Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Q & A: Driver's license Restoration in Michigan

Q: Three years ago, I had a DUI in Michigan. It was a second offense for me, and my license was suspended, I think indefinitely. Can I get my license restored?

A: Probably. It depends on when the most recent conviction was and when you're able to apply.

Michigan controls the driving privilege through its Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will automatically suspend licenses for drivers who have two or more alcohol-related convictions.

First, you will need a copy of your driving record from any Secretary of State office (it was $8 the last time I checked). An attorney can help you review the record to see when you are eligible to apply for having your license re-instated. The record will clearly state the reason you were revoked/denied, and when the application can be made.

The second step is to start talking with people who know you to see if they are willing to submit a letter with your application, showing why your driving privilege should be restored. These are treated like character witnesses in your application, and the secretary of state treats them very seriously. They are referred to as "community proof of sobriety" in the application, so I suggest you take them seriously as well. It's best if you have at least 6 of these letters, and they will need to be signed, dated, and notarized. I prefer if the authors of the letters are people who have known the petitioner for many years, and have seen the progress from "drinking was a problem" for the petitioner, to "it is no longer a problem" for the petitioner.

You will also need to schedule a substance abuse evaluation and have a drug and alcohol screen done. This is further proof to the secretary of state that your behavior will not cause a concern when or if your driving privilege is restored.

Important note: Here's the thing: none of the materials in your application can be more than 90 days older than the date on which you submit the application. So that means that if you submit the application on August 1, nothing in the packet can be dated before May 3 (which is 90 days before August 1). So pay attention to how much time it is taking for the evaluation, and for friends to write their letters.

Have your attorney send his or her contact information to the evaluation center, and to your friends, so they can send the material directly to the attorney. Your attorney should review the materials with you before submitting to the secretary of state.

There is no charge for submitting the application.

Next, the secretary of state will respond with a hearing date. If you are an out-of-state applicant, there is no requirement that a hearing be scheduled. Again, your attorney will get notification of the date and get in touch with you. It's best for the attorney to prepare with you before the hearing, as the hearing officer will ask you a lot of questions as to why you were suspended/revoked, and how you have changed your life since then. If you are not able to satisfy the hearing officer that your behavior does not pose a threat to other drivers, you might not succeed at the hearing.

Do not expect a decision at the hearing. Although it is possible for a hearing officer to restore full driving privileges at the hearing, it does not happen very often.

The hearing officer will eventually issue a decision that either restores full privilege, restores a partial privilege (like using an interlock device for a year), or continues the suspension.

No comments:

Post a Comment