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Driver's License Reinstatement FAQs

Have questions related to getting your license restored after a driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge? Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions when it comes to driver’s license reinstatement.

Q. I just received my second DUI conviction. What will happen to my driver’s license?
A. Two convictions within seven years will result in a one-year revocation of your driving privileges in Michigan.

Q. I just received my third DUI conviction. What will happen to my driver’s license?
A. Three or more DUI convictions will result in a revocation of your driving privileges for five years.

Q. If I’m in sobriety court, can I get a restricted license?
A. After January 1, 2011, you may be eligible for restricted license if you are in a sobriety court program and other requirements are met.

Q. What is a revocation as opposed to a suspension?
A. A suspension of driving privileges is for a defined period of time. For example, a suspension for one year means that you cannot drive for one year, but at the end of one year you can start driving again. However, revocations works differently. A revocation is permanent until you are approved by the Secretary of State to drive. For example, if you have a one year revocation, you would be eligible for a hearing to restore your license after one year. You would have to convince a hearing officer to restore your driving privileges at a hearing.

Q. What department of the Secretary of State handles license appeals?
A. The Drivers Assessment and Appeal Division handles appeals in Michigan.

Q. What is a Drivers Assessment and Appeal Division hearing like?
A. It is similar to a trial. You will give testimony to a hearing officer who will decide your case. You will have the opportunity to submit evidence in support of your case and to call witnesses on your behalf.

Q. What do I need to prove to reinstate my driver’s license at the hearing?
A. You must prove that your alcohol/substance abuse problem is under control and likely to remain that way, that you represent a low or minimal risk of repeating the act of drunk driving and that you have the ability and motivation to drive safely within the law. Further, you must prove at least one year of sobriety before the hearing.

Q. How convincingly do I have to prove my case?
A. You must prove your case by clear and convincing evidence. Stated another way, your case must be a “slam dunk.”

Q. What kind of evidence may I submit?
A. Alcoholics Anonymous sign-in sheets, treatment records, letters of sobriety, substance abuse evaluation and any other evidence that proves your case.

Q. Can I call witnesses on my behalf?
A. Yes.

Q. Is AA attendance helpful?
A. Yes – it shows that you are part of a sober support group. However, AA is not always necessary to prevail.

Q. After the hearing, how long will it take to find out if I’ve won my case?
A. Typically, you will receive the hearing officer’s written opinion in 4 to 8 weeks.

Q. If I lose, can I appeal my case?
A. Yes – you can appeal your case to the Circuit Court.

Q. What are the grounds for a Circuit Court appeal?
A. Some of the more common grounds of appeal are that the decision is: 1) not supported by competent material and substantial evidence on the whole record, 2) arbitrary, capricious or clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion and 3) affected by other substantial and material error of law.

Q. What is a hardship appeal?
A. A hardship appeal is an appeal to the Circuit Court for a restricted license (it would allow you to drive to and from work).

Q. If I have a revoked license, can I appeal to the Circuit Court for a hardship appeal?
A. Unfortunately, the answer is no. However, you may be able to file a hardship appeal if you have a suspended license.

Q. Should I hire an attorney for help?
A. An attorney that handles these cases can be a big help. An attorney can advise you on what evidence to submit, prepare you to testify, ask questions of you at the hearing to establish your case and deliver a closing argument on your behalf.

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Attorney + Mark Langschied