iStock_000005775675SmallMichigan’s Driver Responsibility Fees are assessed to a person convicted of drunk driving, fleeing and eluding, negligent vehicular homicide, failing to stop and identify at an accident, driving while license suspended or for obtaining seven or more points. The fee can be as high as $1,000 for two consecutive years. This fee has been criticized heavily since it was instituted in 2003 as an unfair way to generate money for the state. It was also seen as a way to penalize people who have already been penalized in court. Judges, prosecutors and litigants have been adamantly opposed to the fees since their inception. Failure to pay the fees results in a suspended license which tends to penalize drivers with less disposable income.

To address the constant complaint over these fees the Michigan Legislature has created a new law to allow drivers to pay their driver responsibility fees with community service. Effective December 31, 2014 by applying to the Michigan Department of Treasury an individual can complete 10 hours of community service in alternative to paying a driver responsibility fee or any portion of that fee.

Community service means engaging in a useful and productive activity without compensation for a person other than a family member, including, but not limited to, an entity organized under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, 26 USC 501, and community service offered through the Michigan community service commission.

Driver Responsibility Fees are set to be phased out of existence beginning in 2015 and ending on October 1, 2019.