The subject of Michigan’s driver responsibility fees is one we’ve discussed several times in the past. They’ve been a controversial subject for years, and a number of efforts have been made in the past to have them eradicated. Even the Michigan District Judges Association (MDJA) spoke up in favor of getting rid of driver responsibility fees.
Not because we don’t want responsible drivers in Michigan, but because the fees weren’t creating more responsible drivers. Instead, they simply burdened working people beyond their capacity, and put struggling people further into debt. Others argue that nobody forces working people to break the law and thus incur driver responsibility fees. Each side of the discussion has merit.
All of that might end this year!
House Bill 5044, introduced by State Representative Joe Bellino, seeks to put an end to driver responsibility fees for Michigan residents once and for all! Days ago, the package was placed on Governor Snyder’s desk, awaiting his signature, and if signed into law it will change the way Michigan drivers get back on their feet after certain traffic infractions, like drunk driving.
According to State Rep. Bellino, “These fees did nothing but put families deeper in debt and prevent people from obtaining a driver’s license, which often meant they had to drive illegally to provide for their families. Ending these onerous fees and giving people a fresh start will help improve the quality of life for families everywhere.” Others argue that nobody has to drive illegally and that it’s just another one of life’s many choices.
The bills were overwhelmingly supported in the House and Senate
If the Governor signs this reform into law, what will change? Well, several things, starting with the lives of countless drivers around Michigan. Because people paying responsibility fees often lost driving privileges, they would also lose their jobs. Because they didn’t work, they didn’t pay the fees they owed. Many of them chose to not take advantage of public transportation, car pools or other options.
It became a vicious cycle, and people who were already strapped for cash became stuck in an endless loop of poverty and legal consequences. The fees became standard in the state 15 years ago, and since then they’ve stripped countless people with repeated violations of their ability to drive. This choice led to thousands of families living in poverty. As of now, there is a total of $637 million owed for driver responsibility fees in Michigan, which is a staggering amount!
If you’re looking for specifics, here’s what would change:
- All driver responsibility fees will be forgiven on October 1, of 2018. (This includes old fees and newly assessed ones!)
- All outstanding debt accrued by people who haven’t paid their responsibility fees will be forgiven.
- A grace period lasting through December 3, 2018 would allow people to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee.
- People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate debt forgiveness and will no longer owe the state any money.
- Certain people will be allowed to participate in workplace development training programs, enabling them to get their driver’s licenses back before the Oct. 1 enactment date.
Do you need help from a Michigan drunk driving defense attorney?
Drunk and drugged drivers in Michigan are often faced with very high driver responsibility fees. That will likely end soon. However, that was only a portion of the harsh penalties handed out to people convicted of drunk and drugged driving. In addition to other penalties, like jail or prison time, ignition interlock requirements, license plate confiscation, and vehicle forfeiture are also common!
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, or accused of operating under the influence of drugs, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We have a long track record of success, fighting for our clients and getting great results both in and out of court! Don’t leave your future to chance. Call the pros today at 1 866-7NoJail and make sure that your case is handled by an aggressive and experienced DUI defense attorney.