As we begin the new year, there are several interesting new laws that will hit the books in Michigan for 2015. Here is a brief overview of just a few of the new laws that may impact you.
Still Owe Driver Responsibility Fees?
In 2012, a state law repealed driver responsibility fees for certain offenses – having no proof of car insurance or driving without a valid license, for example. Unfortunately, many drivers still owe the $150 to $200 in annual fines previously levied on them for 2 straight years by the State. The solution? Effective January 1st, those eligible will have a 1 year window in which to have these outstanding fees waived by completing 10 hours of community service. There is no need to inquire if you qualify for this waiver as the State intends to mail letters to all eligible motorists. This law is tied into an earlier measure that will phase out all driver responsibility fees over a four (4) year period beginning this October.
Thinking About Expungement?
The expungement laws in Michigan are expanding once again. The new law expands the opportunity to some people convicted of a single felony and no more than two misdemeanors. Individuals can petition the court for expungement five years after finishing probation or parole.
Certain crimes remain ineligible for expungement including those punishable by life in prison, most sexual offenses, some instances of domestic violence, stalking, causing death by explosives, and certain traffic offenses, such as drunk driving.
The law expands to prevent expungement for second-degree child abuse, human trafficking, terrorism offenses, other sexual crimes and domestic violence felonies for offenders with prior domestic violence misdemeanor convictions.
Motorcycle Full Endorsement Required
Savvy motorcyclists will be saddened to learn that they will no longer be able to take advantage of a puzzling loophole in state laws which allowed them to buy a temporary 180-day permit every riding season without taking a safety or skills test needed for a full endorsement. This "seasonal permit" allowed motorcyclists to ride during the day and without a passenger as long as they were supervised by a licensed motorcycle operator. This loophole is being closed – a move that is heartily supported by American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) which says 58 percent of riders killed in motorcycle crashes in 2012 weren't fully licensed.
Better Rape Evidence
Did you know that more than 11,000 untested rape evidence kits were discovered, backlogged, in a Detroit Police storage facility in 2009? The Sexual Assault Kit Tracking and Reporting Commission has now been formed whose members – including the state attorney general and state police director – can now develop statewide guidelines to track the status of rape evidence kits. This will firmly allow rape evidence to be better organized, tracked and utilized. When a sexual assault is now reported to a health worker within the last 120 hours, or five days, the employee will have to immediately inform her of the availability of a rape evidence kit. The prior notification requirement was only 24 hours.
These are just a few of the new laws being launched for 2015. As always, if you have any further questions regarding the above, or require any other type of legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time for an absolutely free and completely confidential consultation.
Have a Healthy and Happy New Year!