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I'm on SSI, very low income and owe a drivers responsibility fee with no chance to pay it.. any other options?

Trenton, MI |

It was my first and only serious offence. I took a plea to ' driving while visibly impaired ' do to alcohol. It has been 8 years and I still can't afford the fee. I'm 30 now and I can't pay my bills, take care of my 10 year old daughter and pay the drivers responsibility fee so I have no choice but to put the fee off not to mention its costing me $80 a month in gas to pay friends to drive me to get my daughter from her mothers house. I am half crippled and can't make any extra cash on the side. A family member is giving me an old car if I can get my license back. I know this wouldn't matter but the reason I got pulled over is because I was driving too slow, nobody got hurt.. total cost is $1,600. I signed up for they payment plan, failed to make a payment....

now they won't let me sign up for the payment plan again and said it must be paid in full the get it back. I'm desperate and this has ruined my life. If I can find a lawyer that would file chapter 7 bankruptcy for a few hundred, would that cover the drivers responsibility fee?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. SSI can usually be free of garnishment for almost all matters. Not being from Michigan, I have never dealt with the "drivers responsibility fee" issue.

    I was able to find website from a licensed Michigan attorney that addressed that situation.

    Russell Law Firm PC (located in Grand Rapids) states that the fee is dischargable as follows:

    "Fortunately, Michigan driver’s responsibility fees are generally dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as well as Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    Criminal penalties are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, Michigan driver’s responsibility fees are not “criminal penalties.” They are administrative fines levied by the Secretary of State’s office, not as a sentencing judgment or criminal statutory penalty by a criminal court conviction. Therefore, they should not fall under the “criminal penalty” non-dischargeability exception to the list of debts dischargeable under the US Bankruptcy Code as traffic tickets, parking tickets, and other fines may."

    Verify the information by contacting a bankruptcy attorney in your area. It looks like you may be on the right track..

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by attorney Clint Curtis as general information and not specific legal advice. Specific advice can only be provided after a complete analysis of all information related to the asker. No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of the information provided. If you have additional questions please contact the law office.

  2. I believe that the secretary of state will allow you to pay the driver
    responsibility fee with monthly payments. You can get your driver license
    back upon execution of the payment plan. My opinion is that those fees are
    not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    Patrick M. O'Reilly

    Attorney at Law

    12845 Farmington Rd.

    Livonia, Mi 48150

    ph: (248)-396-7590

    Fax: (248)-281-0951

    Confidential: This electronic message and all contents contain information
    from the law

    firm of Patrick M. O'Reilly, PLLC which may be privileged, confidential or

    protected from disclosure. If you have received this electronic message in
    error, please

    notify us immediately at (248) 396-7590, and destroy the original message
    and all copies.

  3. Short answer is yes, you can discharge the responsibility fee in a chapter 7. What I'm wondering is how/why you owe $1,600.00? The driver responsibility fee or an OUIL, what you said you plead to, is $500/year for 2 years, or $1,000.00 total, plus the $125 reinstatement fee. I checked the SOS website, and since April of this year, there seems to be an ability for you so reapply for an installment payment agreement. Check this link

    There it says that you can be reinstated 3 times per assessment, meaning that you have two more shots to try an installment agreement. It could be worth a shot to call again and talk to a different person, and mention the act referenced above in that link.

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