Driving With a Suspended/Revoked License (DWLS)

A suspended license can affect your life both personally and professionally – but driving with a suspended or revoked license only makes matters worse. Not only do you lose your license, but you face harsher consequences including jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and other probationary terms. In most cases, the penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license are worse than the punishment for the license suspension itself.

Often times, drivers will be convicted of some offense that statutorily requires that their license be suspended, but their attorney may not make them aware of this until they learn the hard way – getting pulled over with the suspended license. I believe knowledge is power, and the better you educate yourself on Michigan’s driving laws, the better position you will be in to fight your case. It is critical to retain an attorney like me who understands the intricacies of driving laws and license suspension and can preserve your rights to achieve the best possible outcome.

ZAYID LAW has proven results and aggressively defends clients in Macomb County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, and Wayne County.


Michigan law treats driving with a suspended license (DWLS) and driving with a revoked license (DWLR) the same, meaning they include the same burden of proof in order to convict you. There are primary two elements in the statute (MCL 257.904) that must proven:

  1. Your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked; AND
  2. You were operating a motor vehicle on a public highway or other place open to the general public including roadways and parking lots.


Driving with a suspended license is not a petty traffic offense – it carries serious penalties that can have lasting effects on your driving record and, in some cases, your criminal record.

FIRST OFFENSE: Misdemeanor

  • Up to 93 days incarceration
  • Up to $500 in fines
  • Two points
  • Cancellation of vehicle registration plate


  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Two points
  • Cancellation of vehicle registration plates
  • Potential license plate confiscation and vehicle immobilization consequences


  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Between $1,000 and $5,000 in fines
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture


  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Between $2,500 and $10,000 in fines
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture

Suspension vs. Revocation: What is the Difference?

The distinction between DWLS and DWLR may be confusing because they are included under the same statute in Michigan. However, the difference between a revoked license and suspended license is clear – a revoked license is permanent, whereas a suspended license is temporary. License revocation is more serious, and it is usually limited to persons who have been convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses. License suspension occurs in many situations, such as having 12 points on your license.

License suspension is temporary in that when the suspension period is over, your license will automatically renew when you pay your driver license reinstatement fee. However, when your license is revoked, it will not be automatically reinstated. You will have to reapply to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight to have your driver’s license restored.

ZAYID LAW understands the key considerations that distinguish DWLR and DWLS and can help you navigate the law to achieve the best outcome for your case. It is critical to call me today to discuss how we can defend against your DWLR or DWLS charge.

ZAYID LAW’S Defense Strategy: Driving Was a “Necessity”

Michigan law recognizes that in some situations, you have no choice but to drive – even with a suspended/revoked license. ZAYID LAW utilizes what is considered the “necessity” or “emergency” defense against DWLR and DWLS charges to argue that the person was in an emergency or had a necessity to drive. This defense is codified in Michigan law under MCL 257.904(15), which states the following:

This section does not apply to a person who operates a vehicle solely for the purpose of protecting human life or property if the life or property is endangered and summoning prompt aid is essential. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 257.904 (West)

This defense is heavily dependent upon the facts and circumstances of your case, and it is critical to retain ZAYID LAW to identify the important facts that will meet the criteria of this defense to challenge the DWLR or DWLS charge. Call me today to discuss whether this defense is applicable to your case.

Driver’s License Restoration

The easiest way to avoid a driving with a suspended license charge is to simply have a valid driver’s license. If you’ve been convicted of a crime that has resulted in the suspension of your license, ZAYID LAW has extensive experience assisting individuals to reinstate their driver’s license to avoid driving with a suspended license. If you are concerned about the status of your driver’s license, call me today for a free consultation.