If your Michigan driver’s license has been revoked or suspended, it becomes your job to prove that you can operate a vehicle safely before having your license fully reinstated. There are several pieces of evidence you must use to support your case throughout the process. Here’s what you need to know.
What You Must Prove
Michigan law requires that you prove clearly and convincingly that reinstating your license will not expose you or the public to any unnecessary risk. In order to do this, you have to address a few key areas:
- Your past behavior: You must prove that your alcohol or substance abuse problem is under control. This usually means proving that you have been sober for at least a half year to a year.
- Your future behavior: You must also demonstrate that your alcohol or substance abuse problem will remain under control going forward and that you have a low risk for repeating past behaviors.
- Your driving ability: You should be able to submit some type of proof or evidence that you’re able to drive safely within the law, and that you’re motivated to do so.
What Evidence You Must Provide
In order to prove to the state that your problem is under control and that you’re able to drive a vehicle safely, you must submit evidence. It’s not enough for you to just say that you’re better and that you won’t repeat past behaviors. Certain documents and other items are essential for actually proving your case.
Here are some of the items that the Secretary of State requests for license restoration hearings:
- A 10-panel drug screen: This is meant to ensure that your substance abuse problem is currently under control. A failed or incomplete screening would indicate to the hearing officer that you’re likely to fall back into old behaviors. In order for the screen to be counted, it must contain at least two of the following integrity checks: specific gravity, pH level, or creatinine.
- A substance use evaluation: This form can be obtained from the Secretary of State and must be filled out by a licensed substance abuse counselor. This is meant to provide the state with an expert third-party diagnosis and prognosis. He or she may also make a recommendation to the Secretary of State based on their session(s) with you.
- Letters of community support: You must gather between three and six letters from those close to you who are willing to vouch for your sobriety. You can ask family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to write them. The more letters you submit (up to six), the more proof the court has of your changed behavior.
- A hearing form: This is a form that you fill out with all of your personal information and important dates. It should include all info about your past substance abuse issues and convictions, as well as sobriety dates. This just gives the tribunal a timeline and overview of your case.
- An interlock annual report, if applicable: If you’ve already been driving under a restricted license, then you need to contact your interlock device provider to obtain an annual report of your usage. This report should be dated within 30 days of the day you submit your case to the Secretary of State. Basically, it shows your recent history of operating a vehicle while sober. The document will show any violations or problems you may have had with the device, so if you’ve tampered with it or attempted to operate your vehicle while intoxicated, it’s likely to hurt your case.
- Documentation related to counseling or AA sessions: If you’ve attended any Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or similar groups or counseling sessions, gather attendance logs or ask for a note from your sponsor. This is meant to show that you’re taking concrete steps to deal with the cause of your issues and that you’re likely to stay on track with your treatment.
An experienced license restoration attorney can help you gather all of the necessary evidence and documentation that you need to win your case. Lawyer Mark Langschied has more than 25 years of experience and handles driver’s license reinstatement cases. With a 95 percent win rate, he is well versed in all of the most effective talking points and evidence needed to give each case the best chance for success.