Hardship Appeal: Challenging Your Driver’s License Suspension

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If your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, you may be able to seek and get relief in the circuit court. You will have to convince the court that the revocation or suspension of your license is creating a “hardship.” I will discuss in more detail what that means and when you can ask the circuit court for relief.
 

What Types of Suspensions May be Appealed for Hardship

 

 

Under MCL 257.323(3) a petitioner may appeal to the circuit court for the following types of suspensions:
  1. points, accidents, or incompetency to drive MCL 257.320
  2. driving while the license is suspended or revoked MCL 257.904(10),(11)
  3. a first implied consent suspension MCL 257.625f
  4. probationary license suspensions MCL 257.310d
  5. physical or mental disability suspensions MCL 257.303(1)(d)
 

What Types of Hardships Cannot be Appealed for Hardship

 

  1. Suspensions listed under MCL 257.319 (e.g. reckless driving)
  2. Suspensions due to financial responsibility (however, if a procedural error led to a financial responsibility suspension, that may be appealed)
 

Filing the Claim of Appeal

 

Michigan Court Rules (MCR) 7.120 states that all claims of appeals must conform to MCR 7.104(C)(1). A claim of appeal must include:
  1. appellant’s full name, current address, date of birth, and driver’s license number
  2. state that “[Appellant] claims an appeal from the decision entered on [date] by the Secretary of State” and
  3. concise statements of the following:
    1. the nature of any determination by the Secretary of State
    2. the nature authorizing the Secretary of State’s determinations
    3. the subsection of MCL 257.323 under which the appeal is taken;
    4. and the facts on which venue is based.
The claim of appeal must be signed and you must attach as exhibits a copy of the Secretary of State’s determination and any affidavits supporting the claim of appeal.
 

Determining Venue

 

Venue is proper for a hardship restoration petition to the circuit court if it is:
  1. in the county of the arrest (if the denial or suspension was for an implied consent refusal)
  2. pursuant to the order of the district court under MCL 257.328 (proof of insurance violations); or
  3. in the driver’s county of residence for all other cases.

 

What Needs to be Filed and Paid

 

When seeking a hardship license, the following have to be filed with the circuit court:
  1. an appeal for restoration form
  2. an order to show cause
  3. filing fee
On the day of the final hearing, the appellant will need to bring an order of restoration and the judgment fee. In some jurisdictions the judgment fee is due at the time of filing so check with the court clerk before filing. Also, be sure to have at least three copies of all pleadings with you.
 

Detailing the Hardship

 

Probably the most important part of this process is convincing the court that you need a license because to do without one is causing an undue hardship. It is important to present enough evidence to convince the court of this. Here are some important points to stress during the pleadings and the hearing.
  • Describe the effect the suspension has on the appellant’s ability to earn a living or provide for his family
  • Be honest and reasonable– if your driving record is pages long of infractions and violations or the current suspension is a long one, concede that your driving privileges should not be completely restored
  • Be willing to accept that your driving privileges may be restricted to essential driving activities, such as work, medical treatment
  • If you are appealing an implied consent refusal, you must state that public transportation is unavailable and that you have no family members who can provide transportation

Deadlines for Filing

 

Hardship appeals must be filed within 63 days of the date “the determination is made” under MCL 257.323(1). The determination date is the date of the order and not the date of the hearing. The filing deadline may be extended to 182 days if good cause is shown.  While filing a hardship appeal does not stay the enforcement of the suspension, an appellant may file for a stay of enforcement under MCL 257.323a.
 

The Final Hearing

 

The Secretary of State will be represented by an assistant Attorney General or an assistant local prosecutor. This is essentially when you get to orally make an appeal to the court. All positive points should be emphasized such as a successful alcohol assessment, AA attendance, rehab completion as well as detailing the hardship such as not being able to get to work and no reasonably alternative means of transportation are available.
If the court grants your appeal, make sure you have an order of restoration ready. If the court does not grant your appeal, request another one in approximately three months.
 

Implied Consent Appeals

 

If you appeal is from a refusal to submit to a chemical test such as breath, blood, or urine, the judge is limited to determining whether the implied consent hearing officer’s findings were supported by substantial, material, and competent evidence on the whole record and the findings were not contrary to law. For these hearings the Secretary of State must be given at least 50 days notice. Also make sure you get the transcript from the hearing because they are only kept for 182 days.
 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

 

Losing your driving privileges is very difficult and stressful and it provides a hardship not only on your but on those around you who are either counting on you to be their provider or those who now become your defacto chauffeurs. The process is very tedious and cumbersome. While you can represent yourself, it is not recommended. You need someone with experience who can walk you through the process and who knows the ins and outs as to what works and what doesn’t. A lawyer will also help you be prepared for the day of the hearing. The stakes are too high to risk losing. Consult with a driver’s license appeals attorney in your area to handle your appeal.
If you need to challenge your driver’s license suspension or implied consent refusal, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today to speak to a Michigan driver’s license appeals attorney about your hardship license.
Representing clients and helping them get their driver’s license restored and appealing driver’s license suspensions throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Clinton, Barry, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Kent in the cities of Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Hastings, Corunna, Ann Arbor, Brighton, Howell.

Restoring Your Michigan Driving Privileges

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Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Appeals and Restoration Attorney

GETTING YOUR MICHIGAN DRIVER’S LICENSE BACK

In Michigan, if you have two or more drunk driving convictions (OWI, OWVI, OUIL, UBAL) within seven years or three such convictions within ten years, you will lose your driving privileges and have to pay dearly to get them back. Losing your license for any length of time can be burdensome;not only on yourself but on those around you who have now become your defacto chauffeurs. And if you have more than one revocation within seven years, you will have to wait five years before applying to get your driving privileges back.When it comes to drunk driving, Michigan doesn’t mess around.

Your first step in getting your license back after you have waited the mandatory time period, is to apply for a hearing with the Drivers Assessment and Appeals Division (DAAD). The burden of proof is on you, the petitioner, to demonstrate through “clear and convincing evidence” that you deserve to have your license back. At a bare minimum, you will have to demonstrate and affirm complete abstinence from alcohol for at least six months and in many cases a year (or even longer if your BAC was 0.20 or higher, you relapsed, or have three or more drunk driving convictions). That means no drinking. Period.

That’s right—no afternoon cocktails, evening nightcaps, or even a glass of wine at Cousin Bill’s wedding. Any of those incidents will immediately get you disqualified and you’ll have to wait another year to re-apply. You will also have to show that you are at minimum a low risk of being a repeat offender, and that you have the ability and motivation to obey the law.

In your petition is a section for an alcohol assessment which needs to be completed by a professional. It is important that the outcome of this assessment is good and at a minimum shows you are a low risk for alcohol or substance use or abuse. Ideally, the results should be that you are no risk and that your sobriety should continue.

As evidence, you will need quality letters of reference and recommendation. While the DAAD requests three, I always tell clients to have five. Make sure they are people who can attest to your character and your abstention from alcohol. Letters from clergy, AA sponsors are always good ones to have. You will also need letters and proof that you have completed and are still attending treatment programs, 12-step programs, AA meetings, Sobriety Court, etc. Without these you will not get your license back. You can also have character witnesses to testify on your behalf at the hearing. Also, very important: make sure you have paid your driver responsibility fees!

If successful. the DAAD will authorize a restricted license and require you to use an ignition interlock device. After another year, you can petition again for full driving privileges. If you are denied, you can always appeal to the circuit court, but don’t get your hopes up. Appeals to the circuit court are often costly and rarely render a positive result. Your best bet is to prevail at the DAAD hearing.

Do you need a lawyer to handle your appeal? It isn’t required, but I would never advise anyone to go it alone. The process is very tedious and complicated and for those unfamiliar with the process and what the board is really looking for, it is overwhelming. Also, if your appeal for re-instatement is denied, you have to wait a full year before re-applying! The risks are too high and your diving privileges are too important. Plus, an experienced attorney can tell you exactly what the DAAD is looking for and what will definitely get you disqualified. Experienced attorneys can also tell you what you’ll need and what you won’t need as well as preparing your witnesses for the hearing officer’s questioning. Statistics show that your chances of prevailing are much better when you have a lawyer. Your diving privileges are too important. It’s worth the investment to get your license back.

 

If your license has been suspended due to OWI drunk driving offenses, call Austin Legal Services today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney. Let us help you get back on the road.

Representing driver’s license appeals and restoration Clients throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Livingston, Shiawassee, Kent, Clinton, Barry, and Gratiot and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Corunna, Grand Rapids.