Michigan to Eliminate Driver Responsibility Fees

If you owe Michigan’s Department of Treasury driver responsibility fees (DRFs) you’re in luck. The Driver Responsibility Law, enacted October 1, 2003, has recently been amended to eliminate DRFs. On October 1, 2018, the state will no longer issue new DRFs or pursue fees that were owed.

DRFs are owed by drivers who accumulate seven or more points on their driving record (referred to as category one offenses) or are convicted of specific qualifying offenses (referred to as category two offenses).

Category one offenses

Examples of category one offenses include speeding, disobeying a stop sign, and improper lane use. Once you get seven points on your license you will be assessed a fee of $100. An additional $50 will be owed for every point on your license thereafter. For example, if you get seven points on your license you will owe $100. If you then get two more points on your license, bringing you to nine points, you will owe $200.

Category two offenses

Careless driving, felonious driving, and operating while impaired by a controlled substance are examples of category two offenses. Each offense has its own DRF which is owed for two consecutive years. Fees for category two offenses are: $150, $200, $500, and $1,000. The more serious the offense, the higher the fee will be. For example, operating while intoxicated has a fee of $1,000 while driving without insurance has a fee of $500. Points received for category two offenses are not counted toward the point total for category one.

Once DRFs are paid, you must pay a $125 reinstatement fee before getting your license back. From October 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 the license reinstatement fee will not be collected so take action on getting your license back as soon as possible to avoid the fee.

Consider addressing your fees now

If you don’t want to wait until October 1, 2018 to get your license back you should address your fees now. Your DRFs must be paid in full within 30 days of your notice or you must enter into a payment plan within 30 days. Your license will be suspended if you don’t take action. The Department of Treasury offers installment agreements and a workforce development training program to pay off fees if you can’t pay in full. You can call the Department of Treasury at 1-800-950-6227 to discuss payment plan options.

Installment Agreements

Installment agreements are allowed for payment of fees in two years or less to avoid the suspension of your license. You must apply for an agreement. If you default on a payment your license will be suspended.

Workforce Development Program

You are only eligible for this option if your DRFs are the result of the below offenses:

  • Allowed A Suspended/Revoked Person to Operate (1341)
  • Allowed A Suspended/Revoked Person to Operate Causing Serious Injury (1342)
  • Allowed A Suspended/Revoked Person to Operate Causing Death (1343)
  • Drove While Unlicensed or License Not Valid (3010)
  • Drove while License Suspended/Revoked/Denied (3011)
  • Drove w/o Proper License/Endorsement/Vehicle Group Designator (3020)
  • No proof of Insurance (3100)
  • No Insurance (3106)
  • No Insurance Under The Insurance Code (3108)
  • Drove While License Suspended/Revoked/Denied (DWLS) (3200)
  • Drove While License Expired (3220)
  • Drove Commercial Motor Vehicle While Disqualified (3230)
  • DWLS Causing Death (3235)
  • DWLS Causing Serious Injury (3245)
  • Immobilization – Violations (9130)

To take part in the program you must submit the form. You need to do the following within 45 days of submitting the form:

  • Visit a workforce development agency
  • Enroll in a qualifying program
  • Complete 10 hours of workforce development training
  • Submit the form once it’s approved to the Department of Treasury

You only have one chance to complete this program.

Why is Michigan eliminating fees?

The Driver Responsibility Fee Program was supposedly enacted to deter dangerous driving behavior but it’s more likely that it was seen as a way to generate money for the state’s budget. It has proven to be highly unpopular since it mostly affects the lower class who can’t afford to pay the DRFs on top of court fines and traffic citation fines. As a result of not paying DRFs a person’s driver license gets suspended which makes it difficult to get to work. People have lost their jobs as a result. State Representative Leslie Love, D-Detroit said it best, “The fees are punitive and they perpetuate the cycle of poverty.”