In the previous series of articles, we have examined Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) cases (both DWLS 1st Offense, and DWLS 2nd and Subsequent Offense) and noted that the subject of this series, Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) is a more serious offense.
In Representing Clients with DWLR charges in the Courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, I have learned that, beyond the actual Law, there is another, real-world dimension to how these cases are viewed and handled.
This article will be broken into 2 Parts, and will deal specifically with Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) 1st Offense. The next articles in this series will deal with DWLR 2nd and Subsequent Offenses.
I point out that DWLR is a more serious Offense than DWLS, but the fact of the matter is that both DWLS and DWLR, and both 1st and 2nd (or Subsequent) Offenses for each are both violations of the very same Law, and are both subject to the exact same penalties. So why is it that I call DWLR more serious than DWLS?
This is what I meant about there being another real-world dimension to these cases beyond the actual, written Law. While it is possible for a person to pick up a DWLS case as the result of a DUI, there is only a very limited scope within which that can happen, and either involves a Breathalyzer Refusal or a 1st Offense DUI (actually and technically, an OWI) wherein a person’s License has been suspended for 6 months, and where they were granted a Restricted License for the last 5 months of that period, after they served a mandatory 30 day “hard suspension,” meaning no driving privileges whatsoever.
That means that the only DUI matters that can cause a person’s License to be Suspended are either Suspensions for Breath-Test Refusal, or a 1st Offense OWI where there was no reduction of the charge to an “Impaired” driving.”
However, the number of cases involving Revoked Licenses (DWLR) due to DUI convictions is way higher than the number of DWLS cases attributable to a DUI. That’s because unlike the narrow time frame when a person can have a License Suspended because of a DUI, any combination of 2 DUI-related convictions within 7 years will cause a person’s License to be Revoked for LIFE, unless and until they are approved, after a Hearing before the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD). Such a Driver can’t even apply for this Hearing until at least 1 year has passed.
Any combination of 3 DUI-related convictions within 10 years will likewise result in a Revocation of the person’s License for life, and in these cases, the person isn’t even eligible to apply for a DAAD Hearing until at least 5 years have passed.
While it’s beyond the scope of this article, I have written volumes of articles about License Restoration. The key thing to note here is that Revocations can never be undone by some kind of “Reinstatement.” By it’s very nature, a Revocation is a permanent situation, and can only be reversed after a License Appeal to the DAAD, which in turn can only happen after a person has served the minimum period of that Revocation (almost always 1 year, or 5 years). Thus, a Revocation is “undone” by a License Restoration.
This has been a rather long-winded way of saying that most Revoked Licenses are the result of multiple DUI’s. Thus, most (but not necessarily all) DWLR cases can trace the reason for the License being Revoked in the first place to multiple DUI’s within either 7 or 10 years.
In the preceding series about DWLS, I noted that all people charged with Suspended or Revoked License Offenses fall into 1 of 2 categories:
1. Those whose License is Suspended or Revoked due to DUI’s, and
2. Everybody else.
As the discussion above should make clear, only a small minority of DWLS cases can trace the reason for the Suspension to a DUI, whereas a large majority of DWLR cases can trace the reason for the Revocation to a DUI or DUI’s.
As was also pointed out in the earlier series of articles, it’s just a plain fact that anyone who has to face a Judge for a Suspended or Revoked License charge, and who originally lost the License because of a DUI, is in much worse shape than someone who lost the License for any other reason. To flip it around, a person who lost his or her License for any reason other than a DUI is in much better shape than someone who lost the License due to a DUI conviction or convictions.
This means that, statistically speaking, anyone who has been charged with DWLR is way more likely than not to have at least several DUI’s on their Record.
This alone should clarify why I call DWLR charges “more serious” than DWLS charges.
1st Offense DWLR cases aren’t quite as bad as 2nd (or Subsequent) Offense cases. This isn’t to say that things are good, but just like DWLS cases, the more prior convictions a person has for the Offense, the closer they come to getting locked up. It’s just that, because most DWLR Defendants have a number of prior DUI’s, almost anyone facing this charge is already in “hot water.”
In Part 2 of this article, we’ll examine in more detail why that’s the case, and how that can complicate a person’s ability or plans to eventually get back on the road.