Police To Relax Minor Traffic Violations During Pandemic

Wayne and Oakland Counties are two of Michigan’s most populous counties. They are also two of the hardest hit counties when it comes to infections of COVID-19. The Wayne County Jail has already reduced population due to the outbreak of the virus. The jail population has been reduced by over 400 inmates since early March. As of March 10, the Wayne County Jail population was almost 1,400 inmates. Now the current jail population at Wayne County is approximately 950 inmates. Two members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office have died so far due to COVID-19. Due to these numbers, the police have looked to relax enforcement on the more minor traffic offenses like speeding or even expired plates. The police department realizes that people are unable to go to government offices and are generally locked in anyways due to the governor’s shelter in place order. Traffic stops also increase the risk of infection for police as they can come into close contact with people who may be carriers of COVID-19.

Police Departments Hit By Pandemic

In Ingham County, MI the Lansing Police Chief has sent a memo to his officers entitled “Coronavirus Exposure Mitigation.” In this memo he details how the Lansing police is to not respond in person to any reports of fraud, larceny or malicious destruction of property of less than $1,000. Any of these cases are to be handled over the phone in taking reports and talking to witnesses etc. The memo also covered breaking and entering cases of vacant homes and buildings. These and other measures are meant to try to limit the potential exposure of police as so many people in various government jobs have been infected during this pandemic.

In Southfield, the police department is only dispatching officers to specific cases that require immediate attention. This includes things like violent case and emergencies. Cases that involve theft, fraud or other offenses that are non-violent and not emergencies are typically being investigated over the phone. This approach is seen consistently across many police departments across the state of Michigan during this pandemic. Police departments are even asking the people calling 911 whether anyone there is showing any symptoms of COVID-19 like coughing or fever. Police officers in Southfield are outfitted with protective gear in case they are likely to come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.

In the City of Detroit, the Detroit Police Chief has relaxed the arrest posture on most misdemeanor charges. Assaultive misdemeanors including Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree, which is a misdemeanor will still be treated with the same arrest posture as before the COVID-19 pandemic. Most other misdemeanors, while they will still be charged, are unlikely to result in an arrest unless there is some safety-related issue that would make an arrest more necessary.

Minor Offenses More Likely To Let Go

• Speeding – Police in Wayne and Oakland Counties have stated they officers will likely look the other way if they see you speeding as long as you are not behaving in a dangerous manner, putting other people at risk.
• Expired Plates- The Michigan Secretary of State offices are all currently closed. Because of this, it is impossible to get your plates, license, and other related business renewed and up to date.
• General Traffic- Police across Wayne and Oakland counties have been told to use their discretion in most citation matters. This means that officers will likely not be as vigilant in writing tickets.

Any Further Questions?

If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to traffic violations, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.

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