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License Restoration Quick Start to Getting back on the Road

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The following is a short overview of the driver’s license appeal and clearance process required by Michigan Secretary of State’s Office of Hearing and Administrative Oversight (OHAO).

Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance appeals are complex. They are decided by Rule 13,  of the Michigan Driver License General Rules, which reads:

The hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence, all of the following:

  1. That the petitioner’s alcohol or substance abuse problems, if any, are under control and likely to remain under control.
  2. That the risk of the petitioner repeating his or her past abusive behavior is a low or minimal risk.
  3. That the risk of the petitioner repeating the act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by, or under the influence of, alcohol or controlled substances or a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance or repeating any other offense listed in section 303(1)(d), (e), or (f) or (2)(c), (d), (e), or (f) of the act is a low or minimal risk.
  4. That the petitioner has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law.
  5. Other showings that are relevant to the issues identified in paragraphs (i) to (iv) of this subdivision.

To even start the license appeal process, you must first be legally eligible.

The Secretary of State rules determining eligibility are very specific, and cannot be shortened or modified, no matter how much you need a license:

  1. If your license was revoked for 2 DUI’s within 7 years, you must wait at least 1 full year from the last conviction to be eligible to apply.
  2. If your license was revoked for 3 DUI’s within 10 years, you must wait at least 5 years from that last conviction to be eligible to apply.

You can file for your hearing up to 6 weeks before your actual eligibility date.

Being able to apply, though, doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near able to win. As I’ll make clear in the following sections, there are things you must be able to prove to have any chance of winning a restoration or clearance case, and the first among them is that you have honestly quit drinking.

Michigan License Reinstatement Documents

To begin, you must undergo a substance use evaluation (often, but incorrectly referred to as a “substance abuse evaluation”).

  • The substance use evaluation (SUE) must be completed by a licensed substance abuse counselor and requires very specific information.  It is, without a doubt, the most important single piece of evidence in every license appeal case.
  • If the evaluation doesn’t hold up legally, then the whole case collapses, your appeal will be denied, and you’ll have to wait at least another year to try again.

Accordingly, you must submit a legally adequate and favorable evaluation to have any chance of success in a driver’s license restoration or clearance case.

In addition to the Secretary of State’s request for hearing and SUE form, you must also submit a minimum or 3 (and a maximum of 6) letters of support, also called “testimonial letters.”

  • The role of these letters is, collectively, as important as the substance use evaluation, and taken together, these 2 pieces of evidence are the foundation of a winning appeal.
  • The content of these letters is critical, because they must also contain certain and specific information. Also, what’s NOT in these letters is every bit as important as what is.

Once the completed paperwork is filed with the Secretary of State, a date for your hearing will be set, and your case assigned to one of the OHAO hearing officers.
At the hearing, every hearing officer will ask some of the same core questions – but each on also has his or her own particular areas of interest they’ll explore in order to help them decide whether or not to grant your appeal.
Beyond that, the specific questions asked by each officer will vary, depending on a broad range of factors, like if you are involved in AA, or not.
You need to be thoroughly prepared for all this, and not just for the hearing in general, but also for the particular hearing officer to whom your case is assigned.

During the hearing, you will be asked a lot of questions. Hearings generally last about a half hour, and the decision is usually mailed out several weeks thereafter.
This, in a nutshell is basically how the Michigan driver’s license restoration process works.
If you’re serious about winning your case the first time, and really want to get back on the road, read through the various pages of this website section and the Drivers’ License Restoration section of our blog, where I have written and posted hundreds upon hundreds of articles that examine every facet of the license appeal process in detail.
Of course, if you’re looking to win your license back, you want to do that the first time around. 
As  genuine Michigan drivers license restoration attorneys, our services come with a first time win guarantee. You simply can’t do any better than that.

The real cost of losing your license appeal is being stuck having to rely on other people to get around for another whole year.
We can make sure that doesn’t happen.

My team and I know exactly what to do, and how to do it to get you back on the road. We don’t cut corners to compete with anyone on cost. Instead, we do what’s necessary to win the first time around.
NOBODY can compete with how we do license appeals, nor can anyone match our success, much less guarantee to win, like we do.
When you’re ready to learn more, call our office. My team and I are really friendly people who will be glad to answer your questions, explain things, and even compare notes with anything some other lawyer has told you.
All of our consultations are free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call (during normal business hours).
We can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST), at either 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980.