Sometimes people forget that driving is considered to be a privilege and not a right.
However, the Hearing Officers working for the Driver License Appeal Division of the State of Michigan understand all too well that driving is a privilege, and they are extremely cautious when determining whether your privileges should be restored especially when a revocation has occurred for multiple alcohol related convictions.
The law requires the Secretary of State to automatically suspend or revoke your drivers license for certain violations and multiple convictions within a given framework of years.
The action taken against your drivers license depends on a number of factors, including the type of violation or unsafe driving habits involved, your driving record, and your willingness to comply with assessment recommendations and requirements.
Licensing actions range from revocations to restrictions and suspensions. Here is an overview: If you have two OWI, impaired driving, or reckless driving convictions in a seven year time period from the date of the first conviction to the date of conviction of the last (not dates of arrest), or three offenses within ten years, your license will be revoked for at least, depending on your earlier record, one to five years. Any driving on a suspended or revoked license offenses that occur subsequently to the revocation will likely lengthen your eligibility to get a hearing date and will likely lessen your chances of success with the hearing officer’s discretion.
If you lose at a hearing before a Secretary of State Hearing Officer, it will be another year before you can try again. If you lose you can appeal to the Circuit Court, but only on the grounds of the decision being arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion on the part of the Hearing Officer. It is a difficult appeal because former Gov. Engler removed much of the Circuit Court’s ability to intercede based on hardship appeals, and further other challenges, except for the three listed above, are no longer available because of new statutory language. It has been said that Michigan’s criminal penalties for drunk driving are among the most lenient, but that the civil factor of license restoration is second to none in difficulty when it comes to getting it back. Michigan’s statutory language states that having two offenses within a seven-year period is habitual. The petitioner must overcome the presumption that he or she is not a habitual drunk driver in order to prevail. Prevailing means, except in cases involving permanently out of state petitioners who lost their license in Michigan, that if you “win” at the hearing, you will still have at least one more year of having an interlock system installed on only one vehicle that you are allowed to drive under other restrictions (unless you establish on the record that you permanently live outside the State of Michigan and have come back only to clear your record for application for a license in another state). Following this the individual has to re-apply ‘de novo’ (starting over from step one), which involves getting new a prognostic assessment, eight-panel drug blood screen, preparing a new petition/application, and obtaining new letters of support (all signed before a Notary Public, timely dated, with full name printed or typed, address, and phone number, w/e-mail if possible)… Otherwise, the appeal will likely be rejected.
The process of restoring a driver’s license generally takes about three to five months (depending on the present State hearing schedulings. Secretary of State restoration hearing are held throughout Michigan at SOS offices, but please read the following:
- NOTE: In January 2010, by Administrative Order, the Driver Assessment & Appeal Division is now beginning a “Video Hearing” process at the restoration hearing. This means that an “Evidence Affidavit” must be completed and returned within 14 days prior to requesting a hearing date and all evidence, including an ignition interlock final report, if applicable, must be included. As they are now assigning case numbers, if this is not received, the case may be closed. The Hearing Officer at the hearing will not be present, but will appear on a television monitor. After the Evidence Affidavit is received by the Department of State, a hearing date will be assigned within four weeks, and notice will be sent out regarding the date and time, usually within ten days before the hearing. Witnesses may still appear, but you are responsible for interpreters who must be qualified by the State, and such interpreters cannot be a family member or friend. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO APPEALS HELD IN THE CITY OF LANSING or if the attorney who filled the appearance in the appeal is from the capital area or otherwise requests a hearing with a ‘live’ hearing officer.
We have handled nearly 1,900 driver’s license restoration cases, and have prevailed the first time on all but twelve occasions. We have done this type of work for over forty years.
We believe that everyone deserves access to aggressive and affordable advocacy. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.
Our results speak for themselves. With a record of success and a practice philosophy that puts respect and compassion at the core of our personalized defense and advocacy strategies, The Williams Law Firm will be an effective, cost effective and personable avenue of representation for you.
Experienced Michigan restoration lawyers will let you know of all opportunities and what they can do for you when it comes to recovering your driver’s license.