What is a Careless Driving Violation in Michigan?

In Michigan, careless driving is a civil infraction ticket that generally carries fines and court costs of around $200.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
drivers can be issued a careless driving ticket if they are caught driving in a negligent manner but without intent to cause anyone injury. Examples include driving too fast for the road conditions and texting while driving. 
Careless driving is considered less severe than reckless driving, which can be described as driving with willful disregard for other people and property. However, a careless driving violation can still result in fines, points on your license, and increases to your
car insurance

What is considered careless driving in Michigan? 

While most U.S. states have laws against reckless driving, only a few issue careless driving violations—and Michigan is one of them.
Michigan law
defines careless driving as driving in a negligent manner, but without intent to cause injury to anyone. Careless behavior may include everything from failing to use your turn signal or driving too fast for the road conditions to using your cell phone while behind the wheel.
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Careless driving vs. reckless driving in Michigan

Careless driving is not as severe as
reckless driving in Michigan
, and the key difference is whether or not the driver has a willful disregard for other people’s safety. 
The Careless Driving Statute in Michigan Law is defined under MCL 257.626b, and is considered a civil infraction that can result in fines and three points on your
Michigan driving record
According to section 257.626 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that could result in a 93-day jail sentence and much heftier fines.

Careless driving vs. DUI in Michigan 

According to
Michigan’s DUI laws
, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense. Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on if any damage was caused, and/or if you have any prior convictions. In short, DUIs are far more severe than careless driving tickets.
Key takeaway In Michigan, reckless driving and DUI charges are both criminal offenses. They are more serious than a careless driving charge which is a civil violation.

Penalties for careless driving in Michigan 

There are two primary penalties for careless driving in Michigan. First, if you are found guilty, you will owe the ticket fine and court fees, totaling around $200. Second, you can expect three points to be added to your Michigan driving record. 
Keep in mind that you can have a Michigan traffic lawyer go to court on your behalf if you’d prefer. Having the ticket reduced is likely in your best interest, as a poor driving record will usually result in
car insurance rate increases

Can you lose your license for careless driving in Michigan?

In Michigan, accumulating 12 or more points on your driving record will result in
license suspension
. These points can come from absolutely anything, and it’s absolutely possible to accumulate them all from careless driving tickets. 
Additionally, if you continue to drive before you get your
suspended license reinstated
, you risk more serious consequences like criminal charges, heftier fines, and jail time.
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Like most convictions, a careless driving violation will stay on your driving record for seven years.
No—careless driving in Michigan is not considered a criminal offense. Instead, it’s classified as a civil infraction.
According to section 257.626 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that could result in a 93-day jail sentence and a fine of up to $500.
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