Late in February, the Secretary of State’s office advised me that I had to renew my license in person this year. Dreading a visit to the Secretary of State’s office, I decided to wait until closer to my birthday at the end of March. Unfortunately, the following events have kept that visit from happening:
- March 10 – A state of emergency is declared in Michigan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- March 13 – The Secretary of State (“SOS”) announced that in-person visits were restricted to critical services only, with no in-person license renewals.
- March 23 — Executive Order 2020-21 (“Stay Home, Stay Safe”) was signed, preventing an in-person visit before my birthday.
- March 24 – Online, I made an appointment at my local SOS office for April 27th.
- April 9 — Governor Whitmer extended Stay Home, Stay Safe through April 30th with Executive Order 2020-42 and, within hours, SOS notified me by email that my appointment was cancelled.
If you’re in a similar position, don’t worry. On April 13, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-EO-47 which temporarily extends the validity of certain driver’s licenses, state ID cards and vehicle registrations. To the extent you can, you should complete your license renewal and vehicle registration at the Secretary of State’s website. For State ID cards, operator’s licenses, and chauffeur’s licenses that expire between February 1 and May 31, 2020, you have until June 30, 2020 to renew.
Medical certification requirements are temporarily suspended for Group A, Group B, and Group C designations until June 20, 2020, but you should carry a paper copy of an otherwise-valid medical certificate showing an expiration on or after March 1st. If a commercial vehicle has an otherwise-valid vehicle registration that expired on or after Mach 1st, operator and chauffeur license holders with Group A, Group B, or Group C may operate the vehicle as though it had a valid vehicle registration until June 30, 2020.
Until June 30, 2020, law enforcement will not arrest any person or impound any vehicle as a result of a vehicle registration, operator’s license, or chauffer’s license that expired on or after February 1, 2020. Late fees for having such expired documentation will not be assessed so long as renewals occur by June 30, 2020. This Executive Order is no panacea; nothing in EO 2020-47 prevents the Secretary of State from suspending or revoking an operator’s or chauffeur’s license, commercial learner’s permit, vehicle designations, or endorsements or an operator’s or chauffeur’s license pursuant to the Michigan Vehicle Code. Further, this relief does not apply to individuals who had their driving privileges suspended or revoked for traffic offenses or who, since their last medical certificate was issued, have been diagnosed with a medical condition that would disqualify them from operating a commercial vehicle, or who have developed a condition that requires an exemption or Skill Performance Evaluation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Until I can renew my license, I’m tempted to carry a copy of EO-2020-47 in my car; however, my current, expired license is probably all I need. Meanwhile, I’ve got my new SOS appointment all set and hope to have my renewed license in June. To avoid delays, it is advisable to make an appointment at the Secretary of State’s website to update your license, registration and other documentation in advance of June 30, 2020.
We have created a response team to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and the law and guidance that follows, so we will continue to post any new developments. You can view our COVID-19 Response Page and additional resources by following the link here. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.
Chair of Fraser Trebilcock’s Trusts and Estates Department and serving as Secretary/Treasurer of the firm, attorney Marlaine C. Teahan is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and is the past Chair of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. For help with your estate planning needs, contact Marlaine at 517-377-0869 or email@example.com.