In Michigan, you can have your driver’s license suspended or revoked for a variety of different reasons. In some cases, you can temporarily lose driving privileges due to multiple tickets or failure to appear in court. In other, more serious cases, you may lose your license for a longer period of time due to ongoing substance abuse problems.
Many drivers tend to confuse the terms driver’s license suspension and driver’s license revocation. Both result in a loss of legal driving privileges, but there are a lot of very important differences as well.
Some of the reasons that your driving privilege could be revoked are multiple DUI convictions or DUI/OWI conviction(s) resulting in death or serious injury. Suspensions are usually less serious and often come with a set time period attached to them, after which you can usually get your license back fairly easily.
It’s important that you understand what these concepts mean so you can fight your case through the proper channels and give yourself the best possible chance at driver’s license restoration. For more on the causes behind these two actions and the other key differences, here’s a quick guide.
Causes of License Suspension
A Michigan driver’s license can be suspended for a number of varying reasons. It can be for something as minor as a fraudulent change of address or as serious as a first DUI. Other causes for driver’s license suspension in Michigan include leaving the scene of an accident, theft of vehicle fuel, committing perjury on Secretary of State forms, driving with open intoxicants in the vehicle, open tickets and warrants from traffic offenses.
All of these different offenses come with different suspension lengths. Some are as low as 30 days, but most fall between 90 days and one year. When your license is suspended, it is typically for that set period of time. Once you’ve reached the final suspension date, as long as you haven’t committed any other offenses during the suspension period, you simply need to visit your local Secretary of State office and file a form and pay a small fee to have your license restored. This is a fairly straightforward process and does not require you to attend a hearing or go through a lengthy court battle.
That last step is important though. You cannot simply start driving again after the suspension period is up. Your license is simply considered “invalid” rather than “suspended” if you do not file for reinstatement through the Secretary of State.
There are also some cases where driver’s licenses can be suspended for an indefinite period. These are fairly rare and are often due to medical issues or other problems that may impact your ability to drive safely for the foreseeable future. Once the issue has been addressed or resolved, you can then contact the Secretary of State about restoration.
Causes of License Revocation
On the other end of the spectrum, your driver’s license could be revoked if you commit a more serious offense or become a serial offender. Most commonly, drivers have their licenses fully revoked after multiple DUI convictions. In fact, it is mandatory for the state to revoke a driver’s license after the person has committed multiple DUIs, and for every one committed thereafter.
Unlike driver’s license suspensions, a revoked license doesn’t come with a finite set of dates. Your license is not automatically or easily restored after 90 days or even a year. You actually need to fight your appeal case through the Secretary of State in order to win back your driving rights.
To restore your driver’s license, you must first wait a year after your last DUI conviction (or five years for any subsequent DUIs committed within a seven year period). Then you can request a hearing with the Secretary of State where you submit evidence and testimony to prove that you have dealt with your substance abuse issues and that you will no longer be a danger on the road.
This process can take much longer and require much more work than getting a suspended license reinstated. You first need to file paperwork with the Secretary of State. You also need to collect evidence to prove that you’ve been sober for at least a year and that you are taking other actions to maintain your sobriety on an ongoing basis. This evidence may include a drug screen, substance use evaluation forms, AA attendance logs, a note from your counselor or sponsor, letters of support from people who can back up your sobriety claims, and any reports from an interlock device if you’ve had a restricted license.
Where Can I Find More Information About License Suspension in Michigan
The Michigan Secretary of State offers resources on its website to help you understand some of the common penalties associated with various actions in the state. It also lays out the options you have for getting your license back after a suspension or revocation. And it has general information about driving while impaired, including the actual legal terms for each type of conviction and the dangers associated with operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
If you’re dealing with a suspended license, these resources and the input from your local Secretary of State office may be sufficient to help you restore your driving rights when the time comes. However, navigating the information associated with revocation and having your Michigan driver’s license restored can often feel a bit overwhelming. If your driver’s license has been fully revoked, you really should consider speaking with an experienced driver’s license restoration attorney who can help you understand the ins and outs of your case and help you gather the essential evidence needed to win.
Every case is different. So it’s important to know how all the laws and requirements relate specifically to you. Online or print resources can help you gain some preliminary information. But if you need to actually fight a driver’s license restoration case with the state, consider getting personalized information tailored to your situation directly from an expert source.