Question: What are the possible outcomes of the implied consent hearing?
Answer: Well, the implied consent hearing, as I said, is conducted by an employee of the Secretary of State’s office. They have four questions they ask you. Basically they ask you, or they want to determine if there was probable cause to believe a crime was committed; they want to determine that the police officer did in fact advise the petitioner, who would be the person appealing this choice that he or she had been arrested; they would want to find out whether or not they were advised of their obligation to take a test under the Michigan Implied Consent law; and they would want to find out whether or not, after having been so advised, the person refused to take the test.
If they find those four things, they will suspend your license for one year. And they will, you will have an opportunity to appeal that to the circuit court for a restricted drivers license, but the outcome of that, again, would depend on what happens at the circuit court. They basically refer to it as a hardship appeal, and you’re not appealing the decision that your license is subject to being suspended as a result of the implied consent hearing; you’re rather petitioning the court to say, “I need my drivers license because it will impose a hardship, I’ll lose my job, I wont be able to do this or that.”
That’s the reason for that. Now, if you were to feel that the hearing officer had made a mistake in terms of finding those four issues, you could appeal that directly, saying that the decision of the hearing officer was erroneous. But you have to remember that at that hearing, it’s a probable cause hearing, it’s not beyond a reasonable doubt. So the standard is it more likely than not that this happened. And the second thing is that the rules of evidence do not strictly apply, so hearsay and other things can be admitted in that hearing. So it’s very difficult to successfully appeal that hearing saying there was an abuse of discretion—but not impossible, but it is a very hard row to hoe and a high bar to overcome.