Michigan – Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) – Things Happen in 3’s

I handle a lot of Driver’s License Matters, from Suspended and Revoked License Cases (DWLS/DWLR) to Full Restorations. I have probably seen most every scenario or circumstance under the sun as it relates to Suspended License Charges. In a recent article about Possession of Marijuana, I noted that, for all the differences amongst cases, and despite the fact that every case is unique, there are certain “patterns” that one begins to see after a while.

This article will focus on a pattern that often comes with a DWLS charge: They often come in groups. The title of this article provides some insight, because it does seem like bad things tend to happen in 3’s. It’s not uncommon for me to get a call from someone who has recently picked up not 1, but 2 (or even more) DWLS charges in a row. Often, their License was suspended for an unpaid Ticket or Tickets, or because they owe Driver Responsibility Fees to the State. It seems, then, like the first bit of bad luck, usually a Ticket, results in 2 more Driving Offenses, all making a sort of “Trifecta” or “Hat Trick” of misery.

fork2.jpgMore often than not, the person calling me has either 2 upcoming Court dates, or is waiting to be notified about one or the other. Sometimes, however, the person may have failed to take care of one or both matters, and be faced with 2 outstanding Bench Warrants for failure to show up. One way or another, there comes a point when there are 2 (or more) pending Court dates, putting one case in front of the other.

The order of those cases can make a huge difference in how they’re worked out. It is generally a good idea to wrap up the case in the more “lenient” Court first. It’s harder to get a really good break in your second Court date if you’re record has already taken a hit in the first. Whether those Court dates arrive in the better order, or not, is about a 50-50 split.

That does not mean that things are in any way dependent upon the initial order of these Court dates; it means that if they don’t get put in the “proper” or better order in the first place, the Defense Lawyer needs to either re-arrange them, or work it out somehow so that the cases are resolved in the best way possible. This, of course, translates to working it out to spare the client any, or as much negative Legal and License impact as possible. Here’s what I mean:

One of the goals, in any DWLS case, is to avoid the whole DWLS thing. That may sound funny, but a conviction for DWLS involves an additional License Suspension, called an “Additional Mandatory,” and the imposition of Driver Responsibility Fees, plus Points on the Driver’s Record.

The target, if you will, is for the Defense Lawyer to get the DWLS charge reduced to what’s called a “No-Ops,” which means “No Valid Operator’s License on Person.” It is an offense which carries no Points, no “Mandatory Additional Suspension” and no Driver Responsibility Fees.” It is the deal of the century, if it can be worked out.

In most instances, dealing with 2 (or even more) of these cases presents a challenge, but a very manageable one, for an experienced Lawyer. Sometimes the location of one or both cases can be a problem. Some Courts are just more “understanding” than others.

In my experience, Macomb County Courts amongst the best to deal with in these types of cases. There are a few Oakland County Courts that are wonderful, as well, and a few that would be at the bottom of your list if you had a choice. Wayne County Courts generally mirror Macomb, in most cases, with a few on the Western side of the County being more conservative than their more Eastern counterparts.

Whatever the location, as the saying goes, “it is what it is.” You cannot go back in time and undo what has been done. You just have to do your best and take care of business. Perhaps the single worst choice a person can make is to just not take care of these matters. In most cases, as we have noted, this whole nightmare began because something was not taken care of. At this point, things get worse (and considerably more expensive) if they are not resolved, once and for all.

Again, I have the same old advice to anyone checking around for a Lawyer: Look for a Lawyer who is experienced in this kind of matter, and who knows the Court(s) where your case, or cases are pending. Search the net and read what any particular Lawyer has written on this subject. Call around, and look for someone who is the best fit for you. That may mean a different Lawyer is better for you than for the next person. It should never mean hiring someone because they’re the “low bidder,” nor should it mean thinking a really high Fee is related to quality of service, or results. Just like anything else, it’s a matter of being a smart consumer.