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Getting Your Driver’s License Restored

A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. In Michigan, one’s license is subject to restriction, suspension, or even revocation for various reasons. The reason the license was restricted/suspended/revoked usually dictates when and whether or not the licensee will regain full driving privileges.

Restrictions/suspensions/revocations, although once within the power of the courts, now are purely administrative actions. Upon notification by the courts of a conviction of specific moving violations, the Secretary of State will notify the driver of any licensing sanction that by law accompanies the conviction. Likewise, the Secretary of State conducts reexaminations of drivers. The most common reason for reexaminations are:

♦Accruing 12 or more points within a two year period;

♦Incurring 3 at-fault accidents within a two year period;

♦Causing a traffic fatality;

♦The department receives notice that a driver may have a serious medical condition;

♦Violation of a restricted license.

A driver is entitled to be represented by counsel at a reexamination.A restricted license does just that, it “restricts” one’s driving privileges. A restricted license may be the result of a conviction of a specific offense, for example: operating while visibly impaired, first offense. A license is also often restricted when a driver accrues 12 or more points on their driving record within a two year period, or is found at fault for three accidents within a two year period.

A license suspension cancels a driver’s privilege to drive, usually for a defined period of time, for example: 90 days, 6 months, 1 year. The driver’s privilege will be returned at the endo of that period, provided no other violations have occurred and all other requirements issued by the Secretary of State have been met. Suspension can also be for an indefinite period. For instance, failure to pay a traffic ticket, regardless of the offense, will result in the automatic suspension of a license, until such time as that ticket is taken care of and a reinstatement fee is paid to the Secretary of State.

A revocation is the most serious action as it completely terminates the driving privilege. There is no right to the reinstatement of the license, only the right to apply for reinstatement. Most commonly a license is revoked for two or more convictions for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence during a seven year period. Upon two convictions within seven years, a license is typically revoked for 1 year. However, if a driver were to be convicted of three such offenses within ten years, the license shall be revoked for a minimum of 5 years. A driver cannot appeal for a restricted license for a revocation that resulted from the conviction of a drinking and driving offense.

In the event of a revocation for multiple drinking and driving offenses, the driver must meet specific criteria in order to be eligible for reinstatement. Foremost, the requisite revocation period (1 or 5 years) must have passed. No other driving violations must have occurred during that period. (Any moving violation received during a period of suspension or revocation will result in the imposition of a like term suspension or revocation. In other words, if a driver who’s license is revoked for 1 year is ticketed and convicted for speeding, his/her license will be revoked for another 1 year period from the date of the new violation.) The driver must prove sobriety for a period of 6 months to 1 year depending upon the circumstances. The driver is expected to present testimony from three to six people, either in person or in writing, to attest to his/her sobriety. The driver must present a favorable Substance Abuse Evaluation from a licensed counselor, along with a negative ten panel drug screen. As with a reexamination, a driver is entitled to be represented by an attorney at the hearing. Following the hearing, the Secretary of State can deny the request for reinstatement, reinstate the license with restrictions and requirements, or grant full reinstatement of driving privileges without limitation.

Should a driver be denied the reinstatement of his/her driving privilege, an appeal can be made to the circuit court only if the Secretary of State’s action was:

♦In violation of the Constitution of the United States, or the State Constitution of 1963, or of a statute;

♦In excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the Secretary of State;

♦Made upon unlawful procedure resulting in material prejudice to the petitioner;

♦Not supported by substantial, material, and competent evidence on the whole record;

♦Arbitrary, capricious, or clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion;

♦Affected by other substantial and material error of law.