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The beginning of a new year can be looked at as a brand-new start for so many of us. In a way, it can offer forgiveness for a year’s worth of mistakes and missteps, and it can allow us to move on.

And make no mistake – country artist Michael Ray is ready to move on.

Country music fans will recall that earlier this month, Michael was arrested for driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana oil, according to an arrest report filed in his home state of Florida. Reports say that Michael, best known for his hit song “Kiss You in the Morning,” crashed into the car in front of him at a McDonald’s drive-thru.

RELATED: One of country’s rising stars is arrested on multiple charges

“Everybody makes mistakes,” Erin Haynes, 27, the driver of the car Michael hit, told a Florida newspaper.

“I want to apologize to my fans, family and my hometown community for placing myself in this situation,” Michael said in a statement after he was released from the Lake County Jail on a $6,000 bond. “I am so very sorry for the disappointment these events have caused everyone. I know it will take time; however, I will do everything I can to rebuild your trust.”

On Dec. 27, Michael headed to his social media channels to thank fans for their support throughout the entire year, but especially in the days following his arrest.

RELATED: Country star issues a statement following his hometown arrest

“Wow! This got me emotional while reading [every one] of these notes from you all,” tweeted Michael, referring to a collection of fan sentiments encouraging him with a slew of kind words. “I can’t thank you enough for the sweet words and this journey we are on together! I LOVE every single one of you! Thanks for an amazing ’17. Can’t wait for next year!”

The sentiments from Michael’s hardcore fans are enough to get anyone emotional. “You are in my thoughts and prayers,” one fan wrote. “I want you to know that I will always love and support you through it all.”

Another fan wrote, “We loved you first because of your amazing talent, but then began to know you as a person and realized that your heart and passion for making the world a better place makes you more than just a talented singer. I am praying for you and your family today and always.”

It’s these sentiments that not only make one realize the importance of the country music family, but also understand the importance of forgiveness and new beginnings.

We pray that Michael finds comfort in the love that awaits him in the year ahead.

Michael Ray has a message for his fans following arrest Getty Images/Rick Diamond
Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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