Mandatory Suspension of Driver's License

In Michigan you can have your driver’s license automatically suspended if you are convicted of certain crimes or violations such as operating while impaired, refusing to submit to an evidentiary chemical breathalyzer, and reckless driving. These suspensions are different from other suspensions like getting 12 points on your driver’s license, because there will be no driver’s license reexamination where you can plead your case before a suspension is determined. That is why it is so important to seek aggressive legal counsel before you are convicted, because you need to act in court before a conviction is entered. Once the conviction is entered it will be sent to the Secretary of State and you will be notified by mail of your mandatory driver’s license suspension.

Difference Between Mandatory Suspensions and Other Driver’s License Suspensions

Mandatory suspensions are different from other suspensions for two reasons. First, there is no discretion involved in the length of suspension. MCL 257.319 governs mandatory suspensions, and once you are convicted of a certain crime or infraction, then the Secretary of State carries out the corresponding mandatory suspension. Consequently, the judge at court does not actually sentence you to a suspension. The court judge will enter a conviction, and the court clerk will send a record called an abstract of conviction to the Secretary of State. Finally, the Secretary of State will notify you of your mandatory suspension. The second major difference is that a mandatory sentence will have definite “from” and “through” periods. The “from” and “through” periods tell you the period of time the suspension starts and ends. After you have served your suspension you will be eligible to reinstate your driver’s license.

First Offense Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and First Offense High Blood Alcohol (HIBAC) OWI -- Mandatory Suspension of Driver’s License in Michigan

The important distinction that separates a mandatory suspension from a revocation is that if you have no additional violations or drinking and driving offenses while your license is suspended, then you will be able to get your driver’s license reinstated once the suspension period is over. Conversely, if your license is revoked, then even if you have no further issues you will not get your license back until you petition the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight for a driver’s restoration hearing. If you are convicted of a first offense OWI in Michigan, then you will have a mandatory 30-day suspension of your driver’s license. During the first 30 days it will be a “hard suspension” suspension, which means you will not be able to drive for any reason including to school and work. However, if you complete the first 30 days of your driver’s license suspension without being caught Driving While License Suspended (DWLS), then you will get a restricted driver’s license. You will need to use your restricted license for 150 days, but you can drive to school, work, and court ordered treatment with your restricted license. Thankfully, a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is not required as part of a restricted license for a first offense OWI. After you complete both the 30-day suspension and the 150 days on a restricted license you will need to pay $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee, and then your driver’s license will automatically be reinstated.

The mandatory suspension for a HIBAC OWI is 45 days. The first 45 days will be a “hard suspension.” During this period, you will be unable to drive for any reason. After 45 days and not being caught for DWLS you will be eligible to get a restricted license from the Secretary of State. You will need to have a BAIID installed in your vehicle before the Secretary of State will issue you a restricted license. You will need to use a state certified BAIID installer, and obtain a sealed certification of the installation from them. Once you present your sealed certificate of installation, then the Secretary of State will issue you a restricted license. You can use your restricted license to drive to and from school, work, probation, and court ordered alcohol and drug treatment. You must serve out the remaining 320 days of your suspension using a restricted driver’s license. If you complete both the 45-day hard suspension and the 320 days of restricted driving without another drinking and driving incident or being caught DWLS, then you can pay the $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee and have your full driving privileges reinstated, provided there are no BAIID violations.

Mandatory Suspension for Refusing Chemical Testing

Under MCL 257.625c, you are considered to have given your implied consent to submit to chemical testing if you are operating a vehicle on a public highway or other area open to the general public. This includes roads, parks, and parking lots. Therefore, if you refuse chemical testing, then you will be charged with the civil infraction of refusal to submit to chemical testing. The officer issues you a ticket informing you of your right to contest the charge at an administrative hearing within 14 days. You must contest the civil infraction in writing within 14 days or you will automatically have your driver’s license suspended for a mandatory period of one year. Fourteen days is a short period of time, so it is imperative that you contact the driver’s license attorneys at Grabel & Associates immediately to get moving on a solution. This is a hard one-year suspension, which means you will not be eligible for restricted driving and will have to go an entire year without driving. There is an option to petition Circuit Court based on hardship if you lost your hearing or didn’t request a hearing in a timely basis.

A second refusal to submit to chemical testing is even more serious, because you were expected to have learned your lesson from the first one. Consequently, the mandatory suspension for a second refusal to submit to chemical testing is a mandatory two-year suspension of your driving privileges. There is no option for a restricted license in your first year, but after one year you will have the option of petitioning the circuit court for a restricted license based on the hardship your lack of driving privileges is causing.

Other Reasons for Mandatory Suspension of License

Following are numerous other reasons that you may have your driver’s license suspended by the Secretary of State under mandatory guidelines in Michigan:

  • Both a 3rd or 4th degree fleeing and eluding conviction result in a mandatory 1-year suspension
  • Reckless driving results in a mandatory 90-day suspension of your driver’s license
  • Child Endangerment has a mandatory 90-day suspension followed by 90 days of restricted driving
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) - .04 BAC or higher will result in a one-year suspension of your CDL and a three year suspension of your hazardous materials endorsement
  • If you have a CDL and you are caught driving with a .04 BAC or higher in a non-commercial vehicle, then you will have a mandatory 90 days of driving on a restricted license for your operator’s license
  • Fraudulently purchasing alcohol with fake identification results in a 90-day mandatory suspension of driving privileges
  • If you are under 21 there is a zero-tolerance conviction resulting in a mandatory 30 day restricted license
  • A joyriding offense under MCL 750.414 results in a mandatory 90-day suspension of driving privileges
  • Felonious driving under MCL 750.191 results in a mandatory one-year suspension
  • A felony committed using an automobile results in a mandatory one-year suspension
  • Failure to yield to an emergency responder causing injury results in a mandatory 90-day suspension
  • A misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident results in a mandatory 90-day suspension
  • Stealing fuel or “driving off” from the pump results in a mandatory 90-day suspension
  • Forging or altering documents related to an automobile results in a mandatory one-year suspension
  • Fraudulently changing your address results in a mandatory 180-day suspension of your driving privileges
  • In accordance with MCL 750.382 malicious destruction of trees, shrubs, or grass valued under $200 results in a mandatory 30-day suspension of your driver’s license
  • In accordance with MCL 750.382 malicious destruction of trees, shrubs, or grass valued over $200 results in a mandatory 90-day suspension of your driver’s license

No matter what circumstances or situation led to your arrest, if you are facing charges that could result in a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license then the time to act is now. These time-sensitive matters require swift and aggressive legal defense to ward off both unwanted criminal convictions and mandatory suspensions of your driver’s license. Call the experienced attorneys at Grabel & Associates today to begin formulating your comprehensive legal defense strategy to keep you out of jail and behind the wheel. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-677-9795 to schedule your free consultation today.

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.

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