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Understanding Michigan’s license point system

| Jul 5, 2021 | Criminal Law

As a driver in Michigan, you need to understand the license point system and how traffic citations could affect your license. Some of the traffic infractions that may occur are actually civil offenses, while others will be treated as criminal offenses.

When you commit a violation, then there will be fines and court costs. Additionally, points are added to your license depending on the specific violation that occurred. Those points are only added to your license once you’re convicted of the offense. If you’re convicted of too many offenses and have too many points, you’ll lose your license. This is why it’s a good idea to defend yourself against the accusations.

How are points assessed for traffic convictions?

The way points are assessed vary. For example, these are the traffic points for the following offenses:

  • Fleeing a police officer: Six points
  • Having a bodily alcohol content of .08% or greater: Six points
  • Manslaughter/negligent homicide with a motor vehicle: Six points
  • Drag racing: Four points
  • Having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle: Two points
  • Refusing a breath test while under 21: Two points
  • Careless driving: Three points
  • Failing to stop for a school bus: Three points

These aren’t all the offenses that could occur, but these are some of the more common ones.

How long do points stay on your license?

Points stay on your license for two years from the date of the conviction.

Can you end up in prison for some offenses?

The points system doesn’t directly result in prison time, but the offense you commit could. For example, someone involved in a vehicle-related manslaughter case could face criminal and civil penalties including jailing, imprisonment, heavy fines and paying restitution.

Can you lose your license if you get too many points?

Yes. If you have 12 license points or more, you may have your license suspended, revoked or restricted, depending on the circumstances.

It’s smart to defend yourself against traffic citations. Even though they sometimes seem minor, the points add up, cost you extra money on insurance policies and may even threaten your license if you get too many.