If you know you may be eligible to get your Michigan driver’s license reinstated in 2022, you may wish to prepare yourself by knowing the differences between a suspended vs. revoked license.

photo of a car driving down the road

Think of a suspension as being grounded back when you were 16 years old for, let’s say, staying out too late at night. Maybe your parents said you couldn’t drive anywhere for a couple weeks as a punishment. At the end of the two weeks, if you felt remorseful for the actions that got you in trouble in the first place and maybe apologized, you would be allowed to go out again.


On the other hand, if what you did was more serious, your parents may have taken away your car completely. That would mean you would have to truly make changes in your lifestyle in hopes of regaining their trust and your independence.


This is a little like the differences in a suspended vs. revoked license.


What You Will Need to Do to Get a Suspended License Reinstated


A license suspension is temporary.  It’s for a specified period of time.  


At the end of that time period, if you didn’t get into any more trouble during your suspension, you’ll get your license back after paying a fee of $125 to the Michigan Secretary of State.


What You Will Need to Do to Get Your Revoked License Reinstated


A license revocation is indefinite. 


You would really have to apply yourself, so to speak, in order to get your license back and regain trust. That generally wouldn’t be a possibility until at least a year later. Even then, you will need responsible individuals to vouch for you.


During your license revocation, you would have to change your lifestyle by no longer drinking, attending sobriety classes, maybe seeking therapy, and, in the event that you have a restricted license, using an ignition interlock device.


Specifically, in order to get your revoked license reinstated in Michigan, you would have to submit a petition to the Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearings board. Afterward, you would have to attend a hearing before the board, which is like a mini trial. 


For the hearing, you would have to submit letters from responsible individuals in the community who would attest to the positive changes you have made in your life. You must submit at least three letters, but I generally recommend at least five, one of which should come from your substance abuse counselor or other therapist.


Other documents you would have to present for the hearing include a clean drug screening and proof that you attended any required substance abuse classes or meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous groups.


Reinstatement of a Suspended or Revoked License if You Live Outside of Michigan


If you received your DUI conviction in Michigan, lost your driver’s license, and then moved to another state, you will have to get the issue cleared in this state before you can get a license in your new home state. Even if you never actually lived in Michigan but were convicted of drunken driving here, you may be forbidden from driving in this state.


The state of Michigan would have a “hold” on your license until you either pay the fine for your suspension or get your driving privileges back after a revocation, known as a “clearance.”


I would recommend getting a lawyer to help you get your license back in any event, but doing so would be especially helpful if you live outside of Michigan. Things can get complicated quickly, and there would be many details that may factor into the process. For example, you should understand driving laws and DUI laws in your new state, as these may possibly have an impact on the steps you need to take here.


There’s one more thing you should be aware of. As noted previously, you must attend the hearing before the board in order to try to get your license back.  However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts have been holding as many hearings as possible remotely. That will most likely continue to be the case for license reinstatement hearings in early 2022, so you may wish to keep that in mind.


To learn more about the difference between a suspended vs. revoked license in Michigan or to begin the process of getting your license back, contact me. I would be happy to tell you more about how it all works and will look forward to helping you start a new chapter in your life.

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