Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Michigan

Criminal charges for operating a vehicle during a revocation or suspension.

By , Attorney (University of San Francisco School of Law)
Updated December 06, 2022

As in all states, drivers in Michigan can face license suspension or revocation for a variety of reasons. And if you get behind the wheel with a suspended or revoked license, you risk criminal charges and serious penalties.

This article explains the various reasons for license suspension or revocation and the penalties you'll face if you continue to drive on a suspended or revoked license in Michigan.

What Does It Mean to Have Your License Suspended or Revoked?

When your license is suspended or revoked, it generally means that the state has taken away your driving privileges. In other words, while the suspension or revocation is in place, you can't lawfully drive.

General Differences Between Suspension and Revocation

In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously, they mean the same thing. However, some states use the term "suspension" to mean a temporary loss of privileges and "revocation" to mean the permanent loss of privileges. But even in states where revocation is permanent, the driver can typically apply for reinstatement after a certain period of time.

Difference Between Suspensions and Revocations in Michigan

Michigan follows the general rule stated above: a suspension is a temporary loss of driving privileges and revocation is the termination of driving privileges. However, the labels "suspension" and "revocation" don't make much of a difference. Each type of revocation or suspension has reinstatement requirements.

What Are the Reasons for License Suspension or Revocation in Michigan?

Some of the more common reasons drivers lose their driving privileges include:

Also, drivers who get too many moving violation tickets may face license suspension. Michigan has a traffic violation point system, and drivers who accumulate too many points within a specified period of time can lose their driving privileges.

What Are the Penalties for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Michigan?

In Michigan, driving on a suspended or revoked license can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.

Misdemeanor Driving on Suspended or Revoked

First offense. In most cases, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor. For a first misdemeanor conviction, the driver faces up to 93 days in jail, a maximum $500 fine, and cancelation of registration plates.

Second offense. For a subsequent violation, the driver is looking at up to a year in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine, and cancelation of registration plates.

Felony Driving on Suspended or Revoked

If you are driving with a suspended or revoked license and someone is injured or killed, you face the possibility of being charged with a felony. Felony convictions can lead to vehicle forfeiture or immobilization in addition to the penalties specified below.

Deaths. Felony convictions involving a death carry up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $2,500 and $10,000.

Injuries. A felony conviction where someone was seriously injured will result in up to five years in prison and $1,000 and $5,000 in fines.

How do You Reinstate a Revoked or Suspended License in Michigan?

Once your period of suspension or revocation is complete, you might still need to pay fees or complete other conditions prior to being allowed to drive again. Reinstatement fees generally are $85 or $125.

Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Michigan

A conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license can have serious consequences. An attorney who is familiar with these charges in your area will be best able to give you advice about your case.

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