The laws governing your speed in Michigan can be somewhat severe, but are overall fair when it comes to ensuring everyone’s safety on the roads. Like the systems put in place by other states, your fate when caught speeding is determined largely by Michigan’s point system within moving violations.
“But what does it take to get my license suspended?” you may ask.
As you’ll see, there are only two ways:
- by accumulating too many points on your record over too short a time span, or
- by committing a driving-related crime more serious than simply speeding.
The Michigan Point System
The best mode of preparation to distance yourself from these sorts of speeding penalties, no matter where you are, is to first establish a firm understanding of speed limit rulings, as they can differ from state to state. Bottom line: As a first-time speeding offender, you cannot be fined more than $100, and you cannot have your license suspended for more than one year.
In Michigan, highway limits can range anywhere from 55 to 75 mph, depending on the type of road — just use your damn eyes and pay attention! (The hike to 75 was only narrowly approved by the legislature this past June, so don’t get too excited. You’ll want to use plenty of caution while coasting at that speed.) The limit pretty much everywhere else — namely, business and residential districts, plus connecting lengths of country highway not more than a mile in length — is 25 mph.
When it comes to point accumulation, it’s worth worrying if you think you might be nearing 12 points on your record within a 2-year period. Hitting that mark will put you at high risk of having your license suspended (for no longer than one year.) So what sorts of penalties might you be facing? Here is how it’s broken down in the lovely Great Lakes State:
- Exceeding the posted limit by less than 10 mph: 2 points
- Exceeding by 10-15 mph: 3 points
- Exceeding by 15 mph or more: 4 points
- Failure to stop at a railroad crossing: 3 points
- Drag racing: 4 points
- Careless driving, or driving imprudently but unintentionally so: 3 points
- Reckless driving, or driving imprudently and intentionally: 6 points
It’s worth noting that talking yourself out of a minor moving violation in the state of Michigan can actually count! Part of the state’s laws regarding speeding include a clause on speeding “with an explanation”. As the name suggests, if you’re caught speeding in a 55+ zone, a good reason can result in one less point within the ordinary penalty of your speeding threshold. Hey, every little bit counts.
Luckily, any and all points tacked onto your license automatically expire two years following the date of your conviction. Those hoping to expedite this process can do so (with certain types of charges) by enrolling in Michigan’s Basic Driver Improvement Course — or BDIC — which you can take online for just $35.
Careless vs. Reckless Driving
As any reasonable human might suspect, intentionality matters completely when it comes to driving dangerously or at considerable speeds over the legal limit — especially if an accident takes place. In the state of Michigan, whether your actions are deemed “careless” or “reckless” driving can significantly impact the consequences you face.
As stated above, a careless driving conviction automatically carries a 3-point penalty, and is understood not as the driver’s willful disregard for the law but for his or her simple negligence on the road. In the event that you’ve been caught speeding, there is a chance that you’re in the wrong on some other accord falling under the careless driving umbrella — like failing to signal, following too close, or changing lanes improperly. Be careful about pleading guilty to any of these secondary charges; it’s advised that you first speak with an attorney, since accepting additional charges could result in license suspension or even revocation. You may be able to work out a reasonable and believable explanation for your actions.
Reckless driving is defined as operating your vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for other people or property. It is punishable by much more severe fines and the like; it can in fact merit jail time for up to 93 days as well as a $500 fine. If you’re speeding and swerving, and are involved in an accident, the prosecution is much more likely to pin you with a reckless driving charge — so, again, hire an attorney and explore your defensive options.
Finding Experienced Legal Representation
If you are thinking of hiring a lawyer, BernieSez is one of the easiest ways to find someone to represent you. You can simply upload some information about your case with a picture of your ticket, and Ohio lawyers that practice in the county that you received your ticket in will contact you with info and their quotes. You’ll then be able to choose a lawyer with the profile and price that are the best fit for you. Uploading your case is free and does not require any commitment.