If you have had your Michigan driver’s license restricted, revoked or suspended, you may feel overwhelmed by the processes you must follow in order to attempt to restore your license.
Losing Your License to Drive
You may have had too many civil or traffic infractions. You may have been convicted of criminal offenses, such as drunk driving [OWI convictions], or have driven while your license was suspended [DWLS convictions]. Under Michigan’s Implied Consent law, simply having a driver’s license means that you are required to submit to a breathalyzer. If you refuse, your license could be restricted, revoked or suspended. There are other criminal infractions, such as drug possession or drag racing or vehicular manslaughter that will lead to the revocation or suspension of your license.
Process of Restoring Your License
If you are a first time drunk driving offender, you lose your license for 30 days. In addition, your driving privileges are restricted for 150 days after that. If you plead to impaired driving in an agreement with the prosecutor, your license is not suspended, but is instead restricted for 90 days.
More serious infractions carry more serious outcomes. In those cases, your license is revoked and you must wait until the statutory timeframe for appealing the revocation has been satisfied. For these more serious circumstances, you must follow the law and the guidelines exactly. An experienced attorney will help you navigate this system.
Appeal to DAAD
The first option for restoring your driver’s license is to appeal your revocation through a petition to the Michigan Secretary or State Drivers’ Assessment and Appeal Division [known as DAAD; formerly known as DLAD]. Here, you will appear before an Administrative Law Judge and present legal justification for the restoration of your license. While this is not a court of law, the proceedings are formal, are recorded, and are binding, just as in a trial court.
You must follow the state’s very strict guidelines carefully. You are limited to one appeal per year. In many cases, you may not be able to file an appeal for at least 1 to 5 years after your conviction. It is imperative that you have excellent legal representation in order to utilize this singular opportunity. You bear the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that you should have your license restored.
In order to do so, you must show that you have:
- Stopped using alcohol
- Successfully completed alcohol therapy
- Have regularly attended a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- Produce letters from family and friends showing that living alcohol-free has created a positive lifestyle change
- You have a need to drive
If you attempt to appeal on your own, the likelihood is that you will fail. Losing an appeal means you will have to wait one more year to try again, and your odds for succeeding in subsequent appeals decreases.
Appeal in Circuit Court
Your second option is to challenge the DAAD’s decision by filing an action in Circuit Court. This is done in the county you live in. The Circuit Court judge will review the DAAD’s opinion for an abuse of discretion. This is a very, very high standard to meet. The Circuit Court judge will have to find that the DAAD judge acted in an arbitrary or unreasonable way in making his determination. Because the DAAD has strict guidelines that are followed in these types of cases, it is unlikely that this appeal will succeed.
Importance of Having an Attorney
When you want to have the best chance to have your license restored, you should work with an attorney who is able to dedicate his time and experience to your case. While you may feel that you know your situation best, your attorney knows the legal system best. Very, very few people who represent themselves in a DAAD hearing are successful. Those who do prevail know enough to have an experienced attorney with them.
Contact us Today
If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, contact the Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton today. Patrick Chatterton has the knowledge and experience to navigate the often-confusing path of the Michigan Secretary of State Drivers’ Assessment and Appeal Division.
You only get one appeal per year to reinstate your driver’s license. Be sure to have a competent, capable Michigan drivers license restoration attorney with you to take advantage of this opportunity.