After one DUI arrest in the state of Michigan, you may face certain fines, a small amount of jail time, driver’s license restrictions, or other relatively minor legal ramifications. However, after your second offense DUI, the stakes change.
Once you’ve had multiple DUIs, whether that number is two or five, you are going to have to deal with much more stringent consequences. When this happens, you need to understand what those consequences mean for your driving rights and what your options are for getting your driver’s license reinstated in the future.
Of course, it’s best to avoid this situation in the first place. But if you do find yourself with multiple DUIs and wondering what your options are, here are answers to some of the most common questions you may be wondering about.
What Happens After Multiple DUIs?
After one DUI conviction in Michigan, you may face fines, jail time, or possible license restrictions. The severity of your penalty depends on the circumstances of your DUI and your ability to pay fines and appear in court as requested. However, a singular incident shouldn’t result in your driving rights being taken away indefinitely.
After your second DUI, there is no question – your license will be revoked. This means that your ability to legally operate a motor vehicle has been taken away indefinitely. This is different than a restricted license, which requires you to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. It is also different than most suspended licenses, which are often automatically reinstated after one year or another set period of time.
After any subsequent DUIs, the penalty is the same. Your license will be revoked. There may be more severe penalties if other offenses are involved. However, your license standing is the same after any DUI convictions beyond that first one.
Can a Revoked License Be Reinstated?
Yes, a revoked license can be reinstated in Michigan. However, unlike a suspended license, it will not be reinstated automatically after a set period of time. You actually need to take the initiative to file for reinstatement and go to a hearing at the Secretary of State to fight for your rights. The other option is some courts and some judges will grant a restricted license if you are in sobriety court.
You must wait at least one year after your second DUI conviction before requesting a hearing to have your license restored. And if you have your license revoked after any subsequent DUIs, you must wait for a period of five years before applying to have your license restored.
Those waiting periods are designed to give you time to address your alcohol or substance abuse issues so you can have the opportunity to prove to the Secretary of State that you’ll be able to safely operate a motor vehicle going forward. Basically, throughout the reinstatement process you’ll need to submit evidence that the initial issues that led to your DUI convictions are under control. There are very specific ways you need to go about doing this, which will be covered in the next section.
How Can I Get My License Back After It’s Been Revoked?
In order to get your revoked license reinstated after two or more DUIs, you need to request a hearing with the Michigan Secretary of State. During this hearing, you must submit evidence that your substance abuse issue is under control and that you’ll be able to safely and responsibly operate a motor vehicle.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help your case is to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous or other similar support groups. Counseling sessions aimed at solving the root of your alcohol abuse issues is also helpful. Depending on your situation, support group attendance and counseling may or may not be required.
You must have at least one full year of sobriety under your belt in order to have any hope of reinstatement. So without this step in the process, the Secretary of State is unlikely to agree that you’ve solved these issues to the point that you can be trusted to safely operate a vehicle going forward.
In addition to AA attendance logs, other evidence that you may submit during your hearing includes a substance abuse evaluation form from a licensed counselor, a 10-panel drug screen, proof of counseling, and letters of support from three to six people in your community. All of this evidence is supposed to support the idea that your substance abuse issues are a thing of the past and that you’ll be able to drive without those same problems popping up again in the future.
During the initial hearing, your goal is to obtain a restricted driver’s license. This will allow you to operate a vehicle that includes an ignition interlock device. This device requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test every time you go to start the engine. It also collects information about your use, so it can alert the Secretary of State if you attempt to start up the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Once you’ve completed that requirement for at least a year, you will have the opportunity to request another hearing. During this second hearing, you can ask for your restricted license to be reinstated fully.
You’ll be required to attend both hearings and submit testimony about any evidence you’ve submitted relating to your case. During a Michigan driver’s license appeal hearing, you’ll also be required to answer questions from the hearing officer who will decide your case. These are usually related to your personal habits, drinking history, and claims of sobriety.
While the penalty for multiple DUIs is consistent no matter what number you have, each case does have its own set of circumstances and unique challenges. Having an experienced professional in your corner can be invaluable in improving your chances for full reinstatement after multiple DUIs.