Just because you’ve had one or two DUIs in the past, you don’t have to live with the repercussions forever. With some help and effort, you should be able to renew a license (or get a new type of license, like a commercial driver’s license) after a DUI and regain your independence.

keys and handcuffs next to a drink after dui license renewal

License reinstatement laws in Michigan usually don’t change much, and we usually get the same questions every year. But 2022 did bring one change that individuals with only one DUI may be happy to hear.

Getting a Single DUI Cleared

Before 2022, individuals who had a single drunken-driving conviction would have had to live with it on their criminal records forever. There was no way to get the DUI cleared.

Many Michigan lawmakers had argued that being unable to clear this record is unfair to drivers because it may make it harder to obtain employment, especially if a commercial driver’s license is needed.

After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed new legislation in August 2021, that all has changed.

Beginning this year, drivers with one DUI that occurred at least five years ago can apply to have the DUI expunged, as long as no one was seriously injured or died in relation to the incident. Individuals with more than one DUI also would not be eligible to apply for the expungement.

The information would still be accessible to law enforcement officials in case of future incidents, but it would no longer be accessible to others.

To apply for the expungement, you would need to obtain a copy of your criminal record, and a court clerk would file your application. Your application would be sent to the Michigan State Police, the prosecutor, and the Attorney General, and you would need to attend a court hearing to explain why your DUI should be cleared.

The new expungement law applies to approximately 200,000 drivers.

Renewing a License After a DUI in 2022

Otherwise, most of the processes of renewing a license after a DUI in Michigan remain the same in 2022.

Getting Your License Back after One DUI

Renewing a license after one DUI conviction is relatively straightforward when compared with trying to get your license back after multiple offenses. 

One DUI is considered a misdemeanor. Typically, your license would be suspended for six months; if your blood-alcohol level was 0.17 or higher, the license would be suspended for one year.

You may be eligible for a restricted license if you show that you are attending sobriety classes. Generally, drivers can apply for a restricted license 30 days after the suspension begins.

Once your suspension period is over, you can get a license renewed by submitting an application through the Michigan Secretary of State’s office. You may have to pay several fees, including a standard license reinstatement fee of $125.

Getting a License Back after a Second DUI

If you have two DUIs within seven years, your license would be revoked for one year. The difference between a suspension and a revocation is that with a suspension, the loss of the license is temporary,  while a revocation is indefinite until you petition the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings board. (See more on that in our past blogs.)

The second DUI would also be considered a misdemeanor.  (After a third DUI conviction, your license would be revoked for five years, and the offense would be considered a felony.)

Obtaining a restricted license in this case would require you to appear in court to discuss why it’s necessary and to show that you will be a responsible driver. Attending sobriety court during your revocation would be essential. 

If you are approved for a restricted license, you would need to use an ignition interlock device until you apply and are approved for a full license reinstatement. The device is an alcohol detector that you would have to blow into before the car  will start, and you may have to blow into it intermittently while you’re driving to your destination.

If you are hoping to renew a license in Michigan after two or more DUIs – or for nearly any other reason – contact me for assistance. Getting a suspended license renewed is relatively simple, but getting your license back after a revocation is more involved. I’m here to walk you through it.

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