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Motor Vehicle Crimes

Everything you need to know when facing a motor vehicle charge, and how we attack the issue head on to either vindicate you or mitigate your sentencing

What Are the Different Motor Vehicle Charges in Michigan?

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused was the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident;
  2. The accused knew or had reason to know that he or she had been involved in an accident on a public road or any property open to travel by the public; and 
  3. The accident resulted in either;
    1. serious impairment of a body function or death;
    2. personal injury to any individual; or
    3. damage to a vehicle driven or attended by another.
  4. The accused failed to immediately stop his or her motor vehicle at the scene of the accident in order to render assistance and give information required by law, or to immediately report the accident to the nearest OR most convenient police agency or officer if there was a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene would result in further harm.

Special Considerations

  • The requirement that the driver “immediately stop” means that the driver must stop and park the car as soon as practicable and reasonable under the circumstances and without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

Penalty

  • Accident results in Death: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
  • Accident results in serious impairment of a body function or death: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both. 
  • Accident results in injury to any individual: misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both. 
  • Accident results in damage to a vehicle operated by or attended by any individual: misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than $100, or both.

And

  • Minimum 1-year license revocation for leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury or death
  • 90-day hard suspension for failure to stop and disclose identity at the scene of an accident resulting in injury. 

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused drove a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Special Considerations

  • “Willful or wanton disregard” means more than simple carelessness but does not require proof of an intent to cause harm. It means knowingly disregarding the possible risks to the safety of people or property.

Penalty 

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days, a fine of not more than $500, or both.

Also

  • First offense: 90-day hard suspension of license
  • Second offense (in 7 years): minimum 1-year license revocation

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused drove a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
  2. The accused’s operation of the vehicle caused the victim’s death or serious impairment of a body function.

Special Considerations

  • “Willful or wanton disregard” means more than simple carelessness but does not require proof of an intent to cause harm. It means knowingly disregarding the possible risks to the safety of people or property.
  • To “cause” the victim’s death, the defendant’s operation of the vehicle must have been a factual cause of the death, that is, but for the defendant’s operation of the vehicle the death would not have occurred.
  • The reckless driving (i.e., the willful and wanton disregard of life and property) must be the cause of the death or injury. The defendant must have knowingly driven in a manner that would endanger life or property. Driving that is negligent will not sustain a charge of recklessness. 

Penalty 

  • For those causing death: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of $2,500–$10,000, or both; permissive vehicle forfeiture; mandatory vehicle immobilization for no more than 180 days, if no forfeiture.
  • For those causing serious impairment of a body function: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, a fine of $1,000–$5,000, or both; permissive vehicle forfeiture; mandatory vehicle immobilization for no more than 180 days, if no forfeiture.

And

Minimum 1-year license revocation.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused committed a moving violation; and 
  2. The violation was the cause of the death or serious bodily injury.

Special Considerations

  • The violation must be the cause of the death or injury. In other words, but for the violation, the death or injury would not have occurred.

Penalty 

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.

And

One-year hard license suspension.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused was operating a motor vehicle on a highway or other place open to the general public;
  2. The accused’s operator’s license was suspended or revoked; and 
  3. That the Secretary of State gave notice of the suspension or revocation by first-class, United States Postal Service mail addressed to the accused at the address shown by the record of the Secretary of State at least five days before the date of the alleged offense.

Special Considerations

  • The prosecutor must prove that the Secretary of State notified defendant of the suspension pursuant to MCL 257.212. Even if the defendant acknowledges that his or her license is suspended, proof of notice is a necessary element to the crime of driving while license suspended.

Penalty 

  • First violation: misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days, a fine of not more than $500, or both.
  • Violation after a prior conviction: misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

And

First offense: mandatory like period of suspension, minimum 30 days

Unless the vehicle was stolen or used with the permission of a person who did not knowingly permit an unlicensed driver to operate the vehicle, the registration plates of the vehicle must be canceled by the Secretary of State on notification by a peace officer.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused was operating a motor vehicle on a highway or other place open to the general public;
  2. The accused’s operator’s license was suspended or revoked; and 
  3. The accused’s operation of the vehicle caused the victim’s death.

Special Considerations

  • A defendant licensed in another state may not drive in Michigan if his or her license is currently suspended or revoked by the state of Michigan.

Penalty 

  • For serious impairment: 5 years in prison, a fine of $1,000–$5,000, or both; permissive vehicle forfeiture; mandatory vehicle immobilization up to 180 days, if no forfeiture
  • For death: 15 years in prison, a fine of $2,500–$10,000, or both; permissive vehicle forfeiture; mandatory vehicle immobilization up to 180 days, if no forfeiture.

And

License revocation—first offense: 1-year minimum revocation; second offense (in 7 years): 5-year minimum revocation.

What will we do as your Defense Attorney?

These are very serious charges that require an aggressive defense in which all of the facts of the case are thoroughly reviewed. We listen carefully to what our clients tell us in order to both put together a strong defense and mitigate sentencing. We do this in several ways.

First, we never take for granted that the police report is an accurate representation of the incident in question. These reports are usually very biased towards convicting the accused, and are therefore often filled with inconsistencies. We use our client’s testimony, research, private investigators, and crime scene visits to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and ultimately, prove your innocence or argue that the facts are so that a lenient sentence is appropriate. We always visit the scene of the crime. It’s the only way to learn details showing that the police investigation was flawed or that the prosecution’s eyewitness could not have seen what he or she claims.

Many police departments have their own accident reconstruction specialists who have been trained to take proper measurements and run the calculations to determine who was at fault. The calculations are often based on assumptions that may or may not be true. Bias can also factor into conclusions. To battle this, we will hire an accident reconstruction specialist to show that the defendant was not at fault.

If the accused is between the ages of 17 and 24 they may be eligible to qualify for a sentence under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA). This Act allows the client to plead guilty, but have the offense dismissed by the court if he or she satisfies the terms set by the court. HYTA does not apply to any felony where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment (such as First Degree Arson). With that said, we always try to plea down to a non–life offense such as simple Second Degree Arson, so that HYTA is available. 

Convincing the prosecutor to reduce the charge  should always be on the table.  Mitigating factors that we look out for are things like the state of mind of the accused and prior driving record. In other words the punishment must fit the crime or we will not stand for it. 

Schedule a free consultation!

No retainer necessary! Just tell me what’s on your mind and we can plan the next steps for your success!

Why work with us?

  • Tenacious representation for an AFFORDABLE PRICE!
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  • Educated on Modern Issues & Laws!

Email: kerrylawpllc@gmail.com

Tel: (734) 263-1193

Address: 214 S. Main St. Ste 200
                 Ann Arbor MI, 48104
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