If you get convicted of multiple DUIs in the state of Michigan, your driver’s license will be revoked indefinitely. In order to win your license back after a second DUI, you need to argue your case in front of the Secretary of State. However, the state doesn’t allow offenders to file for such a hearing just a short time after the initial arrest.
It is certainly possible to get your license back after a second DUI. However, there is a waiting period involved before you can even apply for a hearing. And there are a few additional requirements you will need to meet in order to have any chance of winning a successful verdict.
If you’ve had multiple DUIs and are wondering about the process for getting your license back, here are a few of the most important details to know about the timeline.
You Need One Year of Sobriety
After a second drunk driving conviction in Michigan, your driver’s license will be revoked for a period of at least one year. That one year starts from the conviction date, not the date of your initial arrest.
Once you hit that one year mark, you become eligible to apply for a hearing. This isn’t automatically scheduled. You have to actually request a hearing with the Secretary of State in order to get to this step. However, there are other requirements as well; the one year waiting period is just the minimum. So once you reach this point and have the necessary evidence, you can apply for and attend a hearing to hopefully win back your driving rights.
You Must Meet Additional Requirements
Just because you’re eligible to apply for a hearing doesn’t actually mean that it’s a good idea for you to do so right away. Sure, you will have the opportunity to argue your case in front of Secretary of State, but you have little to no chance of obtaining the verdict you want if you don’t meet the other requirements.
In order for your hearing to be successful, you must be able to prove that you’ve been sober for at least a year and show that you’ve addressed the underlying issues that led to those substance abuse problems in the first place. This often requires undergoing some sort of treatment or counseling. And in some cases, it may be necessary for individuals to go to a program like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Every case is different. But everyone who wants to actually win their license back will need to show, through actual evidence, that they meet these requirements and can be trusted to safely operate a motor vehicle going forward. If you simply wait the year but make no attempt to actually get sober and collect the necessary evidence to support your recovery in front of hearing officers, there’s not much of a point in even arguing your case at all.
You May Need at Least a Year Off Probation
Though it’s not an official requirement, it’s typically a good idea for individuals to be off of probation for at least a year before attending a driver’s license restoration hearing. Not all drivers who have had their licenses revoked will necessarily need to make it through a prolonged probationary period. However, this situation is fairly common for repeat offenders, so it’s at least worth considering for your case.
The idea is that this gives you a better opportunity to prove that you can maintain sobriety on your own, as opposed to simply being sober while under a court order to do so. For many, it’s tougher to stick to that goal if you’re not regularly checking in and facing potential consequences for a relapse. Again, it’s not a requirement, but it provides a bit of extra proof that you’ll be equipped to stay safe and avoid falling back into old patterns that could lead to more DUIs in the future.
You Need to Obtain Several References
You will also need to wait until you’re able to get enough friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, or other people in your life to vouch for you. This is intended to back up your claims of sobriety and help convince the Secretary of State or Sobriety Court officers that your testimony about your recovery is truthful.
The individuals you select will need to share testimony either in person at a hearing or by writing letters. This isn’t just a way to help your case be more successful; it is a requirement for you to have at least three to six letters of support or individuals who are willing to testify on your behalf.
So if you’ve done the work to get sober but don’t yet have enough people in your life who are willing to back you up, it’s important to wait and continue demonstrating your recovery efforts so the people in your life will be able to notice progress and speak on your behalf. Proving your progress to people in multiple areas of your life ultimately gives you a better chance at a successful verdict in your hearing.
Working with an experienced license restoration lawyer in Michigan can also give you a better chance of winning your license back after a second DUI. It’s not a requirement, but an attorney who has worked on cases like this in the past will be more familiar with the process and the things that hearing officers look for when deciding cases.