The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) states that under Michigan law, some traffic violations are civil infractions while others are misdemeanors or felonies. Depending on the violation and how it is resolved, you may be fined, referred to a special program or, in the most serious situations, sent to jail. In most cases, if you do not take care of a traffic ticket, your driver license will be suspended.
Each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, you will have to pay certain court fines and costs. In addition, points may be posted to your driver record. Under Michigan's point system, each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are placed on your driver record only after you have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction. Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction. The Secretary of State cannot set aside a court conviction or the points for it.
The Secretary of State's Office decides when to suspend or revoke a person's driver's license in Michigan through a process they call a Driver Assessment Reexamination. The Department of State may conduct a re-examination if there is reason to believe you are unable to operate a motor vehicle safely because of health reasons or for violating the restrictions on a driver's license, crash involvement, or an unsatisfactory driving record. If you are under probation or Graduated Driver Licensing, you may be required to attend a driver re-examination after only one or two violations. The Driver Assessment re-examination process determines your ability to safely operate a vehicle and if any licensing controls should be imposed. Licensing controls may include restrictions, suspensions, revocations, or a combination of these actions.
After you have accumulated 12 or more points within a two year period you can be required to go through the driver re-examination per Michigan law. Also if you have received tickets while on probation you may have to go through this process. All new Michigan drivers, regardless of age, are placed on probation for a minimum of three years if they have not been previously licensed. So if you are a new driver it is not points that make you have to go through the re-examination process by just receiving traffic tickets.
At the conclusion of your driver assessment reexamination, your license may be unaffected, or it may be restricted, suspended or revoked depending on a number of factors. License restrictions allow you to drive under certain terms and conditions that will be stated on your restricted license. A license suspension means that your driving privileges are taken away for a determined period of time, ranging from days to months. A license revocation means that you must wait one to five years before you are eligible to reapply for possible re-licensure. If your license is restricted, suspended, or revoked, you will be given your appeal rights and licensing reinstatement information.
So if you get a total of 12 or more points within a 2 year period in MI you may have your license suspended depending upon the results of your driver assessment reexamination. Also keep in mind that there are monetary penalties for accumulating too many points on your MI motor vehicle record (MVR).
Michigan has enacted a Driver Responsibility Law to deter potentially dangerous driving behavior. This Driver Responsibility Program calls for monetary sanctions for drivers who:
- Accumulate seven or more points on their driving record (Category 1 offenses)
- Are convicted of specific qualifying offenses (Category 2 offenses)
Category 1 offenses are for moving violations and include speeding, improper turns, and following too closely. The Driver Responsibility fee is based on the number of points on the driving records, with a minimum of seven points required before a fee is assessed. The fees begin at $100 and increase by $50 for each additional point above seven points.
Drivers assessed a fee under Category 1 will be assessed only once per year. Category 1 fees will not be assessed in any year in which the number of points on a driving record falls below seven.
Certain offenses are classified as "qualifying offenses" and carry their own Driver Responsibility fee independent from the number of points on the driving record. Drivers convicted of these qualifying Category 2 offenses will be assessed a Driver Responsibility fee of $150, $200, $500 or $1,000 for two consecutive years. The amount is determined by the relative seriousness of the offense. For example an operating while intoxicated (OWI) conviction comes with an assessment of $1,000 while driving with an expired license is only $150.
Failure to pay, or arrange to pay the Driver Responsibility fee will result in an indefinite suspension of a driver's license until full payment is made. Fee assessments apply to both licensed and unlicensed drivers. As with other suspensions, a reinstatement fee of $125 is required before the license is restored.
So while a driver re-examination is required after 12 points in 2 years in Michigan other penalties such as the driver responsibility fee can be assessed when you accumulate 7 or more points.