Revocation of Driver's License in Michigan
If you have had your driver’s license revoked in Michigan, then you have likely had to endure some difficult or stressful circumstances. People lose their driving privileges for different reasons, but driving is such a necessity in Michigan, so the punishment can feel unfair or harsh. These hardships can result in the loss of employment, an inability to get to work, social functions, and transport children. There is also the unspoken hardship of strain on important relationships, because you have to rely on other people to get to the places you need to go.
You really need a driver’s license in Michigan to be a productive adult. Thankfully there is an end in sight, and you are on your way to driver’s license restoration. Grabel & Associates offers you the opportunity to get it right the first time. This is important, because you only have one chance a year at a driver’s license restoration hearing. We have an experienced team of attorneys who specialize in restoring people’s revoked driver’s licenses in Michigan. We are so confident that we can deliver a great outcome for your situation, that we guarantee we will win your first driver’s license restoration hearing, or we will represent you free of charge until you win. First, let’s examine the difference between a revocation and a suspension, then talk about the law and review exactly how to get you back on the road.
A revocation is a more permanent situation than a suspension of driving privileges. If your driver’s license is suspended, then you have to wait until the suspension period is over and pay a reinstatement fee to get back on the road. It is not unusual to be required to use a restricted driver’s license after a suspension before the Secretary of State reinstates a person’s full driving privileges. However, a revocation is different, because you no longer have a driver’s license. There is no period of time that you can wait until it will get reinstated. Instead, there is a period of time that you must wait before you can apply for a driver’s license restoration hearing.
There are different reasons why a person’s driver’s license may be revoked. Multiple drinking and driving offenses are the most common reasons, but your license can also be revoked for having a physical, mental, or other issue that prevents you from safely operating a vehicle. You can also have your driver’s license revoked if you cause an accident where serious injury or death occurred and you left the scene of the accident. Additionally, reckless driving and committing a felony in which a motor vehicle was used can result in a revocation of all driving privileges. If you have had your driving privileges revoked, you may need to undergo a driver’s license restoration hearing or a driver’s license reexamination.
Determining Eligibility for Driver’s License Restoration
The eligibility requirements for a driver’s license restoration hearing depend on why a person’s license was revoked, and if it had been revoked before. The most common situation for a revocation is when a person has multiple drinking and driving offenses in Michigan. If this is the case, there are generally three time frames to consider when determining if you are eligible for a driver’s license restoration hearing. First, it must be a year since your conviction. Second, you must have gone a year without being caught driving on a revoked license. Finally, you must be sober for a year to apply for a driver’s license restoration. However, if you have had three or more OWI’s in the past ten years, then you will not be eligible for five years. This means that you will have to wait five years from the date of the revocation before requesting a driver’s license restoration hearing. It is worth noting you will need a year of sobriety before you request a driver’s license restoration hearing in either scenario.
The Standard of Proof: Clear and Convincing Evidence
Under MCL 257.302, a person with two or more drunk driving convictions is considered a “habitual offender.” What this means for the purposes of a driver’s restoration hearing is that it will be necessary to demonstrate that you have fixed your drinking problem and it will not be likely to occur again. How convincing must the proof be to win? That is what the standard of proof tells us, and the standard of proof at a driver’s license restoration hearing is clear and convincing evidence. The driver’s license restoration hearing will be held in front of a branch of the Secretary of State called the Office of Hearings and Administrative, formerly called the Administrative Hearings Section (AHS). A hearing officer will conduct the proceedings and will preside over the hearing like a judge in a courtroom. He will make the final determination and decide whether you have met your burden of proof.
Clear and convincing evidence is defined as proof that is substantially more likely to be true than untrue. This is a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt that is used in criminal cases, but a higher standard than a preponderance of the evidence that is used in civil trials. Therefore, it is necessary to rebut the presumption of being a habitual offender by proving all of the following elements by clear and convincing evidence.
The Elements You Must Prove by Clear and Convincing Evidence
Here are the elements you must prove by clear and convincing evidence. Your proof will consist of the documents, evidence, and forms you prepare before you make your request for a hearing and the actual testimony and answers you give the hearing officer during the hearing. Here are the elements that you must prove:
- that your substance abuse issues are under control and likely to remain under control
- that you represent a low risk of drinking or being under the influence of illicit substances and driving again
- that you have the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law
- that you have the minimum one-year period of abstinence from drinking or illicit substances
This may not seem fair, because you might not view yourself as having a drinking problem. However, Under MCL 257.302 you are considered to be a habitual offender. The burden is on you to prove by clear and convincing evidence that your drinking is under control and likely to remain that way.
The Evidence and Documents You Need to Request for Your Driver’s License Restoration Hearing
Requesting a driver’s license restoration hearing is a confusing maze of paperwork and documents. Here is an outline of the documents, evidence, and forms that you will require to win a driver’s license restoration hearing. First, you will need a laboratory based 12 panel drug screen that includes a specific gravity measurement and a creatinine level measurement. Instant 12 panel drug screens will lack these necessary measurements, so make sure you know what you are paying for. Second, you will need a state licensed substance abuse evaluator to complete a substance abuse evaluation including Secretary of State form 257. It is important to work with a skilled substance abuse evaluator, because not all of them generate reports with a high evidentiary value to help you win at your driver’s license restoration hearing. Grabel & Associates has been winning driver’s license restoration hearings in Michigan for more than 15 years, and has the experience to guide you to the most reputable evaluator in your area.
The next pieces of evidence that you will need to collect are your reference letters that document your sobriety and a form of evidence that supports your sobriety. You will need at least three, but not more than six letters. They should all be signed and notarized. You should ask friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and support group members for reference letters. The letters should include information about how the person knows you, how long they have known you, when was the last time they know or saw you consume drugs or alcohol, and any positive information they have noticed since you have gotten sober.
You have several additional options for the evidence you collect that supports your sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting attendance slips are considered the “gold standard” for driver’s license restoration hearing officers, but is not required. Also, you can also use Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) meeting attendance. SMART is a relatively new support group that is non-12 step that takes a scientific approach to recovery. The focus is on learning positive sober life coping strategies like reading, hiking, and exercise. You can also get a letter from a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. Different approaches work for different people. Recovery does not have to be a one-size fits all program. You can also use two or three of the strategies described above to create a comprehensive program. The goal is to convince the hearing officer that you have taken measures to ensure that you remain sober and the problems of the past are not likely to resurface.
Requesting your Driver’s License Restoration Hearing
Once you have put all of the evidence together, then you will combine them with a hearing request using Secretary of State form 258. If all of the paperwork is not in order, then the Secretary of State will not issue you a hearing date. This can cause you to have to resubmit all of the documents and can cause a lengthy delay. Therefore, you absolutely should consult the expert driver’s license restoration attorneys at Grabel & Associates. You will receive your hearing date in the mail in two to three months.
The Hearing – Getting the Green light
The hearing is where all of your hard work and dedication pays off. Our expert legal counsel will prepare you for the types of questions you should expect to encounter from the hearing officer, and will be in an excellent position to present your case and sing your praises. Few people would deny a glowing recommendation always sounds better coming from somebody else. You can leave the hearing feeling confident that we have worked hard to include you in our 97% first time win rate. You should receive your notification of the hearing officer’s decision within one month.
Out of State Clearance: Two Bites of the Apple and Full Driving Privileges
If you have moved out of Michigan and your license is still revoked in Michigan, then you will have to resolve the issue with the state of Michigan and get a clearance before your new home state will issue a driver’s license. There are two clear benefits to living in a different state. First, if you win you will full clearance from Michigan Secretary of State, and you will not have to use a restricted driver’s license for a year. Second, you will have two attempts in one year to win your driver’s license back. The first attempt is called “administrative review” and is only available to people who now live outside of the state of Michigan. Administrative review is when you collect all of your evidence and send it in by mail. A Secretary of State representative will review your file and issue a decision. It is worth noting that assembling the documents correctly is even more important for administrative review, because there is no hearing. If you do not get a favorable decision, then you can immediately apply for a full in-person driver’s license restoration hearing. This is a great situation, because if you lived in Michigan and were denied you would be required to wait another year to try again. Additionally, the in-person hearing does not necessarily have to be in person. There is an option to teleconference in to the hearing. Once you obtain a favorable decision the Secretary of State will issue a clearance and lift the hold on your driver’s license. Consequently, your new home state will issue you a full driver’s license upon taking whatever test is required in your home state.
Contact one of our experienced driver’s license restoration attorneys today to find out how we can help you through the complicated process of driver’s license restoration to succeed the first time.