Recently, the Michigan legislature recently passed an amendment repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee program. The program, enacted in 2003, required drivers guilty of certain traffic offenses to pay annual fees. These fees, which ranged from $100 to $500 per year as well as the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee, will no longer be collected by the Michigan Department of the Treasury.
Some drivers must continue to make payments, though. Currently, Michigan drivers who entered Driver Responsibility Fee payment plans on or before February 1, 2018 are no longer required to make payments. Their payment plans are terminated. Drivers in this category who do not currently have pending actions against their driver’s licenses may have their licenses reinstated without having to pay the $125 fee any time between now and December 31, 2018. On January 1, 2019, the reinstatement fee will return. Drivers who entered payment plans between February 2, 2018 and March 31, 2018 are required to continue making their payments until October 1, 2018.
Understanding What this Means for You
If you were liable for driver responsibility fees, your debt may now be forgiven. But do not simply stop making your payments or fail to make upcoming payments – depending on when your payment plan was created, you might still be required to make your payments. Speak with an experienced traffic defense lawyer to determine the status of your payment plan and the action you should take right now.
By eliminating driver responsibility fees, Michigan aims to stop the cycle of poverty many feel the fees perpetuate. Fees like this hit low-income individuals and families harder than they hit middle and upper-class drivers, sometimes to the point of compromising their food and housing security. Driver Responsibility Fees were required in addition to fines for traffic violations and if a driver could not make his or her payments, his or her license would be suspended.
Currently, the Michigan Department of the Treasury and Secretary of State’s office are working with local workforce development agencies to develop plans that make it possible for drivers to eliminate their outstanding Driver Responsibility Fees without actually requiring payment before October 1.
If you face a new traffic charge in the future, you do not have to worry about facing new driver responsibility fees if you are found guilty. However, you should still work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge – you will still face points on your driver’s license, fines, and potentially jail time or loss of your driving privileges if you are found guilty of operating while intoxicated (OWI), reckless driving, or another traffic-related offense.
Work with an Experienced Troy Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a traffic-related charge, you have the right to fight it in court and potentially have the charged lowered or dismissed. To learn more about your rights and legal options when you are in this position, schedule your initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Michigan Defense Law today to set up your consultation with us and start working on your case with a member of our team.