Michigan Driver Responsibility Fees; It Pays to Fight Every Traffic Ticket!

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Since 2003, the State of Michigan collects Driver Responsibility Fees against driver’s when excessive points are abstracted on a person’s driving record (Category 1 Offenses). Fees are also collected for specific offenses, regardless of points (Category 2 Offenses). Drunk driving is an example of an offense categorized under Category 2.  For example, a person who is convicted for Operating While Intoxicated is required to pay $1,000.00 per year for 2 years for a total of $2,000.00. A conviction for the lower drinking and driving offense of “impaired driving” requires $500.00 per year for 2 years in fees.

These fees have been called a “death penalty for drivers” by State Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland). Haveman favors legislation which would phase out all driver responsibility fees and he has called the law a “cash grab” for the state at the expense of motorists, who can lose their license for non-payment.

Traffic tickets are handled in the district Courts. In the district courts where we appear frequently, including : 37th District (Warren/Centerline), 38th District (Eastpointe), 39th District (Roseville/Fraser), 40th District (St. Clair Shores), 41-A District (Sterling Heights, Shelby Township, Macomb Township, Utica), 41-B District (Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Mount Clemens), 42-1 District(Romeo/Washington Township), 42-2 District (New Baltimore/Chesterfield Township), 72nd District (Marine City/Port Huron Divisions), 44th District (Royal Oak), many individuals are driving without a license and without insurance. They just cannot afford all of costs associated with traffic tickets and Driver Responsibility Fees.

Unfortunately, many people without a license still need to drive in order to keep a job and support their families:

A major source of the problem begins when a person obtains a ticket, such as drunk driving, that requires substantial Driver’s Responsibility Fees. When the person cannot pay the fees, the State of Michigan imposes license suspension. The situation becomes compounded when the person continues to drive. Future tickets result in further periods of license suspension along with additional Driver Responsibility Fees that are imposed for excessive points or serious criminal driving offenses.

The underlying cost for insurance is another financial barrier (in addition to Driver Responsibility Fees) when someone has obtained multiple points or a serious conviction such as reckless driving or drunk driving.  Also, most insurance companies will not provide coverage for unlicensed drivers. The result is that many of these people will continue to drive illegally, and without insurance, while continuing to incur other traffic tickets and owing thousands to the State of Michigan in Driver Responsibility Fees.

List of Driver Responsibility Fees
The Michigan Driver Responsibility Fees program requires monetary fees for drivers who Accumulate seven or more points on their driving record (Category 1), or are convicted of specific qualifying offenses (Category 2).

Category 1 Offenses (based on the number of points )
7 Points $100
8 Points $150
9 Points $200
10 Points $250
11 Points $300
12 Points $350
13 Points $400
14 Points $450
15 Points $500

Category 2 Offenses (based upon specific offenses)
Assessed $1,000 per year for two years
• CDL Manufacture/Distribute a Control Substance
• Fail to Use Due Care Causing Death of Person Operating Implement of Husbandry
• Fail to Use Due Care Causing Injury of Person Operating Implement of Husbandry
• Failed to Stop After P.I. Accident
• Failed to Stop or Identify After P.D. Accident
• Failed to Stop or Identify After P.I. Accident Causing Serious Impairment of a Body Function
• Failure to Stop or Identify After P.I. Accident Causing Death
• Failure to Use Due Care and Caution Causing Death of a Construction Worker
• Failure to Use Due Care and Caution Causing Injury of a Construction Worker
• Failure to Yield For an Emergency Responder Causing Death
• Failure to Yield For an Emergency Responder Causing Injury
• Fatality Through Negligent or Criminal Operation of a CMV
• Felonious Driving
• Felony With Auto Used
• Felony/Auto Used
• Fleeing and Eluding officer 1st Degree – Causing Death
• Fleeing and Eluding Officer 2nd Degree – Causing Serious Injury
• Fleeing and Eluding Officer 3rd Degree
• Fleeing and Eluding Officer 4th Degree
• Manslaughter
• Moving Violation Causing Death
• Moving Violation Causing Serious Impairment
• Murder/Auto Used
• Negligent Homicide
• Operated Commercial Motor Vehicle with BAC .04 .07
• Operating with Blood Alcohol Content of .17 or higher (Super Drunk)
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Controlled Substance Causing Death
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Controlled Substance Causing Serious Injury
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Liquor Causing Death of An Emergency Responder
• Operated While Intoxicated or While Impaired By Liquor Causing Serious Injury
• Operating While Intoxicated
• Operating While Intoxicated or While Impaired Causing Death
• ORV – Allowed Person Under Influence Alcohol/Controlled Substance To Operate
• ORV – Combined Operated Under Influence Liquor/Controlled Substance
• ORV – Combined Operated Under Influence Liquor/Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content
• ORV – Operated Under Influence of Controlled Substance
• ORV – Operated Under the Influence of Liquor
• ORV – OUIL/OUID/OWI Causing Death
• ORV – OUIL/OUID/OWI Causing Serious Impairment of A Body Function
• ORV – Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content (.10)
• Reckless Driving Causing Death
• Reckless Driving Causing Serious Impairment of a Body Function
• Snowmobile – Felony/Snowmobile Used
• Snowmobile – Operating Under the Influence of Controlled Substance Causing Death
• Snowmobile – Operating Under the Influence of Controlled Substance Causing Serious Impairment of A Body Function
• Snowmobile – OUIL Causing Death
• Snowmobile – OUIL Causing Serious Impairment of A Body Function
• Unlawful Driving Away Auto
Assessed $500 per year for two years
• Child Endangerment
• Combined OWI and Controlled Substance
• Drove Commercial Motor Vehicle While Disqualified
• Drove While License Suspended/Revoked/Denied (DWLS)
• DWLS Causing Death
• DWLS Causing Serious Injury
• No Insurance Under The Insurance Code
• Operated While Impaired By Controlled Substance
• Operating While Impaired By Liquor
• Operating With Presence of Drugs (OWPD)
• Person Under 21 With BAC
• Reckless Driving
Assessed $200 per year for two years for convictions with incident date between May 1, 2004 and October 1, 2012. *
• No Proof of Insurance (3100)
• No Insurance (3106)
Assessed $150 per year for two years for convictions with incident date between October 1, 2003 and October 1, 2012
• Drove w/o Proper License/Endorsement/Vehicle Group Designator (3020)
• Drove While License Expired (3220)
• Drove While Unlicensed or License Not Valid (3010)

Every driver who can avoid points or get a traffic offense reduced or dismissed should think of it as a good investment. Fighting every traffic ticket can mean avoiding points and saving thousands of dollars in Driver Responsibility Fees. When a ticket is serious or criminal, such as drunk driving or reckless driving, merely getting the charge reduced saves $1,000.00 in Driver Responsibility Fees. Keeping points or certain offenses off of a driving record can also keep insurance premiums under control.

Traffic related links:

Fail to stop within an assured clear distance/due care and caution

Reckless Driving in Michigan

Why it Pays to Fight Every Traffic Ticket

Michigan Secretary of State Point System

Michigan Driver Responsibility Fee Program

Links to Macomb County District Courts, Fines, Costs, Points:

37th District Court (Warren, Centerline) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

38th District Court (Eastpointe) Traffic Fines Instructions

39-A District Court (Roseville) Link to Website

39-B District (Fraser) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

40th District Court (St. Clair Shores) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

41-B District Court (Clinton Township, Mount Clemens, Harrison Township) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

41-A District Court (Sterling Heights) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

41-A District Court (Shelby, Macomb Township, Utica) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

42-1 District Court (Romeo, Washington Township, Richmond, Bruce, Ray) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

42-2 District Court (New Baltimore, Chesterfield Township, Lenox, New Haven) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule