What's The Diff?

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Licensed to Expire

By Ed Moffett


When I moved to California in 1996, I admit it; I let my Michigan license expire. Eventually I was pulled over for speeding and ticketed. That day, I went to the DMV in Cali, and began the process of applying for a California license. The following week I showed up in court with my new license, paid my $110 fine, and put the stressful situation behind me. Or so I thought…

When I moved back to Michigan in 2006, I did it again; and of course, I
was eventually pulled over and ticketed. Incidentally, the officer’s
reason for stopping me was, "causing a break." He decided to let me go
on the "causing a break" offense, when he discovered and ticketed me
for my expired license.

Anyway, that day, I went to the Secretary of State office to begin the process of applying for a Michigan license, but was quickly denied as apparently in Michigan, one needs to forfeit one’s previous state’s I.D. in order to be eligible for a new license in the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, in Michigan, when you’re ticketed for driving on an expired license, the cop TAKES YOUR LICENSE! This creates a bit of a catch-22.

The following week I showed up in court, and pled my case to the judge, who, after fining me $110, ordered her clerk to return to me my expired California license. I paid my fine, took my license, went back to the Secretary of State office and again began the process of applying for a Michigan license. I was approved, and relieved as I thought I had just put an extremely stressful situation behind me. I was wrong.

About a week ago, I received a letter from the lovely Mrs. Jennifer Granholm, informing me that I owe an additional $150 due to the newly enacted "Driver Responsibility Act," which states (for unfounded reasons) that certain offenses—such as driving with an expired license—are, for lack of a better term, "re-fined" $150. What’s worse is the fact that the $150 fine is the first of two! That’s correct! There will be an additional $150 fine in approximately one year.

So, in grand total, my "responsibility," for driving on an expired license, amounts to $410!!! That is a LOT of responsibility! I would venture to say that for many, it could be TOO much responsibility, and it begs the question, why is there a mass exodus of businesses and people from Michigan? It’s just baffling.

For more information on this RIDICULOUS act, please go to Google, Yahoo, or—if you’re feeling risky—MSN and look up "Michigan Driver Responsibility Act." There are a lot of angry people.

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  1. My advice to you is to never move again. Obviously you can’t figure out how to keep a driver’s license valid when you move, as the same thing happened in California and Michigan. The $410 is a bit ridiculous, but so is a person letting their license expire TWICE????

    Posted by: Sylvester | January 31, 2007
  2. It may be a bit of a stretch to say that fining irresponsible drivers is causing people to leave the state.
    What is that saying again – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Or in this case, a $15 (or whatever) license fee could have saved you nearly $400.

    Posted by: Mrs. Granholm | January 31, 2007
  3. Ed,
    From what I am reading, it sounds like you knew you were breaking the law, and then got annoyed when finally caught. I think the true lesson learned here should be *NEVER BREAK THE LAW*
    I believe you should pay the fine, and then donate another “fine” to a charity because you chose to knowingly break the law TWICE!!!
    That would be the true DIFF; instead of looking for other people to feel sorry for you because you thought you could escape capture.

    Posted by: Adam Lewinski | January 31, 2007
  4. I too have been hit by this so-called driver responsibility fee before. Not only was I heated that it was assessed in the first place, but I was even more upset that it reared it’s ugly head a year later after I had completely (probably purposefully) forgotten about it. I feel your pain!

    Posted by: Cora Bledsoe | February 2, 2007
  5. You are right, this is wrong. There should be no punishment for beraking the law. Think of the money we could save if we did away with the jail system….

    Posted by: Gail M. | February 2, 2007
  6. Eddie Eddie Eddie. I have just fallen out of my chair from laughing so hard! You could have saved yourself $395 with one trip to the secretary of state when you moved you nut!
    The whole thing sounds like it would make a terrific country song!

    Posted by: Kate | March 19, 2007
  7. new law will increase driving restrictions

    Posted by: DE for teenagers | May 14, 2009

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Sunday, March 18, 2018