Under Michigan law, Driving While License is Suspended, or DWLS, is a misdemeanor charge, and could land you up to 93 days in jail on your first offense. A second offense can lead to one year in jail.
One of the most common defenses to driving on a suspended license charge is that the Secretary of State did not provide you with notice that your license was suspended. Under MCL 257.212, notice of the suspension must be given by personal service, or by first-class United States mail, sent to the address the Secretary of State has on record for that person.
The prosecutor has the burden on proof to show that proper notice was given. In the Michigan Court of Appeals case, People v. Patman, the court held that the prosecutor simply presenting a certified driving record was insufficient to prove notice of the suspended license. Instead, somebody from the Secretary of State must actually testify that proper notice was given.
In some situations, the defendant may plead a DWLS charge down to a Failure to Display a Valid Operator's License, or "No-Ops." A No-Ops plea avoids any points on the defendant’s driving record, and avoids any Driver Responsibility Fees. In this circumstance, the No-Ops is still considered a misdemeanor charge.