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Top Five Things to Know Before You Try to Get your Driver’s License Back

If you’ve lost your driver’s license in Michigan, getting it back is possible, but it’s vital to understand the process. These are the top five things you need to know:

1. When you have two alcohol-related driving convictions within a seven-year period, the Michigan Secretary of State makes you wait a year before you can apply to have it reinstated. If you have three or more convictions within a 10-year period, you will be required to wait five years before you can apply. It’s also important to know that if you receive any kind of a moving violation during the period of time your license is revoked, that one-year or five-year period will be extended.

2. You’ll have to prove you’ve completely abstained from alcohol and controlled substances for at least six months. (Note, however, that if you have a valid medical marijuana card and use marijuana medicinally, you may still be eligible to have your license reinstated.) While six months is the absolute minimum time period one must prove he or she has been sober from alcohol and controlled substances, the Secretary of State has discretion in most cases to require at least a year of sobriety. Exceeding the minimum time period of sobriety will always improve your chances of having your driving privileges restored.

3. Your first hearing will be in front of an attorney called a “Hearing Officer.” These attorneys work for the Secretary of State and act as administrative law judges. At this hearing, which takes place either via a video conference or in person at a Secretary of State branch office, you will be required to prove the following: a.) that your alcohol or substance abuse problems, if any, are under control and likely to remain under control; b.) that your risk of repeating past abusive behavior is low or minimal; c.) that your risk of repeating the act of operating under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is low or minimal; and d.) that you have the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law. These things are proven to the Secretary of State through your testimony at the hearing, a substance abuse evaluation conducted by a licensed substance abuse evaluator, a drug screen, and letters of support from people who can attest to your sobriety.

4. If you are granted a license at the Secretary of State hearing, it will likely be a restricted license with an ignition interlock device. While the Hearing Officers do have the authority to grant a full license at your first hearing, they almost always start with a restricted license if you successfully prove your case. There are two types of restricted licenses: one that lets you drive between your residence and certain places like your place of work, school, medical appointments, etc., and the other which lets you drive anywhere but restricts the times you are allowed to drive. Both types of restricted licenses require an ignition interlock device which is a device that measures your breath alcohol content. You are required to blow into the device to start the vehicle, and the device will prompt you to blow into it periodically while you are driving. If you are granted a restricted license, you will be required to comply with the license restrictions and have the interlock device installed for at least a year before you can apply for a full license.

5. If you aren’t granted a license from the Secretary of State, you can appeal to Circuit Court. The Circuit Court of the county that you live in has jurisdiction over appealing decisions of the Secretary of State. The judge will receive a copy of all of the documents you submitted to the Secretary of State as well as a word-for-word transcript of your Secretary of State hearing. At the Circuit Court hearing, the judge can either a.) uphold the decision of the Secretary of State, in which case you will have to wait a year to reapply; b.) send the case back to the Secretary of State to correct a mistake the judge feels the Hearing Officer made during the original hearing; c.) grant you a full driver’s license; or d.) grant you a restricted driver’s license with an ignition interlock device.

The attorneys at Triton Legal have restored the driving privileges of hundreds of Michigan drivers. Contact us today to see how we can help you get your full driver’s license restored!