Preparing for Your Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Hearing

Driver's License Restoration

Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Attorney

Driver’s license restoration and clearance hearings are very complex. A ton of preparation goes into filling out the petition and getting all the necessary documentation such as driving records, substance abuse evaluation, 10-panel drug screen, reference and testimonial letters, and then finally, the hearing itself. Even the slightest problem or trivial inconsistency or discrepancy can cost you your license which means you have to wait another year before you can re-petition. It is important to get it done right the first time. In order to do that, you need to be represented by a lawyer with vast experience in driver’s license reinstatement hearings who is very familiar with the requirements and the ins and outs of the Driver’s Assessment and Appeals Division (DAAD) hearings.

What the Petitioner Must Prove

The petitioner’s burden of proof is governed by DAAD Rule 13 which requires the petitioner prove the following by “clear and convincing evidence.”

  1. The petitioner’s alcohol and substance abuse problems are under control and are likely to remain under control.
  2. The risk of petitioner repeating his past abusive behavior is a low or minimal risk.
  3. The risk of petitioner engaging in any form of drunk driving, impaired driving, or drugged driving is a low or minimal risk.
  4. The petitioner has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law.
  5. Anything else that is relevant to the above issues.

When am I Eligible to Get My Michigan Driver’s License Back

If convicted of two DUIs within seven-years you must wait at least one full year from the last DUI to apply. If convicted of three or more DUIs within 10-years you must wait at least five years from the last conviction. You can file your petition up to six weeks before your eligibility date.

Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Hearing Documents

  1. Substance Abuse Evaluation—This must be completed on the form contained within the petition along with your request for a hearing. It must be completed by a licensed substance abuse counselor. The form requires precise and very specific information and the slightest problem can cause your entire petition to collapse. This is without a doubt the single most important document affecting the outcome of your hearing.
  2. Drug Screen—There is also a section in the petition for a drug screen, particularly a 10-panel drug screen. If it is not the right kind, the DAAD will not accept it and your petition will be denied. It is important that you have an accredited place do your drug screen and substance abuse evaluation to assure it is done correctly and that it provides the information and terminology the DAAD is looking for. You should look for places that have experience with the restoration hearing petitions. Your driver’s license restoration attorney should be able to recommend some companies and counselors if you are not sure.
  3. Letters of Community Support—Also known as reference or testimonial letters. They should include a broad sampling of family, friends, recovery members, and co-workers who can attest to your sobriety. Three to six letters are required. I usually have clients complete five. They must be notarized and provide a contact number.
  4. Petition—The actual petition must be completed with accurate information. It includes a variety of personal information along with specifics of your convictions, driving history, substance abuse history, and sobriety.

The Hearing

Finally the day arrives for your hearing infront of the DAAD hearing officer at the local Secretary of State branch office. The hearing officer will cover a variety of questions and topics about the information contained in your petition, the support letters, your sobriety, your drinking history, your recovery, and other areas. There are also some crucial areas that you must successfully address. If not, you will fail.

If you cannot honestly tell the officer that you have not driven since you lost your license, you will lose your hearing. If you cannot demonstrate complete abstinence for at least one year, you will fail. That means no drinking. Period. If you have any pending criminal charges or are currently on probation or parole, you will be denied. If you have any medical problems that would prevent you from driving safely (narcolepsy, blackouts, seizures) you will not get your license. Few people realize how fatal the last one can be. You can present other witnesses if you wish, but usually it is not needed and can backfire. A good witness will usually not add anything a well written reference letter can’t cover.

If you lose your restoration hearing, you have to wait another year before re-applying. You can appeal the DAAD’s denial to the circuit court alleging “abuse of discretion,” but this is a tough standard to prevail on and they are rarely successful. It only gets tougher the next time around because not only do you have to demonstrate the proofs required in Rule 13, but you have to prove that the reason you were denied the last time no longer exists or is under control. Statistically speaking, your best chance is your first petition, but only if it is done right. It is important you be represented by an attorney with substantial experience in successfully representing clients at such hearings and preparing the necessary documentation.

Michigan Driver’s License Restoration and Reinstatement Lawyer

We never charge for the first consultation. We will discuss your eligibility and how we can help you get back on the road so you don’t have to depend on other people for rides. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan driver’s license restoration and reinstatement lawyer today!

Representing clients in driver’s license appeals and restorations and ignition interlock violations throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Jackson, Washtenaw, Clinton, Gratiot, Barry, Shiawassee, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and in the cities of Lansing, Charlotte, Howell, Jackson, Ann Arbor, St. Johns, Ithaca, Hastings, Corunna, Durand, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids.