First Things First – Is my license suspended or revoked?

Before you begin the tedious process of an appeal to the State of Michigan to ask for your driver’s license back, it’s important to know if your license is just suspended or if it’s revoked.  The easiest way to find out is to take a look at your master driving record.  But, to put it simply, a license suspension is temporary and your driving privileges will be reinstated automatically once the suspension period ends.  You don’t need to do anything.  For certain crimes that result in a license suspension you CAN get special permission to drive from a court—called a hardship license—but I’ll leave that for another blog.

However, when your driver’s license is revoked you have a bigger task at hand because the State of Michigan must grant you driving privileges through a formal appeal process.  You also have to wait a certain period of time before you are eligible to begin the appeal process.  The waiting period depends on why your license was revoked in the first place. 

Most commonly, a driver’s license is revoked because of drinking and drugged driving convictions (also known as OWI, OUIL, Impaired driving, OUID, or DUI).  If you get two of these within 7 years your license will be revoked for at least 1 year.  Meaning, you cannot even try and get your license back until 1 full year has passed.  A third drinking or drugged driving conviction within 10 years of your previous two convictions will result in a whopping 5-year revocation!  There are a lot of crimes that will cause a license revocation, you can check out the list here.

Appealing to the State of Michigan to restore your driver’s license is not an easy process.  In fact, Michigan’s Secretary of State has extremely strict guidelines for reinstating driving privileges: you will need to obtain a substance use evaluation, gather letters of support, obtain a 10-panel drug screen, and usually many other supporting documents depending on your specific situation.  Each document has specific state requirements that must be met in order for the evidence to be accepted, and if your documents are rejected you may have to wait another year to reapply. The most important part is proving your sobriety.  According to the state rules, a person MUST be able to demonstrate at least 6 months of complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs; however, in my experience the hearing officers are really looking for 12 months or more of complete abstinence in order to grant an appeal.  It’s important to remember that NONE of these requirements have anything to do with how smart you are, how loving of a father you are, how good of a person you are, how great your grades are, how long you’ve suffered without a license, or that you are not a trouble maker. 

What IS required is that you prove to the state by clear and convincing evidence that any substance abuse problem you may have is under control and will remain under control. Forever.  The evidence that you submit is everything.  Missing one single thing can cause your entire appeal to be denied, and this is devastating as you will not be eligible to apply again for another full year. 

Having an experienced license restoration attorney is an absolute must.  No two situations are the same, and some have more issues than others that need to be addressed.  I guarantee that I will personally spend more time with you than any other attorney, in-person and on the phone, to make sure your case is accurate, ready, and winnable.

You can reach me anytime at 248-955-3803.

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