How to get your Michigan driver’s license reinstated after a DUI
Contact our DUI lawyers about getting your revoked or suspended MI driver’s license back
Losing your driver’s license is one of the many harsh penalties that come with a Michigan driving under the influence (DUI) conviction.
But did you know that you may be able to get your suspended driver’s license back? Revoked licenses can be restored, too, though there may be restrictions.
You could be eligible to have your Michigan driver’s license restored right now, but you must take action. In many cases, if you do not file for a license suspension reinstatement within a specific timeframe, you lose the option to get your license back early. Sometimes, the window to apply is just two weeks.
Do I qualify to get my MI driver’s license back after a DUI or OWI?
You likely do: Most people with DUIs (or OWI – operating while intoxicated) qualify to apply for a driver’s license reinstatement hearing, but there is a minimum wait period. This wait-time largely depends on the exact nature of why you were arrested for DUI, past drunk driving convictions (if any), and whether people were injured or killed. A lawyer can do the research necessary to determine your eligibility review date.
In general, here are the wait periods:
- 1st implied consent suspension – If you refuse to take a legally requested breathalyzer or another type of blood alcohol content (BAC) test, your driver’s license may be suspended for 1 year. You must appeal that suspension by requesting a hearing within 14 days after the date of refusal. Otherwise, your license will be automatically suspended for the full penalty. A restricted license may be available if the suspension results in a hardship.
- 2nd or more implied consent suspension within 7 years – Refusal on more than one occasion may increase your suspension to 2 years. You cannot request a restricted license due to hardship on a 2nd or subsequent implied consent suspension.
- 1st Operating While Impaired Conviction – Your license will be restricted for 90 days.
- 1st DUI or OWI conviction – Michigan requires at least a 6-month suspension of driving privileges for a 1st In many cases, however, a restricted license will be granted after 30 days.
- 1st DUI or OWI “Super Drunk” conviction - If your 1st DUI was a “super drunk” conviction (your BAC was allegedly 0.17 or higher), there is a minimum 1-year license suspension, but a restricted license may be granted after 45 days. You will have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car as a condition of that restricted license.
- 2 DUI or OWI convictions within 7 years – You may apply for reinstatement after 1 year.
- 3 DUI or OWI convictions within 10 years – You may apply for reinstatement after 5 year.
What is the driver’s license restoration process like in Michigan?
Once your eligibility review date is determined, your lawyer can file an official request for a hearing with the Secretary of State. A successful application hearing usually requires three types of evidence:
- A clean drug and/or alcohol test (substance use evaluation) – You must pass a 12-panel urinalysis drug screen, conducted by an approved lab, within 90 days of sending in your hearing request. The screening typically costs around $300.
- Evidence that supports your sobriety – This can be anything that demonstrates your commitment to sobriety, like proof that you have attended Alcoholics Anonymous or another structured substance abuse program.
- Three to six support letters from family, friends, coworkers, or others who see you regularly and can testify to your sobriety – Each letter must be notarized, dated, and have the address and phone number of the person who wrote it. Information contained in the letter should include how the person knows you and for how long, the last time they say you used or have knowledge of you using alcohol or drugs, how long you have been alcohol/drug-free, and how your attitude has changed due to your sobriety.
The Secretary of State (SOS) officer will come to a decision about reinstatement on the day of the hearing or several weeks later.
Filing an appeal
Sometimes, applications for reinstatement are unfairly denied.
If your request was rejected and you did not have a Michigan DUI defense lawyer before, you really need one now. Not just anyone can appeal, as certain legal standards must be met. To file an appeal, one of the following must be true:
- The hearing was conducted in violation of the Constitution or a statute.
- The decision exceeded the secretary of state’s authority or jurisdiction.
- The decision was made using an unlawful procedure that resulted in material prejudice.
- The decision was not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence.
- The decision was arbitrary, capricious, or clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion.
- The hearing officer’s decision was affected by other substantial and material error of law.
Your appeal will go to the local circuit court. In general, you must have a very strong case for one court to overrule another decision. Our law firm builds cases that can stand up to whatever challenge the state may throw your way.
Apply to start legally driving again after a DUI
Getting your driver’s license back after a DUI can be complicated. The process involves a lot of legal paperwork, collection of evidence, and state hearings. A misstep at any point along the way could ruin your chances. You may not be able to reapply for a long time. You must get this right.
Manley & Manley is a trusted criminal defense law firm serving all of Michigan. We have a focus on defending people against DUI allegations and helping those who want to get their driver’s licenses back. Our Michigan DUI lawyers know how to handle applications for reinstatement. We have the experience that gets results.
Put yourself in the best position to get your Michigan driver’s license back. Contact Manley & Manley to schedule a free legal case consultation and find out what we can do to help you.