criminal Law in Michigan

driving on suspended liscense

what is the charge for 5th offense driving on suspended liscense?


Asked on 1/01/06, 7:38 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Neil O'Brien Eaton County Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Re: driving on suspended liscense

By "charge", are you asking what a defense attorney's fee will be, or are you asking what the possible penalty would be?

The actual criminal charge would be a violation of MCL 257.904(3)(a) and (b).

I'm an assistant prosecutor, not a defense attorney trying to solicit you as a client because of his "tough, aggressive" representation. So, I can't tell you what the "charge" (fee, cost, $$$) would be to hire a defense attorney. But I would note that even a "tough, aggressive" defense attorney will have a hard time doing much for you regaring the charge itself. This crime is difficult to defend in court (or in trial) because the only elements that a prosecutor needs to prove are that (1) you were driving a motor vehicle on a public road, and (2) your driving privileges were suspended at the time you drove. The first element is usually covered by the cop identifying the driver or someone else who saw you drive, or even your admissions to the cop or another person. The second element is covered by a certified record from the secretary of state's office. As for proving the "priors", that's accomplished with similar court records, or even the driving record itself.

What might you face penalty-wise? DWLS 5th is the same as DWLS 2nd or any "subsequent conviction": up to 1 yr in jail and/or $1,000 fine, plus court costs; mandatory abstracting to the SOS with 2 points on your driving record (which may cause SOS to extend your current suspension).

What will the judge give you as an actual sentence? No one on this web site can predict that because we don't know which judge you have, what that judge's sentencing tendencies are (some judges are tired of folks flaunting the driving privileges we have been given, and other judges look at these charges as nuisances on their court schedules), what the situation is in your county jail when you get sentenced (ie, if the jail is full that day, you won't get a jail sentence), etc.

But, an attorney might be able to present background information about you at the sentencing in some way to soften what the judge might do to you. That attorney might also be able to help you deal with the ultimate problem: the suspension you have through SOS. After all, you're only dealing with the "flesh wound" if yu concentrate on the misdemeanor criminal charge. You're better off trying to eradicate the ongoing, daily suspension you have through SOS because if you don't then you will never get out from underneath it all. The first step in this mission must be that you stop driving in violation of the law, because SOS or judges will have no good reason to cut you a break if you're nothing but a scoff-law.

I hope this helps. Best of luck.

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Answered on 1/03/06, 10:52 am
Charles Kronzek The Kronzek Firm PLC

driving on suspended liscense

How much would you like to spend? What kind of defense would you like? Would you prefer a lay-down or inexperienced attorney that will just take your money, plead you guilty and move on to the next case? Or would you prefer an experienced aggressive attorney that will fight for the best result in your case? You get what you pay for; What would you like to pay for?

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Answered on 1/02/06, 11:08 am
Rochelle Guznack Law Offices of Rochelle E. Guznack, PLLC

Re: driving on suspended liscense

A fifth offense will probably land you in jail, cost you some money in fines, cost you your license for a while, and may cause your vehicle to be impounded or immobilized. The severity of the sentence depends on your legal defense, the prosecutor, and the judge. You can expect the penalties to be more severe than they were for the 4th offense. The judge probably told you what would happen if you were charged with an additional offense. You should hire a good attorney who may be able to minimize the damage.

Good luck.

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Answered on 1/02/06, 8:35 pm


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