What effect does probation have on someone’s driver’s license if it’s traffic or DUI-related?
The fact that you’re on probation itself does not mean anything about your driver’s license. What affects your driver’s license is the exact crime that you’re convicted of. For example, for operating while impaired, first offense, the Michigan Secretary of State will impose a specific driver’s license penalty on you, and that’s a 90-day restricted license.
For a possession of marijuana case, if you’re convicted, the Secretary of State will impose a six-month suspension on your driver’s license. The same penalty applies for possession of cocaine. So it depends what you’re convicted of and then it depends what the penalty is for that conviction.
In Michigan, Two or More Alcohol-Related Offenses Lead to a License Revocation
And now we’re going to talk about driver’s license restoration. What would you say is the most common scenario that people get themselves into that sort of situation where they’re going to need their driver’s license restored? What got them to that step in the first place?
Well, in Michigan, the most common reason that they need a license restored is because they’ve had two or more drunk-driving cases. If you had two drunk- driving offenses within seven years of each other, then your license would get revoked for a minimum of one year.
If you’ve already had a one-year revocation and you get another drunk driving, your license would get revoked for five years. Also, if you get caught driving while your license is revoked, they add additional periods of time. Usually they add another year up to another five years before you become eligible to even try and get your license back. There is very harsh driver’s license penalties related to drunk-driving cases.
Sobriety Court Programs
There has recently been a little bit of relief granted through sobriety court programs. And those programs are state-approved and they’re through certain district courts. And if a district court has a sobriety court program and you are convicted of a second or subsequent drunk driving offense, that court has the ability to offer you a partial driver’s license.
The license would be restricted that you could only drive to and from work and to and from counseling that the court orders you to do. And you have to have an ignition interlock device in your car. But it does at least allow you to have some type of license.
Whereas before the sobriety court existed, if your license was revoked, that was it; you could not do anything at all to get a license no matter how much of a hardship it caused you or where you lived.
Sobriety Court Can Restore Limited Driving Privileges If the Driver Meets Specific Conditions
How does the sobriety court benefit someone?
Let’s say, for example, that you get a second offense, drunk driving within seven years, and you get convicted. Your driver’s license is going to be revoked for a minimum of one year. During that year, you cannot drive in any way, shape or form. After one year, you are eligible to petition the Secretary of State Driver’s License Appeal Division for restoration of your license.
It Is Not Easy to Prove your Intention to Remain Sober
In order for you to even get a hearing, you have a substance abuse evaluation; you have to get a drug test and you have to get a minimum of three letters written by supporting people. They all have to testify to the fact that you have been completely sober and that you’re likely to remain sober. In other words, you have to convince them that you are going to be sober for the rest of your life.
And then you send in all those documents and you get a hearing. And you have a hearing in front of a hearing officer who is trained to sort through people trying to lie.He’s going to try to determine whether or not you are sober and likely to remain sober. It’s a very difficult burden.
If they grant you the license, it is a restricted license with an interlock in the car, and you have to drive with that for at least another year. If they deny you, and they deny a lot of people, then you can’t even try again for another year. So the normal process is very long and very tedious and can only be done their way.
In the sobriety court, you get this restricted license after 60 days, and you keep it as long as you’re in good standing in the sobriety court. And then once you’re eligible to petition the Secretary of State, you’re petitioning directly for full regular license. So if the license is granted to you, you’re back to normal right away. And so you basically eliminate at least a year of no license and no ability to drive. So that’s a huge advantage.
One Infraction While Fulfilling the Conditions of Sobriety Court Result in another Year of License Suspension before You Can Reapply
Here’s the thing that people have to know and they don’t always realize. Let’s say you go through six months of the sobriety court and you make a mistake and they eject you out of sobriety court. They automatically revoke that partial license you were given, and now you go back to square one and you start all over and you have to do the full year of revocation before you’re even eligible for a hearing.
And what are some ways that people violate the terms?
Primarily, the way they get kicked out of sobriety court is going to be by continuing to use drugs or alcohol and get caught. Or not showing up to the number of meetings and court hearings that they’re supposed to appear for. A violation is just not following the rules.
And there are a lot of rules; it’s a pretty intensive program. But those are the most typical ways that you’ll get kicked out of the program.
Tampering with the Ignition Interlock Device Is a Violation, Even If the Action was Unintentional
But people do get their license revoked because of different reasons with the interlock, such as one positive test or tampering with the device where they’re having power problems. They try to change the battery and it’s considered tampering, and they’ll revoke your license for that.
Or they think that some other way you’ve tampered with it or tried to circumvent the device or you get caught driving when you’re not supposed to drive. Those types of things can all cause problems for people, and then they have to challenge those results at the Driver’s License Appeal Division in order to get their license back.
But an interlock device, from my understanding, is you have to do that sometimes regularly while you’re driving. And the vehicle won’t turn on or it will stop turning on.
Those are called rolling retests. And a rolling retest violation is one where the machine asks you to blow while you’re driving and you don’t do it, and then that’s a major violation and they’ll revoke your license for that.
So one of the common ways that people do that by mistake is in the wintertime or the summertime they try to go start their car up to either heat it up or cool it down, and while they walk away from their car, it asks for a retest and you’re not there to do it. That constitutes a violation. That’s one of the rules that people are instructed about, to make sure they never leave their vehicle while it’s running.
Letting a Car Warm up Unattended Can Result in a Violation If the Driver Is Unaware of the Rolling Retest
On some of these freezing cold days here in Michigan, people have to sit in their car while it warms up because they could miss the rolling retest otherwise.
A rolling retest will be requested while they’re driving? They’re not parked, they’re actually driving?
Yes. They have a short amount of time to do it.