Appealing License Sanctions

Many people mistakenly believe that they can ask the judge for leniency regarding driver’s license suspensions or revocations associated with their operating while intoxicated (OWI) cases. In Michigan, all driver’s license sanctions are imposed by the office of the Secretary of State, and judges do not have the authority to reduce or remove those sanctions.

Potential OWI License Sanctions

The potential driver’s license sanctions associated with a drunk or drugged driving conviction include:

  • 30-day license suspension plus 150 days of license restrictions for a first offense
  • Minimum one-year license revocation for a second offense within seven years
  • Minimum five-year revocation if you have a previous revocation within seven years
  • For a first offense where the blood alcohol content was 0.17 percent or higher, the license suspension is one year, with restrictions available after 45 days if an ignition interlock device is installed

Obtaining a Restricted License

If an individual is convicted of operating while visibly impaired, they will be granted restricted driving privileges for 90 days.  If the defendant is convicted of operating while intoxicated, they will be granted restricted driving privileges for a period of 150 days after completing a 30-day suspension period.  These restricted privileges are granted automatically.  There is nothing that needs to be done in court.

If an individual is convicted of operating with a high bodily alcohol content of 0.17 or greater, they will become eligible for a restricted license after 45 days of the one-year suspension. This does require the individual to have an interlock device installed in any vehicle they operate.

If there is a license suspension based on an implied consent violation, any restricted privileges can only be granted by a circuit court judge of the county where the incident happened. The judge would determine whether the loss of the driver’s license would create a hardship, whether the person would be unable to get to and from work or school, and whether there would be mass transit or family members can provide the necessary transportation before deciding whether to grant any restricted privileges.

Obtaining a State ID

It is a good idea to obtain a Michigan state identification card because the temporary driving permit that given after the police confiscate and destroy their Michigan driver’s license is really just a big piece of paper.

However, it is that piece of paper that you have to show an officer if you are pulled over for a traffic stop while the case is still pending.  It is not very easy to cash checks at a bank with a temporary driving permit because it does not have your picture on it.  Some of the alcohol and drug testing facilities even require picture identification before testing.

A Michigan ID card is a state-issued photo identification card.  It looks very similar to a Michigan driver’s license and can fit right in a person’s wallet where they would normally carry your driver’s license.

Formal Review Hearings

Some judges schedule formal review hearings to evaluate how someone is doing on probation.  If someone misses that hearing, it could trigger a probation violation or could cause the period of probation to be extended for a longer time.