The Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Process
A Michigan drivers’ license can be taken away for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is drunk driving (OWI, OUI, DUI).
We understand that when you lose your license you also lose your freedom in many ways. Our experienced driver’s license lawyers are here to help you understand your drivers’ license restoration rights – and to assist you in getting your license, and your life, back as quickly as possible.
Driver’s License Restoration: Revoked vs. Suspended –
As a starting point, it is important to understand the difference between a “suspended” driver’s license and a “revoked” drivers’ license. Many people – even some lawyers, police officers and magistrates – casually use the term “suspended license” and “revoked license” to mean the same thing. But there is a very important difference.
If your driver’s license is suspended, a “specific time period” of suspension will be established. After this time period is over, you simply go to the Michigan Secretary of State, pay your fees and, and your suspended license will be reinstated. However, if your license has been revoked, you cannot get it back until you file – and win – a driver’s license restoration appeal hearing in front of the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) of the Michigan Secretary of State.
If you do not know, or are not sure, whether your driver’s license was suspended or revoked, call our office and an experienced driver’s license restoration lawyer will help you understand your situation. Because it is easy to miss a step – or do something wrong – it is always best to hire an experienced Driver’s License Restoration lawyer to help you get your license back.
Step One – You Must Be Eligible for Driver’s License Restoration
First, you must be eligible to file a license appeal. In other words, the required time period imposed by your conviction must have passed before you can file to have your license reinstated.
- A person cannot appeal for 1 year if he or she has 2 DUI convictions within 7 years.
- A person cannot appeal for 5 years if he or she has 3 DUI convictions within 10 years.
In the meantime (before a reinstatement hearing) If the person is caught driving without a license, then the Michigan Secretary of State will add on another mandatory revocation. This means that it will take another 1 or 5 years from the date of the most recent offense to be eligible to get your license restored.
Step Two – Filing Required Documents for a Driver’s License Restoration
Once a person is eligible to begin a license appeal, they will have to file certain required documents with the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).
These documents include, but are not limited to:
- Current substance abuse evaluation for a recognized treatment provider; and,
- Three or more letters of support – dated & notarized with the author’s address & phone number.
To win a license appeal, the substance abuse evaluation, the letters of support, and any other documentation must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that convinces the judge or hearing officer that the person’s alcohol problem is “under control,” and is “likely to remain under control.” This usually includes evidence of both a specific “sobriety date” – in addition to as much proof as possible that you have quit drinking.
Step Three – The Driver’s License Restoration Hearing
Once the proper paperwork has been submitted, a hearing in front of a Michigan Secretary of State DAAD Hearing Officer will be scheduled. This gives you an opportunity to explain things in person and “make your case” for having your license restored at a live hearing.
Attempting to attend your hearing without a lawyer is very risky. For one thing, different hearing officers “look” for different things during a hearing. One hearing officer may expect you to recite the “twelve steps” – while another may focus on the exact dates & details of your substance abuse treatment. An experienced Driver’s License Restoration lawyer will know each of the DAAD hearing officers, and be able to help you prepare for your hearing.
Remember, if you “go it alone” and you fail, you will have to wait another full year to re-apply. You are allowed only one driver’s license restoration hearing per year, so it is very important to do things right the first time. And the best way to make sure you “do it right” is to hire a lawyer who is experienced in license restorations.