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The First Thing You need to Know About License Restorations

Home Blog Driver's License Restoration The First Thing You need to Know About License Restorations

You must meet certain legal criteria to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal. This is true no matter how much you may need or want your license back.

Our firm guarantees to win every restoration and clearance case we take – however we only accept those that qualify.

There is a lot that goes into a license appeal case, but none of it matters unless a person has honestly quit drinking. The restoration process is designed to screen out anyone who still drinks, or even thinks they can ever drink again. The driver’s license appeal rules require a person to prove him or herself to be clean and sober. 

The Michigan Secretary of State has a very specific process for this.


In Michigan, anyone who racks up 2 DUI’s within 7 years or 3 within 10 years is automatically categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” His or her driver’s license will be revoked. Legally, a “habitual alcohol offender” is presumed, by law, to have an alcohol problem.

It is therefore assumed that anyone filing a license appeal after multiple DUI’s has some kind of troubled relationship to alcohol.

The Secretary of State will NOT buy that a person who has racked up multiple DUI’s was just unlucky. Nor can it accept that he or she has learned their lesson, and can now drink safely.


Instead, the main rule governing license restoration cases has several requirements. It specifies that the hearing officer deciding a case be convinced, by “clear and convincing evidence,” of 2 key things:

1.  That the person has been COMPLETELY abstinent from alcohol and drugs. This means free of everything, including recreational marijuana, for a legally sufficient period of time. The precise amount can vary from case to case. However, as a general rule, our firm will never move forward with less than 18 months.
2.  That the person has both the ability and commitment to remain COMPLETELY abstinent for life. This means not using alcohol or any drugs, (including recreational marijuana) ever again. In other words, a person has to convince the hearing officer that he or she is a safe bet to remain sober.

The Secretary of State must be convinced that a person no longer has any relationship to alcohol or drugs. He or she must prove they have been and are likely to remain completely alcohol and drug free for life.
A lot of people misunderstand this. They think that they can explain how they’ve learned their lesson, and swear to never drink and drive again. It doesn’t work like that. 
Once a person has lost his or her license for being a repeat DUI offender, there is only ONE way to get it back. That’s by proving that he or she has honestly quit drinking and is committed to never drinking again
Anything less is simply NOT enough.   
Yet for as clear as that is, lots of people resist. They don’t want to stop drinking. Many will offer the same explanations for why they do. They’ll say that “I  –

  • don’t drink like I used to.”
  • only drink once in a while.”
  • rarely drink, except on special occasions.”
  • just have a glass of wine once in a while with dinner.”
  • would never drink and drive again.”
  • will only drink at home.”

In addition to such self-declarations, people will often say things like:

  • “Drinking is legal.”
  • “Marijuana is legal.”
  • “They want me to say I’m an alcoholic.”

And then there’s our all-time favorite – 

  • “This is bull$hit!”

Those 10 statements are basically 10 shortcuts to a loss. The Secretary of State’s goal is to eliminate as much risk as possible when restoring driving privileges for anyone revoked for multiple DUI’s

The Michigan Secretary of State knows that people who don’t drink are exactly ZERO risk to ever drive drunk. They are the safe bet, and, therefore, the only one the state will take. This is the most important thing the reader should understand about license appeals and take from this section


The law restricts the what the Secretary of State can do. It may ONLY issue a license to someone who has proven his or her sobriety. As noted, this requires proving one has been free of alcohol (and drugs) for a legally sufficient period of time. It also requires a proving one’s self to be a safe bet to never drink (or use drugs) again.

It doesn’t matter how much someone may not like these rules, or how much he or she needs a license. Neither does it matter how long he or she has been without one. Instead, the license appeal process is laser focused on sobriety.  

Winning back your driver’s license after multiple DUI’s is all about NOT drinking.

The Secretary of State knows that lots of people are going to come forward and claim to have quit drinking. It also knows that, in many cases that won’t be completely true. The hearing officers who decide these cases expect to be lied to. One of the first things they learn is how to become expert BS detectors.

Our firm wants no part of that. We win our cases fair and square, by only undertaking representation for people who have honestly been alcohol-free.

For lots of people, the sobriety requirement comes as something of a surprise. Many mistakenly believe that having paid ones fines and costs and having completed probation is enough to win back the privilege to drive. 

It’s not.  

Often, this happens because neither their DUI lawyer nor anyone in the court system understood the license restoration process. That’s unfortunate, but the cold truth is that it doesn’t matter, either. They law is there, it’s clear, and as the old saying goes, “it is what it is.”


That’s where my team and I come in. We know how to handle license restoration appeals, and we guarantee to win every case we take. However – and this is key – we only take case for people who have quit drinking, and are sober.

In the sections that follow on this site, the reader will find information about the Michigan driver’s license restoration process.  

Also, check out our blog – particularly the Driver’s License Restoration section.  It is – by far – the single biggest resource for useful information about Michigan license appeals to be found anywhere.  The blog is updated twice weekly with new articles, and is fully searchable.

Our firm is here to help win driver’s license restoration appeals. That can’t happen, though, until a person has honestly given up alcohol (and doesn’t use any other substance, including recreational marijuana).

If that describes you, call us to start the process. We can take your case no matter where you live.

All of our consultations are free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call. My team and I are very friendly people who will be glad to answer your questions, explain things, and even compare notes with anything some other lawyer has told you.

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.