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Out of State Driver's License Restoration in Michigan

Conducting a busy adult life is difficult without a driver’s license. If you have moved to another state outside of Michigan, then you may have learned you are ineligible to obtain a license in your new state because of multiple drinking and driving convictions in Michigan. Michigan has placed a “hold” on your driver’s license, because it was either revoked or suspended. The good news is we can help you with either, and will be happy to explain more about what is happening and how it works.

Michigan Has a Hold on Your License: The National Driver Register and You

If you have had either your driver’s license suspended or revoked in Michigan, then no other state will grant you a driver’s license. The reason is that Michigan and all 50 states have comity with each other for granting driving privileges. This means that each state respects the decisions of all other states when it comes to suspensions and revocations. The federal government has streamlined the cooperation between states through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA has a division called the National Driver Register (NDR) that maintains a national database with participation by all 50 states. The database is called the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS). A state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Secretary of State (SOS) checks the PDPS database before issuing a driver’s license. Consequently, if Michigan has placed a hold on your license, no other state will issue you a new license.

Obtaining a Clearance – Lifting the Hold

Our driver's license reinstatement attorneys can guide you through the complicated process of getting the hold lifted off your driver’s license, and getting your driver’s license restored. Unfortunately, Michigan has a hold on your license and has issued the hold to PDPS. This hold prevents every state in the Union from issuing you a driver’s license. The process for lifting the hold involves obtaining a “clearance” from the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight. Once you are successful and win either the administrative review of your application, or a full in-person driver’s license restoration hearing, Michigan will grant a clearance and lift the hold in the NDR. Michigan will issue a clearance and lift the hold, but will not actually issue you a driver’s license. The state where you now reside will issue you a new driver’s license after seeing there is no longer a hold in PDPS.

Determining your Eligibility, Revocations, and Suspensions

Are you Eligible for Out-of-State Driver’s License Restoration?

If you have had your license revoked due to multiple drinking and driving offenses, there are three-time frames that you must consider to determine if you are eligible for out of state driver’s license restoration. First, you to have to wait at least a year from the date your license was revoked before you apply. Second, you have to be sober for at least one year. This may be difficult for some people to accept, but due to MCL 257.303 if you receive two or more drinking and driving convictions in seven years you are considered a “Habitual Offender”. This means you will be viewed as having a drinking problem and you must demonstrate that the problem is under control and likely to remain under control. Finally, you must go at least one year without getting caught driving without a driver’s license. Grabel & Associates can help review your eligibility during a free consultation.

Two Bites from the Apple: Administrative Review and In-Person Hearing

If you are moving to out of state, you are not only possibly getting out of the cold, but you are also in the enviable position of getting two attempts at your Driver’s License Restoration without waiting the typical one year in between applications. If you are a resident of another state, then you are eligible for a process called “administrative review.” This involves gathering and preparing all of the necessary documents and forms, and sending them to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight for review by mail. They will review your file and decide by mail, instead of coming back to Michigan for an in-person driver’s restoration hearing.

However, if you do get denied after submitting an application for administrative review, then you can immediately file a request for a driver’s license restoration hearing. You will, however, have to either come back to Michigan for the hearing or attend a hearing via teleconferencing using a webcam. Conversely, if an in-state resident is denied at a driver’s license restoration hearing, then they have to wait another full year before they can apply again. Therefore, you are at a distinct advantage by being an out of state resident, because you get two bites out of the proverbial apple, since you can immediately file for a driver’s license restoration hearing if you are denied at the administrative review. In addition, if you are successful at your out of state driver’s license hearing or administrative review you will not be required to install an interlock device on your vehicle.

Preparing the Paperwork for Administrative Review

There are many documents, forms, and pieces of evidence that are necessary to win a clearance at administrative review. Expert legal counsel will be instrumental to helping you correctly assemble, prepare, and verify the application package before submission. Since there is no physical interview at an administrative hearing, the paperwork will be scrutinized even more rigorously than a typical driver’s license restoration hearing.

Once you have determined that you are eligible, you can begin preparing your application packet for driver’s license restoration to be sent to the Officer of Hearings and Administrative Oversight with the Secretary of State. Before we get into the specifics of what exactly needs to be in the submission packet, let us take a moment to look at the big picture. The following are the overarching elements that we need to prove to the representative reviewing your application packet. The following elements must be proved by clear and convincing evidence:

  • His or her alcohol and/or substance abuse problems are under control and are likely to remain under control
  • He or she represents a low or minimal risk of drinking or being under the influence of illicit drugs while driving
  • He or she has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law
  • He or she has the minimum period of abstinence of one year

Therefore, the purpose of all of the following documents are to build an application packet that will prove the four elements above by clear and convincing evidence. If we do this successfully, we win a clearance by administrative review. First, you will need a licensed substance abuse counselor to complete a substance abuse evaluation form. This will include a history of your substance abuse, but more importantly information about the support network you have built as a foundation for your sobriety. Your support network includes people you have met in recovery, your family, and work life. Also included are all of the healthy coping strategies you have learned to deal with stress and avoid drinking, for example, reading, meditating, and working out. Next, you will need to complete a 12 panel drug screen. (Navigate to our 12 panel drug screen section to learn more about the test.)

The next two forms of documentation you will need are evidence to document your sobriety, and evidence in support of sobriety. You will need at least three, but not more than six reference letters that are signed and notorized to document your sobriety. These letters can be from friends, family, and coworkers, and should include how long the person has known you, the nature of your relationship, and the last time they saw you consume drugs or alcohol. You can ask your references to include any positive changes they have seen in you since you have begun your life of sobriety. Grabel & Associates will carefully review all of your support letters to make sure they have all of the required information. If an additional draft is necessary, we will recommend changes, additions, and revisions that will be beneficial to you. We take each step in the process seriously, so we can ensure you have the strongest presentation of evidence possible to convince the representative conducting the administrative review that you are ready to drive.

The next step is providing evidence in support of your sobriety. The most common types of documents used as evidence in support of sobriety are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) attendance slips, or Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) attendance sheets, and letters from counselors or an AA sponsor. The more frequent your attendance in a support group is, the more it will demonstrate a commitment to your sobriety. Finally, you will need to fill out a form requesting administrative review of your revoked license.

Suspended License in Michigan

If you have a hold on your license due to a pending suspension in Michigan, then you are going to need to get the suspension taken care of to lift the hold before another state will issue you a new license. If the suspension was related to traffic tickets, then you will have to pay the tickets and possibly a $125 driver’s license reinstatement fee.

However, if your license was suspended for drinking and driving, you will have to wait until the 30 day suspension, or 45 day suspension for a super drunk OWI has expired. Then, you will have to pay a driver’s license reinstatement fee to the Michigan Secretary of State. These situations may sound straight forward, but they can become significantly more complicated particularly, if you have an “indefinite” suspension in Michigan for medical reasons. Grabel & Associates can help you determine why your license is suspended and what you need to do to have your license cleared in PDPS for your new state of residence to issue you a full driver’s license.

Capitalizing on your Opportunity: Hiring an Experienced, Successful, and Motivated Attorney

Now, you have determined that you are eligible to apply and you have a good idea of what needs to happen. Attempting to assemble this maze of paperwork by yourself would be a truly daunting task. If you try, you may not get the result you are looking for. Let us help you navigate these murky waters and steer you towards the open road. This process is not just about getting all the right forms and paperwork together, but is also about presenting a picture of you as a person. We need to show the official reviewing your file the magnitude of your turn around, and that you have made the changes necessary to be a safe driver. Your attorney at Grabel & Associates will expertly put you in the light most favorable to convincing the hearing officer that he or she can sleep well knowing they made the right decision to put you back on the road. Let us win for you. Call 1-800-677-9795 to schedule your free consultation, and take the first step toward getting you back on the road!

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.

Client Reviews

There are many lawyers out there that claim to be able to get your license returned to you. I can truly say Scott Grabel and his team helped me get my driver’s license back the first time! Even though I thought it was an insurmountable task they walked me through every step of the process. Grabel & Associates are the people you need because they seem to have a formula that works D.A.
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
The best law firm in the state. Outstanding communication and friendly. If you want or need to win your case this is the law firm that will take you there. All Personnel at this firm will do whatever it takes to win. They help me get my driver’s license back without me having to leave Alaska. From 1 to 10 THEY ARE #1 Tim K.