Not having the ability to drive can significantly affect how you conduct your day-to-day life. Whether it’s commuting to work or school or driving to important appointments, your life is not the same without being able to drive.
If you have been arrested for a DUI/OWI in Michigan, trying to get your driver’s license reinstated is a lengthy and complex process. There are two kinds of administrative hearings for drunk driving cases: the driver license restoration hearing and the implied consent hearing.
Driver’s License Restoration Hearings
In Michigan, a driver who has had his/her license suspended/revoked for multiple DUI offenses will be required to request a hearing with the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).
If convicted of two DUIs within seven years, you must wait at least one full year from the most recent DUI to apply. If convicted of three or more DUIs within a 10-year span, you must wait at least five years from the last conviction. Remember, you can file your petition up to six weeks before your eligibility date.
In a DAAAD hearing, you need to understand that the burden of proof is on you. The hearing officer will start with the assumption that you have a substance abuse issue and that you are not going to regain your driving privileges. It is up to you to provide clear and convicting evidence that your problem is under control and that you are of minimal risk for another DUI offense.
At the DAAD hearing, you will need the following documents to provide evidence of sobriety:
- Substance Abuse Evaluation – This needs to be completed—by a licensed substance abuse counselor—on the form contained within the petition along with your request for a hearing.
- Drug Screen – There is also a section in the petition for a drug screen, specifically a 10-panel drug screen. You must have an accredited place do your drug screen and substance abuse evaluation to ensure it is done properly, so look for places that have experience with the restoration hearing petitions.
- Letters of Community Support – Also known as a reference or testimonial letters, they should include a broad sampling of friends, family, recovery members, and co-workers who can attest to your sobriety. Three to six letters are needed.
- Petition – The petition itself needs to contain all of the correct information, such as your driving history, substance abuse history, specifics of your convictions, and sobriety.
At the hearing, the hearing officer will ask various questions and cover topics about the information in your petition, the letters of support, your drinking history, your sobriety, your recovery, and other areas. If you lose your restoration hearing, you have to wait another year before you are eligible to reapply. Although you may appeal the DAAD’s denial to the circuit court under the allegation of “abuse of discretion,” it is a much tougher legal battle.
It is critical to be represented by a lawyer with years of experience in successfully representing clients at such hearings and preparing the required documents.
Implied Consent Hearings
If you have allegedly refused to consent to a chemical test after a DUI arrest, this is known as a violation of Michigan’s implied consent law. If you are charged with such violation, then you need to request a hearing within 14 days of your arrest. A failure to make your request within 14 days will lead to driver’s license suspension for one or two years.