WLNS 6 News

State Legislature passes bills to help Michigan drivers avoid hefty fines, jail time, and suspended licenses

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Today the Michigan Senate passes a package of bills from the House that will help Michigan drivers.

Tom Boyd is the State Court Administrator for Michigan and says these bills are focusing in on improving public safety. “If we’re doing something in the criminal justice system that isn’t designed to enhance public safety, we need to rethink that process and procedure and that’s what these bills represent, is a dramatic rethink and adjustment to focus on public safety,” Boyd said.

These bills also allow for more people to avoid getting their license suspended. “in 2018, 358-thousand drivers licenses were suspended for things like failure to appear in court, or failure to pay a court fine or fee or some other violation unrelated to safe driving, these bills eliminate most of those expansions,” Boyd said. That doesn’t apply to those with driving records such as DUIs and reckless driving.

“Failing to endorse or deliver a certification of a title to a transferee, operating a motorcycle without an endorsement, first defense, allowing an unlicensed minor to operate a motor vehicle,” Boyd added,”they’re things that ought to be against the law, but we can achieve our goal without putting people in jail.”

If you’re heading to court for a misdemeanor, the judge also won’t be bound to the minimum sentence when he or she determines the punishment.

“These are misdemeanors and the minimums are often five days or fourteen days so eliminating those and letting the judge determine what the appropriate sentence is,” Boyd said.

These bills stem from recommendations made by the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration on ways to be smarter with jails. Boyd adds that the bill package passed today was one of three. The other two involve things such as making arrests, citations, bail, and emphasizing the importance of innocent until proven guilty.