Driving while license suspended or driving while license revoked; are they the same thing?
There are similarities between driving with a suspended license and driving with a revoked license, although many people use the two interchangeably. And while it’s true the two violate the same rule of law, the penalties can be very different.
A revoked license typically results in situations where multiple driving under the influence (DUI) convictions have occurred. A revoked license is not automatically reinstated, ever, until a formal request for a hearing with Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) is granted.
Regardless of whether a person’s license has been revoked for a period of one year or five years, it does not mean they will automatically have their license privileges returned at the end of that time period. There’s a lot of effort required to get a driver’s license reinstated by requesting a hearing.
This differs from a suspended license. A suspended license can be the result of too many points, failing to pay traffic fines, conviction of a drug crime or a whole host of other reasons, such as child support non-payment. A suspended license is only reinstated after a period of time has elapsed and/or after a specific amount of money has been paid. An appeal is never required to get a suspended license reinstated.
For example, let’s say a person had their license revoked seven years ago for a drunk driving charge. Despite being eligible a year later to make a formal request with the DAAD to for driver’s license reinstatement, they never took the required action. If a person is subsequently caught driving with a revoked license, a ticket (citation) would likely result from this.
The recommended course of action in this and similar circumstances would be to hire an experienced attorney in an effort to get the charge(s) reduced or dropped. This can be achieved when the attorney and the prosecutor are able to negotiate a deal where the charge is lowered from ‘driving with a revoked license’ to ‘failing to display a valid license’ (referred to as “no ops” or the driver did not have a driver’s license with them at the time they were stopped). This is a violation that penalizes no additional points on a person’s driver’s license and is generally considered to be a favorable outcome compared to the penalties for the more serious charge.
While the negotiated deal is a better result than what would typically occur if the original charge were to stick, the individual is not out of the woods yet. A few weeks afterward a letter from the Secretary of State (SOS) would be received by the individual, informing the person that their license is being revoked for a period of one year. This is because the SOS must impose what’s called a “mandatory additional” revocation for the same length of time for which a license was revoked in the first place. This person’s license is once again revoked and they must wait a year before a formal request to have their license restored can be made.
Contrast this to being caught driving on a suspended license. The “mandatory additional” would be the same number of days the license was suspended for in the first place. For example, the time period for a suspended license is typically 30-180 days, after which it is automatically reinstated after the specific period of time and/or fine has been paid.
The punishments differ quite dramatically for driving with a revoked license vs. a suspended license. This is one of many reasons it is highly advisable to hire an experienced attorney familiar with these distinctions and with driver’s license legal issues in general. The attorneys at Lakeshore Law & Mediation Center can help with these issues. Contact us today at 616.844.4091 or email us here!