Driving While License Suspended in Michigan – Dealing With Multiple Cases

It seems that Driving While License Suspended cases have been steadily increasing, at least in the Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County area. Likewise, I have seen a noticeable jump in the number of multiple-offense cases amongst those who have to deal with this charge. In a previous blog article, I pointed out that I am often asked about “package deals” in multiple offense cases. Of course, I’m always willing to work with someone regarding Fees in a multiple offense situation
Most often, a person will have an older DWLS case in one city, and a newer one somewhere else. This can create a certain logistical problem, and part of my job as a Lawyer is work that out for the Client. Here’s what I mean:

GR.jpgOften, the Client will have a Warrant out in one or both cases. Let’s examine that situation. Say a person has 2 DWLS charges. The first is in Fraser (Which is heard in the Roseville Court), and the second is in Warren. For whatever reason, they want to take care of these now (as opposed to earlier…). They come and see me. I need to contact each City and see if there is, in fact, a Warrant out in either case, and, if so, if there is a cash Bond amount that can be posted to have that Warrant recalled.

Now, let’s say that person has a Warrant in both Fraser and Warren. If they were to walk into the Warren Court and try to take care of that Warrant, it would turn up that they also have a Fraser Warrant. Instead of leaving Warren on their own, they would be held for Fraser to come and pick them up on that Warrant.

This example is based on a real case I’m handling right now. My Client had a Warrant in both Fraser and Warren. I called the Courts in each city, and learned that Fraser had a $1000 cash Bond that could be posted. Warren, on the other hand, had a $2500, 10% Bond, meaning that $250 would be required to have the Warrant recalled and the matter set for a Court date.

Because most people don’t have loads of cash just sitting around, my Client and I decided that she’d have the $250 Bond posted in her name in Warren, and that we’d go to Fraser together where I would be able to present her for Arraignment on the outstanding Warrant and likely get her release on either a Personal (meaning no money), or a much smaller cash Bond.

Had she been pulled over or otherwise had any Police contact before these things were straightened out, she’d have been taken into Custody and likely transferred from one city to the next over the course of several days.

Given that most people can have a Probationary Sentence imposed in one of these cases, that Jail time would have been time wasted. For my Client, in may have cost her job, and would have been terribly upsetting.

The bigger point I’m trying to make here is that it requires a certain level of knowledge and experience to understand these things, and to know how to work them out. I’m not claiming this is rocket science, but there is a certain tangible benefit to having a Lawyer who understands this like the back of his or her hand making the inquiries and arrangements.

After these preliminary arrangements, then one gets on with the business of handling and resolving these cases. It is almost axiomatic that there are really 2 kinds of DWLS cases:

1. Those which arise from a Suspension imposed as the result of a DUI, and
2. Those which arise from anything else.

This means that anyone whose DWLS is traceable back to a DUI is in a worse positions than someone’s whose isn’t.

In all cases, the goal for me, as the Lawyer, is to try and avoid the whole Suspended License thing. If a deal can be worked out to a lesser charge, then the person will be spared any additional and further License Suspension, and the dreaded and expensive Driver Responsibility Fee.

Of course, I always plan on my Client walking out of Court with me. This means we both leave through the front door. In truth, relatively few DWLS cases result in an initial Jail Sentence, unless the person has a really bad prior Record. Still, that goal is always first and foremost in my mind.

Given the economic realities of Michigan’s economy, there seems to be little reason to think things will change anytime soon. Very often, the whole reason a person’s License was Suspended in the first place is because they couldn’t pay some prior Ticket. This sort of creates a vicious cycle of additional fines and costs and fees.

The only thing to be said is that these things will never go away, and will only get worse, and more expensive with time. Thus, doing what one must to take care of any outstanding Ticket or DWLS case earlier, rather than later, will ultimately save them both money and stress later on.