How to Appeal a Driver's License Hearing Decision

Individuals who request and subsequently go through a driver's license appeal hearing only to end up losing often wonder how to go about appealing the driver's license hearing decision. Living a normal life, working, and attending important events, meetings, doctor appointments, etc. is nearly impossible without a driver's license. At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan driver's license lawyers understand that often times individuals either choose to go through the hearing process without legal representation, or choose an attorney who does not focus on this niche area of the law and is therefore ineffective. Can you appeal the decision made at your driver's license hearing, and if so, how?

You Have Only One Opportunity Each Year to Request a Driver's License Appeal Hearing

Individuals who do not win a restricted license through a driver's license hearing must wait for an entire year before requesting a hearing again. However, should you decide to appeal the decision made by hearing officers, you may appeal the decision to the Circuit Court located in your county.

Appealing the Decision to Your County's Circuit Court

Should you decide to appeal the decision made by the hearing officer in your local Circuit Court, be aware that this is not an additional hearing. During your driver's license hearing, the hearing officer must keep a record of every single reason your appeal for a driver's license was denied - he or she must be explicit in this information. Appealing the decision in a Circuit Court should not be considered a "second chance," as there will not be another hearing for you to present your case.

What does happen in an appeal to the Circuit Court?

Essentially, it must be proven that the hearing officer made a legal error which is serious enough for the ruling to be voided. The Circuit Court judge will be presented with the transcript of the hearing that you lost, along with a legal brief. Ultimately, the Circuit Court judge must find that the hearing officer in your original appeal hearing made a substantial or prejudicial mistake, which would make the ruling illegal. It is essential that you have a skilled and experienced Michigan driver's license attorney represent you should you choose to appeal to the Circuit Court, as driver's license hearing officers are licensed attorneys, and very skilled at what they do.

It all comes down to whether the hearing officer at your driver's license hearing applied the law correctly in determining to deny your request to have your license restored. The Circuit Court judge must come to an undeniable conclusion that the hearing officer erred, which is not typical.

These matters are discussed in Michigan statute MCL 257.323. Section (4) which states that the Secretary of State's determination regarding your hearing may be set aside by the Circuit Court if your substantial rights have been prejudiced according to the following:

The determination is found to be:

a) In violation of the Constitution of the United States, the State Constitution, or a statute

b) In excess of the Secretary of State's authority of jurisdiction

c) Made upon unlawful procedure resulting in material prejudice to the petitioner

d) Not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record

e) Arbitrary, capricious, or clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion

f) Affected by other substantial and material error of law

You must file and appeal within 63 days of the final determination from your hearing; additionally, it is required that 50 days notice is given to the Secretary of State prior to the Circuit Court hearing date.

As you can see, winning your driver's license back either through a driver's license hearing or through appeal of the decision made by the hearing officer to the Circuit Court is not a simple matter. To ensure you are well prepared, have all required documentation in place and have the best possible chance of winning, it is imperative that you consult with a capable Michigan driver's license appeals lawyer. Contact Grabel & Associates today for strong, effective legal guidance at 1-800-677-9795.

Please note: Recently Administrative Hearings Section (AHS) changed their name to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight. Common use of the name Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight has not yet been widely accepted and the entity responsible for driver's license hearings is still referred to as AHS in almost all legal areas, which is why we continue to use the term "AHS" throughout our website. More information about this change can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State's website here.

Client Reviews

Mr. Grabel took time to listen to me, and fully explain myself on my first call, well before I signed the retainer. He really listened, he understood the legal proses, and suggest a course of action that cost me nothing beyond the initial retainer, and it ended favorably for me. Not only did I get what I want, but I received more help that I thought I would get. The amount of attention I received was pleasantly surprising. Mr. Grabel took a real interest in my case, because he understood I had done no wrong. He really fought for me! I'll return to Scott Grabel if I ever need him again FOR SURE. H.R.
This firm is no joke! DO NOT waste your money on any other law firm in the state. I paid $3000 for a "high-level" attorney and was denied twice. After having a consultation with Grabel & Associates, they could not believe I was ever denied and got my license back first try. I am telling you from first hand experience - INVEST IN GRABEL & ASSOCIATES!! Rob
My lawyer was extremely thorough, and did everything possible to make sure I got the results I was looking for. R.B.