Michigan's Driver's License Law Information Centers

The law surrounding driving privileges in Michigan can be complicated. We seek to help educate you about the law regarding various driver’s license issues. In this section we will provide a short summary of the law for common driver’s license issues.

Revocation of Driver’s License in Michigan

If you have been convicted of two or more drinking and driving offenses within seven years, then you will have your driver’s license revoked. You will need to apply for a restricted driver’s license with the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight. Determining the length of time until you become eligible for a hearing depends on whether you have had two or three OWIs and whether your license has been revoked in the past seven years. If this is your second drinking and driving offense, then you will be eligible for a driver’s license restoration hearing one year after the conviction. However, if you have had a third drinking and driving offense within 10 years, then you will have a hard, five-year revocation. This means you would have to wait five years before requesting a hearing.

Once you are eligible, then you can begin the process of driver’s license restoration. You will need to gather evidence, documents, and forms before you submit your hearing request. You will need to prove to the hearing officer by clear and convincing evidence that you are sober and likely to remain sober. The main pieces of evidence for requesting a driver’s license restoration hearing are a 10 panel drug screen, a substance abuse evaluation, between three and six reference letters, and evidence supporting your sobriety. The evidence supporting your sobriety can take the form of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) attendance, Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART), or a letter from a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. Keep in mind the letters of reference can provide sufficient proof of continued sobriety without the use of AA or other programs. All of the evidence should be submitted with Secretary of State form 258, and you should seek the advice of an attorney who has experience with driver’s license restoration cases.

Out of State Driver’s License Restoration

If you have your driver’s license suspended or revoked in Michigan, then the state of Michigan will place a hold on your license in the National Driver Register (NDR). Consequently, you will need to clear up all the issues in Michigan, before your new state will issue you a license. The good news is, there are three distinct advantages to doing an out of state driver’s license restoration. First, you can do an administrative review. Administrative review is when you complete the application and submit all of the documents by mail for a Secretary of State representative to review and decide. This means you will not have to come back to Michigan for an in-person hearing. Second, if you win your new state will grant you a full license upon passing your new state’s driving test and you will not need to be on a restricted driver’s license. Finally, if you do not win your administrative review, then you can immediately apply for an in-person driver’s license restoration hearing, but there is an option to conduct the hearing remotely via teleconferencing software. If you have moved out of state and need to obtain a clearance so the state of Michigan will lift the hold on your driver’s license, then Grabel & Associates can help. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-677-9795 to schedule a free consultation today.

Driver’s License Suspension

There are many reasons why a person’s driver’s license can be suspended in Michigan. Some instances for a suspension are a first offense operating while intoxicated (OWI), reckless driving, more than 12 points on your driver’s license, failure to comply with a judgment of the court, driving on a suspended license, or refusal to submit to chemical testing. Some suspensions are mandatory, and the length of suspension is determined by MCL 257.319, but some suspensions are discretionary and are determined by a hearing officer or magistrate at a driver’s license reexamination. Additionally, some suspensions are definite in time and have definite “from” and “through” dates, so you know when the suspension will begin and end. However, some suspension’s can be indefinite, and you may need to pay costs, fees, and fines before your driver’s license can be reinstated.

Mandatory Suspension

In Michigan there are certain infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies that can result in an automatic suspension of your license. A mandatory suspension is different from other suspensions in Michigan, because there is no discretion involved in the length of the suspension. If you are convicted of certain offenses enumerated in MCL 257.319, then the court will send an abstract of conviction to the Secretary of State. Once the Secretary of State receives the abstract of conviction, then they will automatically suspend your license for the specified period. There are also mandatory indefinite suspensions. For instance, a failure to comply with court judgment (FCJ) or failure to appear in court (FAC) results in an automatic indefinite suspension of your driver’s license. If you are convicted of this misdemeanor, then you will not be eligible to have your license reinstated until you take care of all fees, fines, and costs associated with the conviction.

Teen (Underage) Driver’s Suspension

If you are a teen in Michigan, then you can have your driver’s license suspended for a number of reasons. Michigan has a zero-tolerance law for minors using alcohol. If you are caught having any alcohol in your body and are underage, then you will be placed on a restricted driver’s license for 30 days. If you are caught and convicted a second time, then you will have your license completely suspended for 90 days. A Minor in Possession (MIP) conviction no longer has any mandatory license suspension. However, a second offense MIP has a 30-day mandatory driving suspension.

If you are convicted of having an open container of alcohol while driving a second time, then your license will be suspended for 30 days followed by a 90 restricted license. Similarly, if you are convicted of a second offense transportation of alcohol, then you will also have a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license followed by a 60 day restricted license. Also, a conviction of joyriding or purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol with a fake ID will both result in a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, drug offenses and texting on your cell phone while driving may also result in having your driver’s license suspended.

Driving While License Suspended and Driving While License Revoked

Driving while license suspended (DWLS) and driving while license revoked (DWLR) are both prosecuted under MCL 257.904. A first offense of either DWLS or DWLR has a maximum sentence of up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. The elements of DWLS or DWLR are pretty straight forward, if you are caught operating a motor vehicle while your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, then you can be charged with a DWLS or DWLR. If you are being charged with DWLS or DWLR, then it would be prudent to contact the expert legal counsel at Grabel & Associates to help you take care of this issue.

Points System in Michigan

The Michigan legislature has developed a comprehensive point system under MCL 257.320, and each infraction, misdemeanor, or felony has a set number of points assigned. Many moving violations, infractions, and misdemeanors such as 10 mph over the legal speed limit, refusal to submit to chemical testing, and careless driving will add points to your driver’s license. It might seem easy to just pay the ticket and move on with your life, but if you do, then you are admitting guilt and the points will go on your license. Consequently, oftentimes the best course of action is to contest the ticket to avoid getting more points on your driving record, because if you accumulate 12 or more points on your driver’s license, then it can result in a driver reexamination and you can have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. If you are accused of a speeding ticket, civil infraction, or misdemeanor, call Grabel & Associates today at 1-800-677-9795.

Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDIC) – Ways to Reduce Points in Michigan

Under MCL 257.320d, the Michigan legislature passed a law which permits eligible drivers to complete a Basic Driver’s Improvement Course (BIDC) to avoid having points go on their license. If you complete the BIDC, it also prevents a notification from being sent to the insurance company. However, even if you are eligible for the course, you can still choose to contest the ticket. Even though the BDIC course prevents points from going on your record, the infraction does stay in your record and could be used against you in a future driver’s reexamination hearing. Therefore, the best practice is to contest the ticket within ten days. If you do decide to take the BDIC course, then it will be at least four hours of class and not more than $100. Once you complete the course the state certified sponsor will notify the Secretary of State and the points for the ticket will not go on your record, and will not be sent to the insurance company.

Driver’s License Status – Driving Record Reports in Michigan

MCL 257.732(15) requires that the Secretary of State record each time a person is charged or cited for a violation, as well as any restriction, suspension, or denial ordered by a court. The document that contains all of this information is called a Master Driving Record (MDR), and is a very useful document for keeping track of points on your license and when working with an attorney on driver’s license issues. The certified complete record is the most complete type of driving record available for purchase, but you can also purchase a certified edited record for giving a driving record to an employer. You can obtain a driving record by mail, fax, telephone, or in person, but you cannot order one online directly through the Secretary of State. There are online service providers who will obtain a record for you for a fee and email it to you. You can complete this form: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/bdvr154_16269_7.pdf , and mail it to the following address. You will need to include the $11 fee and any additional certification fee necessary.

Michigan Department of State
Record Lookup Unit
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI  48918-1502

The easiest way may be to go to a branch office and request a form in person. The fee is $12, and you can have a certified complete record printed for you.

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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