The Michigan Point System
A three-point play in basketball is a good thing, but those same three points on your driver license put you 25% of the way toward having to face a possible driver assessment reexamination test―and are pretty sure to drive up your insurance rates.
Traffic violations in Michigan are generally scored on a points system. Like demerits at school, the worse the infraction, the more points you pick up.
When you’re convicted of a traffic violation, you’ll be responsible for paying fines and, in some cases, court fees. Depending on the infraction, you also may have anywhere from two to six points posted to your driving record.
And those points are about as tough to shake as your shadow on a sunny day. The bottom line? If you get ’em, you’ve got ’em―for two years from the date of your conviction.
You may be eligible for the one time chance to have points deleted from your driving record by completing a state-approved Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDIC). Before enrolling, confirm eligibility with the SOS.
Points for Some Traffic Convictions
The below is just a sampling of common offenses and the points associated with them. For a complete list, refer to the Michigan Vehicle Code.
• 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 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.
• Refusal to take a chemical test.
• Fleeing or eluding a police officer.
• Drag racing.
• Operating while visibly impaired.
• Under age 21 with any measurable blood alcohol content.
• 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.
• Failure to yield or show due caution for emergency vehicles.
• Careless driving.
• Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing.
• 11-15 mph over the legal speed limit.
• Failure to stop at railroad crossing.
• Failure to stop for a school bus, or disobeying a school crossing guard.
• 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.
You Can Find Points in Unlikely Places
Not only do you pick up points for violations while driving your car, truck, or motorcycle, but you can even break into the box score while scooting around on your snowmobile or quad. Yep, the tickets you pick up on your off-road recreational vehicle―specifically, alcohol-related ones―show up on your driving record. So you could lose you license while using your ORV up at your cabin.
Check Your Driver’s License Status
Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver’s license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what’s on record at the SOS. This report will also show points against your license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.
Driver Assessment Reexamination
“Reexamination” really makes the whole process sound like you have a chance―you know, study hard, don’t guess; that kind of exam. In fact, it really is more like an IRS tax audit, and about as nerve-racking.
You can be tapped for a reexamination for a number of reasons, including:
• You have received tickets while on probation.
• The Secretary of State has reason to believe that you cannot drive safely due to a mental or physical condition.
• You have been involved in a fatal crash.
• You have been involved in three or more traffic crashes within a two-year period where the crash report indicates you were at fault.
• You have accumulated 12 or more points within a two-year period.
• You have been convicted of violating the restrictions, terms, or conditions of your license.
Obviously, if you are called for a reexamination, you probably have earned it. After all, they don’t call people with spotless driving records in for a chat.
If you are scheduled for a driver assessment reexamination, you will receive a notice telling you when and where to appear. There are a number of assessment offices throughout the state.
Your reexamination could include vision and knowledge tests as well as an on-road performance test. You may also be required to provide a medical or vision statement for review. You’ll also have an opportunity to talk with the examiner and to explain your side of the story.
You may walk away without any changes to your driving privilege. Or, you may have your license suspended, restricted, or revoked. A license can be suspended for anything from a day to several months. Revocations mean you’ll have to wait one to five years to reapply for a new license. License restrictions are the least severe of the consequences, and may simply mean that you can’t drive at night.
If your license is restricted, suspended, or revoked, you will be given your appeal rights and licensing reinstatement information.
It should come as no real surprise that many reexaminations are of new drivers, especially younger drivers.
In Michigan, first-time licensees are placed on probation for a minimum of three years. To get off probation, you have to be accident- and ticket-free for the last 10 months of your probationary period.
The Secretary of State’s probationary program gets even tougher if you have a history of unsafe driving during your probation. You’ll be ordered to a driver assessment reexamination if, for example, you continue to receive tickets during your probation.