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Driving While License Suspended or Revoked – a Return to Forever

Jeffrey Randa
Home Blog Criminal Cases Driving While License Suspended or Revoked – a Return to Forever

Because of the way things worked out, the “other place” Court date came before the one in the local Court. I dutifully appeared in Court and met with the Prosecutor for that County. He was a nice enough guy. He heard me out about my Client’s situation, and expressed his understanding. He agreed to reduce my Client’s charge from a 2nd to a 1st Offense (the maximum possible sentence for a 2nd Offense is up to 1 year in Jail, whereas for a 1st Offense, the maximum is no more than 93 days in Jail), but pointed out that he did so very reluctantly, because my client had so many prior convictions.

I politely, but proudly pointed out to the Prosecutor that it had been nearly 12 years since my Client was last convicted of DWLS/DWLR.

The Prosecutor then politely, but properly pointed out that unlike a 2nd offense DUI, which must occur within 7 years of the 1st in order to count as a prior, there was no such time limitation with DWLS/DWLR cases. While I knew this to be true, it has also been my experience (pretty much all of which has been local to the Detroit-area), that convictions this old are generally not counted against a person who has remained trouble-free for so long.

He then pointed out (and I later confirmed) that the Judge to which my Client’s case had been assigned is known as being VERY tough, especially on DWLS/DWLR cases that can trace back to a DUI Suspension or Revocation. He further told me that our Judge will often sentence people to the maximum Jail term allowed by the Law. In the local Courts, keeping the Client out of Jail in a case like this is usually not hard to do.

So I begged and argued and whined a while longer, and he told me the best thing he could do (that the Judge would likely follow) was to recommend a “cap” of 30 days in Jail as the maximum for my Client. This is where my jaw almost hit the ground.

While that doesn’t mean that my Client will necessarily go to Jail, in any local, Detroit-area Court I’d expect to at least get the Prosecutor to agree to a recommendation of “No Jail” or “No Objection to Probation Only.”

In an earlier Blog article, I noted how all DWLS/DWLR cases fall into 1 of 2 categories:

1. Those for whom the Suspension or Revocation is the result of a DUI, and
2. Those that aren’t.

We further learned that anyone who lost their License because of a DUI who and has been charged with a DWLS/DWLR can expect to be treated more severely than a person whose License Suspension is the result of an unpaid Traffic Ticket. And make no mistake about it, my Client fell into that 1st category.

That said, there does come a point (at least one would hope), when enough time has passed to allow any anger toward the Driver to subside, especially when he or she has otherwise remained out of trouble. I call this the “dog poop rule.” Even though I don’t have a dog, I know that if someone comes home, opens their front door, and sees Fido squatting in the middle of the living room, leaving a “deposit” on the carpet, he’s going to be in a LOT more trouble than if when moving furniture, the person discovers Fido had a little “accident” a long, long time ago.

The same thing usually applies in Court. At least it does locally.

In the “other place” Court, not only did they not care how long my Client had been trouble-free, they still held firm to the fact that this all started because he lost his License for multiple DUI’s. Sure, he got a break, and apparently a pretty good break by the local standards of that “other place.” In the Tri-County area, however, I would have expected that the charge could be reduced to No Operators License On Person (No Ops), at least in most Courts. And in pretty much every local, Detroit-area Court, while my Client would certainly not get a pat on the back and an “atta boy,” he definitely would have been treated less severely than he was in the “other place.”

I suppose there are several “morals” or conslusions to this story:

1. All Traffic Misdemeanors stay on your Record forever.

2. Any DWLS/DWLR conviction can be used as a “prior” offense, no matter how long ago it occurred.

3. If a DWLS/DWLR conviction is the consequence of a prior DUI, or multiple DUI’s,
things are worse than if the DWLS/DWLR are the result of anything else.

4. Because each of the Local (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne) County Jails is either
overcrowded, or nearly overcrowded, DWLS/DWLR cases are not given priority for
incarceration. Other Counties think differently, and have the available Jail space to
spare.

5. Don’t drive without a License. If you do, stay in the Detroit-area.