Driver’s License Reinstatement in Michigan
There are numerous situations in which a Michigan driver can lose his or her license. At the Michigan Defense Law, we know that having a driver’s license often is a necessity. To be sure, if you do not have a driver’s license, you may not be able to get to work, and you may not be able to earn an income to support your family. Under Michigan law, there are some criminal convictions that result in a mandatory suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.
If you have been convicted of an offense and need assistance having your driver’s license reinstated, an aggressive driver’s license reinstatement attorney can assist with your case.
What is the difference between a driver’s license suspension and a revocation?
Under MCL 257.52, revocation is “the most serious action” that can be taken, and it is defined as “the termination of the operator’s license and privilege to operate a motor vehicle.” An individual whose license has been revoked is only permitted to reapply for license restoration after an entire year has passed after the first revocation. If a license is revoked more than once, then a person is only eligible to apply for a reinstatement after five years (for a second revocation) and within seven years of the prior revocation.
A suspension is less serious. The suspension is for a specific period of time, from “X” date through “X” date. Once the second date arrives through which the license is suspended, the driver typically only has to show up and pay the reinstatement fee.
Reasons a Driver’s License Can Be Suspended or Revoked in Michigan
What are some of the most common reasons that a driver’s license can be suspended or revoked? Typically, driver’s licenses are suspended or revoked due to “High BAC Offenses” and subsequent convictions. For example, a first-time offense of having a BAC of .17 or higher results in a one-year driver’s license suspension. Subsequent offenses may result on a suspension.
Other serious DUI-related offenses also can result in a driver’s license suspension or revocation.
Substance abuse offenses are the most common reason for a driver’s license suspension or revocation. In addition, some other criminal offenses involving felonies, for example, can also result in license revocation. In a situation where a person is charged with a “High BAC” offense, which is also known as the offense of Operating While Intoxicated, upon conviction the driver’s license is almost always suspended. More generally, the Michigan Department of State lists the following as examples of substance abuse offenses and other felony offenses for which a driver’s license can be suspended or revoked:
- Operating While Intoxicated;
- Operating With Presence of Drugs;
- Child Endangerment (as a result of drunk driving);
- Bodily injury or death in an accident (as a result of drunk driving);
- Fleeing & Eluding;
- Felonious Driving;
- Felony Auto Used;
- Failed to Stop or Identify after Personal Injury Accident Causing Serious Impairment of a Body Function; and
- Failed to Stop or Identify after Personal Injury Accident Causing Death.
Getting Your License Reinstated through a Hearing
When your license has been suspended or revoked, you can request a hearing before the Driver Assessment & Appeal Division (DAAD). You will need to request a hearing or administrative review with the assistance of your Michigan criminal defense lawyer as long as you are eligible.
As part of the hearing or administrative review, you will need to provide information that your lawyer can help you to prepare. If the hearing is successful, your license will be reinstated.
Drivers License Restoration After Michigan OWI/DUI Conviction
If you have had your Michigan driver’s license revoked as a result of two or more drunk driving convictions, you are eligible to apply for license restoration after one year following the first revocation or after five years if you have had multiple revocations. But restoration of your driving privileges isn’t automatic. You’ll need the guidance of an effective DUI license restoration attorney who can make a persuasive case that you will be a sober, safe driver based on testimony and evidence.
After two or more drunk driving convictions in Michigan, obtaining driving privileges is complicated. You need an experienced advocate to make a persuasive case that you should have your driving privileges restored.
Steps to Obtain Driver’s License After Repeat Drunk Driving Convictions
Drivers who have been convicted twice within seven years or three times within 10 years of operating a motor vehicle while impaired or intoxicated are considered habitual offenders under Michigan law. Typically, your driver’s license is revoked after two convictions. Under a recent change in Michigan law, some twice-convicted DUI drivers are eligible to maintain a partial license with restricted driving privileges by participating in an approved sobriety court.
If your license was revoked, the law does provide a license restoration process after the minimum period of license revocation. You may apply for a hearing before Driver’s License Appeal to have your driver’s license restored, but the state doesn’t automatically restore driving privileges. To have your driving privileges restored in Michigan, you’ll have to demonstrate that you’ll be a safe driver in the future.
You have the burden of proof to show that you have abstained from all alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs and must show that your alcohol or drug dependence issues are under control. In other words, you’ll have to prove that you are sober and likely to remain sober. You must provide notarized letters of support testifying to your sobriety and completion of treatment. A substance abuse evaluation must be completed before the hearing is scheduled. Alcoholics Anonymous is the preferred method of treatment, though other types of counseling are acceptable. An experienced Michigan DUI/OWI defense attorney can help you gather the evidence to present your strongest case for restoration of your license.
If you lose at the hearing, you are ineligible to apply for another hearing for one year, so don’t try to go through the hearing process without skilled legal guidance. If you are successful in obtaining a driver’s license, you will have a restricted license for one year with an ignition interlock device installed in your car unless you have moved to another state that doesn’t require the device. The interlock ignition device will not allow you to start the car if it detects alcohol on your breath.
It’s important to have a knowledgeable DUI hearing attorney guide you when applying for a hearing to have your driver’s license reinstated. Experienced legal help does make a difference.