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What are the Requirements for a Michigan Driver License Restoration?

Dec 29th, 2018 DUI Penalties OWI What are the Requirements for a Michigan Driver License Restoration?

If your license has been suspended or revoked in Michigan then you will not be able to drive legally again until you take certain steps to restore your driving privileges. The necessary steps depend on the nature of your suspension or revocation. One important  difference between the two is that with a suspension you still have driving privileges, you just can’t use them until the suspension is over. With a revocation your driving privileges have been completely taken away.  If you’re not exactly sure if you are currently serving a driver license suspension or revocation then your lawyer will be able to help clarify which applies to you.

With a suspended license, usually the only thing you need to do is to simply wait until the end of the suspension period.  At that time, you will only be required to pay a $125 reinstatement fee at your local branch office of the Secretary of State.  You will receive your full driving privileges immediately back upon their receipt of this reinstatement fee.  However, the plastic photo license will be sent to you in the mail a week or two later.  Barring any complicating factors, you will not need the assistance of a lawyer if all you are facing is a suspended license.

On the other hand, if your driving privileges are revoked they will stay that way until and unless you file a written document, called a petition, to the Secretary of State to restore your driving privileges. Before doing so however, you must wait the minimum revocation period, which is generally one or five years. The exact time period would have been stated on the notice of revocation you originally received from the Michigan Secretary of State.  If you are not sure how long you must wait, then your attorney will be able to learn of the extent of the restoration and let you know so can you can plan accordingly.

You may first submit your petition to the Secretary of State on or near your anniversary date.  This petition is sometimes also called a Request for Administrative Review.  Filing this document is the first step you will need to take in receiving your driving privileges back.  If you live in Michigan, a date for the hearing will be set and you will also need to appear at this hearing where you will be questioned by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), also called a Secretary of State Hearing Officer. If you are represented by a lawyer, then your lawyer will question you first followed up by any additional questions from the ALJ.

You will have the burden of proof at this hearing, and the law requires that you prove your case by clear and convincing evidence.  Clear and convincing evidence is the second highest burden of proof that we have in Michigan.  This means that you must present enough evidence at the hearing to provide the ALJ with a “definite and firm conviction” that (1) you will never drive drunk again, and (2) that your substance use disorder is under control and likely to stay that way. You will do this by submitting between three and six testimonial letters.  You will also need to obtain a substance abuse evaluation from a certified substance abuse treatment provider.  You will need a ten-panel drug screen.  Finally, you or your lawyer will fill out and present the necessary hearing form to the Secretary of State.  While the requirements may seem simple, it is not advisable that you try to do this without a lawyer.  These seemingly simple requirements are more like minefields, and your failure to properly navigate them will result in your losing the hearing.  Your license will remain revoked for at least one more year.  Also, each loss is followed by successively more difficult subsequent hearings.