While simple speeding may only get you a ticket, some traffic offenses are more serious. Offenses that go beyond the typical speeding ticket range from misdemeanors to serious felonies.You can be pulled over and given a criminal citation for some traffic offenses like reckless driving & hit and run. If you are charged with driving on a suspended license, you may be arrested, or have be required to have someone else drive your car home.
If you are charged with a criminal traffic offense in Michigan, you need an experienced criminal defense law firm to protect your rights and your driver’s license. Many criminal traffic charges in Michigan can result in a suspended license, or worse.
Please call for a consultation on your traffic case today.
Reckless Driving – Laws and Penalties
In Michigan, reckless driving is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in prison and a fine of up to $500.
Reckless driving is defined by the Michigan statute as driving on highway, road, or other place open to the general public (including parking lots) in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
The reckless driving statutes are very vague, and open to interpretation. Police officers will often charge you with reckless driving
Ref: Michigan Reckless Driving Laws (MCL 257.626)
Careless Driving – Laws and Penalties
Careless driving is an offense considered to be a civil infraction and is punishable only by a fine of typically up to $100.
Careless driving is defined as driving on a road, frozen body of water, or other place open to the general public (including parking lots) in a careless or negligent manner that is likely to endanger any person or property.
Ref: Michigan Careless Driving Laws (MCL 257.626b)
What is the difference between “careless” and “reckless” driving?
Under Michigan law, careless driving can be committed with the driver not intending to cause harm. For example, if you were speeding and unintentionally ran a red light, you did not intend to hurt anyone but could have put people and property at risk for harm.
On the other hand, reckless driving is viewed as intentional. When you are driving in a manner to cause harm, you have committed reckless driving. Tailgating and weaving through traffic at high rates of speed can be considered reckless driving because the driver is aware of the risks of his driving.
Road Rage Laws
There is no “road rage” law in Michigan. However, the Michigan State Police are enforcing aggressive driving and taking the issue very seriously.
Because Michigan does not currently have a statute on the books for road rage, the state uses the preceding statutes to enforce aggressive driving. Road rage is a serious issue in these times and the Michigan Court system recognizes it as a problem not to be handled lightly.
For this reason, if you are charged with one of the above violations and know that it was due to what would be considered road rage, the judge will issue a harsh punishment to deter you and future potential offenders.
Recently, in order to crack down on road rage, the State Police set up a website encouraging drivers to report incidences of road rage.
Felony Operation of a Vehicle – Laws and Penalties
Felony operation of a vehicle is a more serious charge than reckless driving.
If you are charged with felony driving the prosecution will need to prove that you were driving in a way that is careless and with “wanton and willful disregard”, ignoring the safety of others. Also, that this driving was in a way that could cause a serious injury to another person. This offense is charges in cases where the prosecution or police believe that your driving behavior went beyond negligence, but was deliberately reckless and risky to others.
If you are convicted of felony operation of a vehicle, you face up to 2 years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.
This can also be overcharged by the police of district attorney. We will work to get this reduced to reckless or careless driving. These subjective charges can be difficult to prove, and we will do everything possible to prevent a felony criminal conviction.
Ref: Michigan Felony Operation of a Vehicle Laws (MCL 257.626c)
Free Case Evaluation on Michigan Criminal Traffic Offenses
If you are charged in Michigan with Reckless driving, careless driving, or felony vehicle charges, or any other criminal driving offenses, please contact us to find out what we can do to help. We will fight for you to reduce the charges, and keep you on the road.
Our firm is very experienced at criminal driving and traffic law, and licensing rules through the Michigan SOS. We can help you fight for your license, and work to keep these life changing penalties to a minimum.