Michigan License Reinstatement Overview
Michigan Driver’s License Reinstatement – An Overview
Quality Gets You Back on the Road
As an attorney handling Michigan driver’s license restoration matters, I can tell you quality matters. What do I mean by this? I’m talking about the evidence you submit as well as your testimony and any witness testimony provided at your hearing. The quality better be top notch because it determines whether you get your license back. Are all the documents consistent with the others? Does the evidence cover all the possible concerns the hearing officer may have? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your case? How will you handle the weaknesses? How will you maximize the strengths of your case? Whether you win or lose depends entirely on the evidence and testimony. Make sure the evidence proves your case so you restore your driver’s license.
Michigan has an administrative process for individuals hoping to reinstate their driver’s license after several DUI convictions. The restoration process includes attending a hearing in front of a hearing officer and presenting him or her evidence in support of your getting your license back. There is a process to follow for both current Michigan residents and for those who lived in the state previously.
If you are a resident, have two or more DUI convictions and are not on a sobriety-court restricted driver’s license, you must attend two hearings. The goal of the first hearing is to obtain a restricted license. If a restricted driver’s license is granted after the first hearing, you will be required to install an “interlock device” which is an alcohol detector in your car and drive with the device for one year. After a year, you may attend a second hearing to obtain a full license.
If you are a resident on a sobriety-court restricted license, you’ll be seeking a full driver’s license at the first hearing. A second hearing will not be necessary if a full license is granted.
Former Michigan Residents
The process is a little different if you are a former Michigan resident now living in another state. The first step is known as an Administrative Review. The same information and paperwork is necessary, but can be submitted by mail instead. If you are approved for a license through this process, attendance at a hearing is not required. If a license is not granted through the Administrative Review process, you can still request a hearing. A successful Administrative Review or hearing results in a clearance, meaning that the State of Michigan removes their “hold” so you can apply for a license in the state you currently reside in.
What You Must Prove
To win, you must convincingly prove the following:
- Your alcohol or substance problem is under control and will remain that way in the future.
- You have a low risk of repeating past abusive behaviors.
- You have the capability of driving safely within the law and are motivated to do so.
- You have been sober for at least half a year to a year. Most will need at least 1 year sober.
At the end of your hearing, the hearing officer must not have any doubt concerning your case. This is because Michigan requires you to prove your case clearly and convincingly. Otherwise, you will not get your license back.
If you fail to win, you must wait one full year before trying to restore your license again.
The Secretary of State requires certain information be submitted to support your case. It is very important to submit the proper evidence. Here is what the Secretary of State requires:
Evidence is extremely important to your case – it is the foundation of your case. You should check to make sure all of your evidence is completed correctly and supports your arguments for license reinstatement.
You need to submit:
- A 10-panel drug screen containing at least two integrity checks from the following: specific gravity, pH level, or creatinine.
- A substance use evaluation. This must be filled out by a state-licensed substance abuse counselor. He or she will make a diagnosis, prognosis, and offer recommendations.
- A minimum of 3 letters up to a maximum of 6 letters. The letters need to document sobriety and should be written by friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend 5-6 letters.
- An 8-page request for hearing form. This form includes information regarding past use, past convictions, and sobriety dates, as well as personal information.
- An interlock annual report if you have an interlock device (alcohol detector) installed in your car. The annual report must be dated less than 30 days from the day your case is submitted to the Secretary of State. This document shows any possible violations or problems you may have had with the device. You should be prepared to deal with any issues found in the report.
- Any documentation, if any, of treatment, counseling, or Alcoholics Anonymous attendance. If you are attending AA, it is recommended that you submit attendance logs and a letter from your sponsor.
- Former Michigan residents only: Proof of residence outside of Michigan, such as a state ID, utility bills, employment records, bank records or statements, and phone bills. I recommend submitting 3-4 of these items.
Attendance at a hearing is required for any current residents of Michigan, and may also be necessary for previous residents. As an attorney, I see many who don’t understand the importance of the hearing. Please don’t take the hearing lightly. The hearing officer is judging you during your hearing, evaluates your evidence and testimony, and makes the ultimate decision on whether you get back on the road. You also have the option of calling witnesses to testify on your behalf.
The Bottom Line
Restoring a license can be a time consuming and complicated process. Paying attention to the details is a necessity. There is no shortcut for doing your case right.