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The End is in Sight for Michigan Driver Responsibility Fees

Sep 29 | 2014  by

In Michigan, many drivers feel the weight of driver responsibility fees on their shoulders. The State of Michigan issues these fees to drivers who are guilty of certain traffic misdemeanors. In addition to any fines and costs assessed in the district court, the authorities will assess these fees. In 2003, when the state was in dire financial straits, they created these fees to generate cash flow.

The unique aspect of the fees lies in the significant amount that is assessed. For instance, individuals guilty of driving on a suspended license need to pay $1,000 in fees within a two-year period. Similarly, the authorities will assess a total fee of $2,000 to a person convicted of operating while intoxicated. Other common offenses that have fees include reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and various drunk/drugged driving offenses.

The problem with these driver responsibility fees is that they are so large they often send the state’s poorest people in a downward financial spiral that, for many, is nearly impossible to escape from. Critics have labeled the fees as a “tax on the state’s most impoverished individuals.”

House Bill 5414, introduced by Representative Joe Haveman, aims to phase out the fees. The plan aims to eliminate fees by 2018. Gov. Rick Snyder will sign the bill after it passes the House and Senate.

The question remains, however, what will replace the nearly $100 million in annual revenue generated from the fees?

If you would like to know more about Michigan’s driver responsibility fees, or have other questions, contact the legal experts at Fausone & Grysko, PLC. Our team of lawyers consists of current and former prosecutors knowledgeable in both civil and criminal law. You can reach Matthew Worley at  248-380-0000 or online at www.fb-firm.com.