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Law Office of Joseph Awad, P.C.
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Law Office of Joseph Awad, P.C.
Joseph Awad
703 South Pleasant, Suite 2
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Phone: 800-KICK DUI Alt. Phone: (800) 542-5384


Michigan Traffic Laws

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Under Michigan DUI OUIL DWI Traffic law, some traffic violations are civil infractions while others are misdemeanors or felonies.  Depending on the violation and how it is resolved, you may be fined, referred to a special program or, in the most serious situations, sent to jail. In most cases, if you do not take care of a traffic ticket, your driver license will be suspended.

Each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, you will have to pay certain court fines and costs. In addition, points may be posted to your driver record. Under Michigan’s point system, each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code. Points are placed on your driver record only after you have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction. Points placed on your driver record remain there for two years from the date of conviction. If you believe there are extenuating circumstances for the ticket you received, these must be submitted when you appear in court. The Secretary of State cannot set aside a court conviction or the points for it. The following shows the points for some traffic violations:

Points For Some Traffic Convictions

(Reprinted with Permission from Michigan Secretary of State)

Six Points:

  • Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or other felony involving use of a motor vehicle.
  • Operating under the influence of liquor or drugs.
  • Failing to stop and give identification at the scene of a crash.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Unlawful bodily alcohol content of 0.10 or more.
  • Refusal to take a chemical test.
  • Fleeing or eluding a police officer.

Four Points:

  • Drag racing.
  • Impaired driving.
  • Under age 21 with any bodily alcohol content.
  • 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.
  • Failure to yield/show due caution for emergency vehicles.

Three Points:

  • Careless driving.
  • Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing.
  • 11 through 15 mph over the legal speed limit.
  • Failure to stop at railroad crossing.
  • Failure to stop for a school bus or for disobeying a school crossing guard.

Two Points:

  • 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit.
  • Open alcohol container in vehicle.
  • All other moving violations of traffic laws.
  • Refusal of Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) by anyone under age 21.

*Please note that snowmobile and off-road vehicle (ORV) alcohol-conviction points are placed on a driver record and may result in licensing action against your driving privileges even though the violation happened while operating a snowmobile or ORV.

Michigan Traffic Laws

General Reference: Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated, Reprinted with permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Basis for a Speed Law Violation
Basic Speed Rule: A person shall operate a vehicle at a careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition then existing. §257.627(1)
Statutory Speed Limit: 70 MPH on parts of freeways under a special speed study §257.628(5)
See Other below. 65 MPH, except as noted above, on freeways §257.628(5)
55 MPH on other highways §257.628(1)
25 MPH (prima facie unlawful speed) in business or residence districts, in public parks or in school zones
(1) §§257.627(2) & 257.627a(2)
Posted (Maximum) Speed Limit: I. Based on engineering and traffic investigations, State and local governments may establish maximum speed limits on highways under their jurisdiction. §258.628(1) Note: Michigan law does not specifically state whether different highway speed limits may be established either for different types of vehicles, for various weather conditions or for different times of the day.
II. Local authorities may increase or decrease the 25 MPH speed limit in a school zone.1 §§257.627a(4) & 257.606(1)(k)
III. Local authorities may increase the prima facie speed limits within their jurisdictions. However, a prima facie speed limit outside either a business or residential district shall not be <25 MPH. A prima facie speed limit of not <15 MPH may be established for publicly owned parks or playgrounds. §257.629(1) & (4)
IV. A municipal government may establish speed limits on the properties of any board of education, school district or community college district located within its jurisdiction. §257.961
V. When a state of emergency exists, the governor may reduce the speed limit on any street, highway or freeway via executive order. §257.629b

Minimum Speed Limit:

I. See the Basic Speed Rule above.
II. The minimum speed limit on freeways is 45 MPH. §257.628(5)

Posted (Minimum) Speed Limit:

Based on engineering and traffic investigations, State and local governments establish minimum speed limits on highways under their jurisdictions. §258.628(1)
Other: I. A person operating a passenger vehicle which is towing another vehicle shall not drive >55 MPH.(2) §257.627(5)
II. A person operating a truck weighing 10,000 lbs. shall not drive >55 MPH.
(3) §257.627(6)
III. A person shall not operate a school bus >50 MPH (>55 MPH on a limited access highway or freeway). §§257.627(7), 257.627b & 257.1861
IV. Unless a special speed limit has been established, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle in a designated work area >45 MPH. §257.627(9)
V. A person shall not exceed the maximum safe posted speed limit which has been established for a bridge, causeway or viaduct. §257.631(1)
VI. In the Lower Peninsula, towed mobile homes >14-1/3 feet wide are prohibit from traveling either >45 MPH or <10 MPH below the speed limit whichever is lower. §257.719b(d)
VII. It is prima facie unlawful to operate a vehicle >15 MPH in a mobile park home. §257.627(4)
VIII. Certain combinations of vehicles shall not be operated a speed >15 MPH.
(4) §257.719(4)(a)
Adjudication of Speed Law Violations: Civil/Criminal Adjudication of Violation: Except as Noted, Speed Law Violations are Civil Infractions. §257.627(10)
Other: The following are Misdemeanor Offenses: (1) Exceeding the speed limit in a school zone or (2) driving a school bus in excess of 55 MPH limit on a limit on limited access highway or freeway. §§257.627a, 257.627b and 257.901
Sanctions Following an Adjudication of a Speed Law Violation
Criminal Sanctions
Imprisonment:  
Term (Day, Month, Years, Etc.): Civil Infraction-N/A
Misdemeanor-Not more than 90 days §257.901
Mandatory Minimum Term: None
Fine:  
Amount ($ Range): Civil Infraction-Only a fine is imposed for a Civil Infraction. The actual fine that is to be imposed on an offender is determined by a scheduled established by each district or municipal court. However, if a civil infraction violation is accompanied by a responsible or reasonable explanation, the fine is not more than $100. §§257.907(2) & 600.8827
Misdemeanor-Not more than $100 §257.901
Mandatory Min. Fine ($): Civil Infraction: A mandatory fine is imposed for speeding related to exceeding the maximum speed limit on a highway or freeway.(5) Note: Mandatory minimum fines could be established by the courts via the fine schedule.
Other Penalties
Traffic School: A person may be required to attend a traffic education program. §257.907(5)
Other: Licensing Action:
Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev): Suspension via a Point System(6) §§257.320(1)(d) & (2) and 257.320a
Term of License Withdrawal (Days, Months, Years, etc.): Not more than 1 year §257.320(4)
Mandatory Minimum Term of Withdrawal: None
Miscellaneous Sanctions Not Included Elsewhere: Important. A person, who commits a moving violation (e.g. speeding violation), in a construction or school zone is subject to a fine that is double that otherwise prescribed by law. §257.601b
Other Criminal Actions Related to Speeding
Drag Racing on Highway(7): Misdemeanor §§257.626a & 257.901(1)
Sanctions:  
Criminal Sanction:  
Imprisonment (Term): Not more than 90 days §257.901(2)
Mandatory Minimum Term: None
Fine ($ Range): Not more than $100 §257.901(2)
Mandatory Minimum Fine: None
Administrative Licensing Action:  
Licensing Authorized and Type of Action: Suspension via the Point System6 §§257.257(1)(d) & 257.320a(1)
Length of Term of Licensing Withdrawal: Not more than 1 year §257.320(4)
Mandatory Action--Minimum Length of License Withdrawal: None
Other:  
Careless or Negligent Driving(8): Civil Infraction §§257.626b & 257.907
Sanction:  
Criminal:  
Imprisonment (Term): None
Mandatory Minimum Term of Imprisonment:
Fine ($ Range): Only a fine is imposed for a Civil Infraction. The actual fine that is to be imposed on an offender is determined by a scheduled established by each district or municipal court. However, if a civil infraction violation is accompanied by a responsible or reasonable explanation, the fine is not more than $100. §§257.907(2) & 600.8827
Mandatory Minimum Fine: Note: A mandatory minimum fine could be established by the courts.
Administrative Licensing Actions:  
ype of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev): Suspension via the Point System (6) §§257.257(1)(d) & 257.320a(1)
Length of Term of License Withdrawal Action: Not more than 1 year §257.320 (4)
Mandatory Term of License Withdrawal Action: None
Other:  
Reckless Driving: Misdemeanor §§257.626(a) & 257.901(1)
Sanction:  
Criminal:  
Imprisonment (Term): Not more than 90 days §257.626(b)
Mandatory Minimum Term of Imprisonment: None
Fine ($ Range): Not more than $100 §257.626(b)
Mandatory Minimum Fine: None
Administrative Licensing Actions:  
Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev): Revocation §257.319(1)(d) Also, Suspension via the Point System6 §§257.257(1)(d) & 257.320a(1)
Length of Term of License Withdrawal Action: Revocation-90 days to 2 years §257.319(1) Suspension-Not more than 1 year §257.320(4)
Mandatory Term of License Withdrawal Action: Revocation-90 days §257.319(1) The minimum suspension period appears to be mandatory. Suspension-None
Other
Felonious Driving(9): Felony §752.191
Sanction:  
Criminal:  
Imprisonment (Term): Not more than 2 years §752.191
Mandatory Minimum Term of Imprisonment: None
Fine ($ Range): Not more than $1,000 §752.191
Mandatory Minimum Fine: None
Administrative Licensing Actions
Type of Licensing Action (Susp/Rev): Suspension §752.192 Also, Suspension via the Point System6 §§257.257(1)(d) & 257.320a(1)
Length of Term of License Withdrawal Action: I. The court recommends that the licensing agency suspended an offender's license. The recommendation is included as part of the sentence. §752.192
II. Suspension via the Point System-Not more than 1 year §257.320(4)
Mandatory Term of License Withdrawal Action: I. The court does not have to make a recommendation that an offender's license be suspended. However, if it does, it appears that the suspension period is mandatory. §752.192
II. Suspension via the Point System-None
Other
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Operators(10):  
Grounds for Suspension: A person's CDL is suspended if, while driving a CMV, they either (1) commit 2 "serious traffic violations"(11) within a 36 month period or (2) commit 3 such violations within a 36 months period. §257.319b(1)(a) & (b)
Period of Suspension: 2 serious violations (within 36 months)-60 days 3 serious violations (within 36 months)-120 days §257.319b(1)(a) & (b)
Period of Mandatory Suspension: 2 serious violations (within 36 months)-60 days 3 serious violations (within 36 months)-120 days §257.319b(1)(a) & (b)

1. The prima facie speed limit in a school zone is in force from 30 minutes before to 30 minutes after school is in session and during school lunch periods when students are allowed to leave the school. §257.627a(2)

If, in order to attend classes, school children must cross a state highway with a speed limit 35 MPH, the State Transportation Commission, at the request of school authorities and based upon traffic engineering studies, may reduce the speed limit at designated school crossing zones. §257.627a(5)

If the street in the school zone has a sidewalk on at least one side, the speed limit in the zone may be established at not less than 15 MPH below the regularly posted speed limit. In no situation shall the limit be established at <25 MPH. §257.627(a)(6)

2. This limit does not apply if (1) "vehicle or trailer has 2 wheels or less and does not exceed the combined weight of 750 pounds for the vehicle or trailer and load, or a trailer coach of not more than 26 feet in length with brakes on each wheel and attached to the passenger vehicle with an equalizing or stabilizing coupling unit." §257.627(5)

3. If reduced loading is being enforced on any highway, the maximum speed is 35 MPH. §257.627(6)

4. The combinations include the following: (1) A truck hauling more than 1 trailer or semitrailer; and, (2) a truck tractor hauling more than 2 semitrailers or 1 semitrailer and a trailer. However, this reduced speed does not apply (1) to farm tractor hauling 2 wagons, (2) to garbage or refuse hauling up to 4 trailers (with a combined length of not >55 feet). §257.719(4)(a)

5. The following mandatory fines apply to persons who exceed the speed limit on highways or freeways with a maximum speed limit 55 MPH and where the offender has responded "with explanation" to a civil infraction: 1 to 5 MPH over the limit-$10; 6 to 10 MPH over the limit-$20; 11 to 15 MPH over the limit-$30; 16 to 25 MPH over the limit-$40; and, 26 MPH over the limit-$50. §257.629c

6. Point System. I. A persons's license is subject to suspension if they accumulate 12 points within a 2 year period. §257.320(1)(d) II. The following points are assigned for speeding and speed related violations: Felony resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle-6 points; reckless driving-6 points; drag racing-4 points; exceeding the speed by >15 MPH-4 points; careless driving-3 points; exceeding the speed by >10 MPH but 15 MPH-3 points; exceeding the speed limit by 10 MPH-2 points; and, all other speed related moving violation-2 points. §257.320a(a), (e), (f), (i), (j) & (k) (After 10/1/99, see §257.320a(a), (d), (e), (i), (j) & (n).) III. However, the following points are assessed for exceeding the speed limit on highways where the speed limit is 55 MPH if the offender has responded "with an explanation" to a civil infraction: 1 to 5 MPH over the limit-0 points; 6 to 10 MPH over the limit-1 point; 11 to 15 MPH over the limit-2 points; 16 to 25 MPH over the limit-3 points; and, 26 MPH over the limit-4 points. §257.629c

7. The offense of "drag racing" on a highway is defined as operating a motor vehicle either (1) in a speed or acceleration contest, (2) for the purpose of making a record, or (3) where 2 or more vehicles accelerate in an attempt to out-distance each other. §257.626a

8. This offense is defined as the operation of a vehicle in a careless or negligent manner which is likely to endanger any person or property but where such action was without wantonness or recklessness. §257.626b

9. Felonious driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle "carelessly and heedlessly in wilful and wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property and thereby injuring so as to cripple any person, but not causing death." §752.191

10. A person who has obtained a commercial driver's license (CDL) and is qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A commercial motor vehicle is defined as a vehicle designed to carry either passengers or property and either has a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 lbs., is designed to transport 16 or more persons, or is transporting hazardous materials which requires that the vehicle to be placarded in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. §480.11a(1)(c)

11. A "serious traffic violation" includes exceeding the speed limit by 15 or more MPH or careless driving. §257.319b(2)(b) & (b) (After 10/1/99, a "serious traffic offense" means careless driving or excessive speeding as defined under Federal Regulations. These regulations define a "serious traffic offense" to include exceeding the posted speed limit by 15 MPH or more (49 CFR 383.5). §257.319b(3)(b))

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