On October 1, 2021, new laws went into effect that change when your driver’s license can be suspended. Michigan will no longer suspend driver’s licenses for issues unrelated to driving safety, such as missed court appointments and unpaid fees. The new laws may affect your current driving record. In some cases, you may be able to have your license reinstated.
Which Driving Records are Affected?
The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) is mailing letters to everyone affected by the new laws. The law impacts drivers whose licenses were suspended for failing to comply with a judgment (FCJ), such as failing to pay a ticket, or failing to appear in court (FAC) for the following violations:
- Open Intoxicants in Vehicle
- Open Intoxicants in Vehicle (Passenger)
- Person Under 21 Transport/Possess in Vehicle
- Person Under 21 Transport/Possess in Vehicle (Passenger)
- MIP (Person Under 21 Purchase/Consume/Possess Liquor)
- Failure to Comply with Civil Infraction
- Person Under 21 Used Fraudulent ID to Purchase Liquor
- Sold/Furnished Alcoholic Liquor to a Person Under 21
- Felonious Driving
- Controlled Substance
- False Report or Threat of Bomb/Harmful Device (School)
- Failing to pay parking tickets
What Does It Mean If I Received an “Eligible” Letter?
If the MDOS sent you a letter saying you have an "eligible status," you can get your license back. The issues that caused the suspension will still appear on your driving record but they will not keep you from having a driver's license in Michigan. Even though the suspensions will be marked as cleared and are no longer in effect, they will still appear as entries on your driving record. You may need to take further action depending on whether your driver’s license is valid or expired.
Valid, Non-expired License
If your driver’s license is valid and has not expired, you do not need to do anything else. If you lost your license but it has not expired, you can order a copy online or at a self-assist station for a nine-dollar fee. To order a copy online you will need to log in or create an account on the Secretary of State website. To find a self-assist station closest to you, visit the SOS’s station locator.
If your driver’s license has been expired for less than four years, you can renew your license for $18 on the Secretary of State website by creating an account or in-person by scheduling an office visit.
If your license is expired, and it has been four or more years since you had a valid license, you will need to renew your license at your local SOS office. This costs $25. You can schedule an office visit to set up an appointment. You will need to go through the standard driver’s license application process again. To learn about the process, read Getting a Standard Michigan Driver’s License.
What Does It Mean If I Received an “Ineligible” Letter?
If the MDOS sent you a letter saying you have an "ineligible status," you are not eligible to have your license automatically restored under the new law. If you have any FCJ or FAC charges on your record they will no longer prevent you from driving. However, you may have other parts of your driving record that need to be addressed before you can restore your license. To learn more about how to reinstate your license, read Restoring Your Driver’s License.
What If I Did Not Receive a Letter but I Think I Qualify?
If you did not receive a letter in the mail from the SOS but believe you qualify under the new laws, you should visit the SOS’s MILogin webpage. If you are affected by the new laws, a digital letter will be posted on your account. If you do not have an account, you will need to create one on the MILogin webpage.
If you do not see a digital letter posted on your account but still believe you qualify, you can contact the SOS at 888-767-6424 or send an email.
License Suspension and Child Support
The new law impacts licenses that are suspended for a failure to pay child support. In the past, if you were two or more months late on your child support payments, the Friend of the Court may have contacted the Secretary of State to suspend your license. This would have appeared on your driving record as an “FCJ” or Failure to Comply with Judgment.
The new law will clear these charges from your record. Under the new law, if you are late or behind on paying child support payments, that is not enough on its own to suspend your license. From now on, your driver’s license can be suspended for failure to pay support only if a judge signs an order or judgment suspending your license.