Will Michigan’s Planned New Electronic Licenses Affect Roadside DUI Stops?

A woman sitting in her car with her cell phone in her hands. She is touching the screen and looking up information.
At some point in the future, handing your license to a cop might mean pulling up info on your phone and handing it to a cop.

What’s the first thing a police officer says to you when they walk up to your window after pulling you over? Sometimes they greet you politely and ask how you’re doing. Sometimes they ask if you happen to know what they pulled you over for. But it won’t be long before they’re asking you that famous (or infamous) question: “license, insurance, and registration, please.” And if you remember your wallet, and didn’t forget to renew your registration, then what you’ll be handing over to the cop is two pieces of paper and a plastic card. But maybe not for long. Think ‘phone’…

Michigan may be one of the first states to offer electronic drivers licenses accessible on your phone

Senator Pete Lucido introduced the idea recently, saying that Michigan needed to get our Secretary of State “into the twenty-first century”. Currently, both your registration and your proof of insurance are available electronically, which means that there are already people living in the Great Lakes State who pull up info and hand their phones over to officers at roadside stops in order to make the necessary information available. But up until now, no one has said anything about driver’s licenses being made electronic.

What would that mean for drunk driving stops in Michigan?

If you don’t carry a smartphone, the answer is nothing. It won’t change a thing. And even if you do carry a smartphone, if you choose to keep carrying the traditional plastic driver’s license you’ve always had as well, it still won’t change a thing. But what if you do decide to make the switch? Will having an electronic driver’s license have any impact on how a potential DUI arrest takes place? Maybe…

Handing your phone off to an officer might sound scary!

Giving a cop your license so they can take it back to their vehicle and run your particulars is pretty standard. But what about when your license is on your phone. Do you hand your phone off to the cop? What if you were recording the police interaction for your attorney? Or what if you were planning to call your attorney and leave the line open during your exchange with the officer? That could be a problem… And what happens if your phone dies, or you lose it someplace? Would that count as not having your license on you when you get pulled over? What if the cop “accidentally” saw some photos or other personal information that is stored on your phone?

New tech can be a little confusing for some people.

If the idea of accessing your license on your phone is a little unnerving, wait till you try to do it while a cop is standing over you and you’ve had a drink or two. Suddenly you’re all fumble fingers and you can’t remember how the app works. Does that count against you? Will your anxiety make you look guilty in the officer’s opinion? Or will you struggle to locate the app and open it in a timely fashion make you seem more intoxicated than you really are? Who knows, but if this law passes we recommend keeping your physical Michigan drivers license with you as well, at least until you’re completely comfortable using the online version.

Our other advice is equally important!

Having a physical driver’s license with you as a backup is a smart plan. But having our phone number programmed into your phone, or written down on a card and tucked away in your wallet is just as critical! If you’re ever charged with drunk or drugged driving, you’re going to need help from a highly skilled and fiercely aggressive DUI defense attorney. And at The Kronzek Firm that’s exactly what you’ll get. So take a moment to put 866 766 5245 in your phone or your wallet right now, and be prepared to fight for your rights, no matter what!

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