Still Drinking? Forget Getting Your Driver’s License Back!

Drinking and Driver’s License Restoration

If you thinking about going through the process of restoring your driver’s license for multiple DUI* (drug or alcohol), the very first thing that is required; proving that you have quit drinking for good. This proof requires more than just saying “I have quit drinking.” It cannot be stressed enough; the first and main requirement to restore your driving privileges is that you no longer drink alcohol. “No longer drinking” means you are completely sober and able to prove it to the Hearing Officer. This is the first very basic rule: your license will NOT be restored if you still drink or even if you think you can still drink at any point in the future.

It is not uncommon to hear from people they “deserve” to be able to drink because they haven’t had a license or been in trouble for a long time. This is the kind of thinking that will keep you from having your driving privileges restored. It is the Michigan Secretary of State’s (SOS) duty, through its Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), to make sure the only people who are allowed to drive again are people who have quit drinking for good. The SOS, has a duty to protect the public by making sure that some risky drinker doesn’t get his or her license back, drive drunk again, and then kill someone. That is why I often tell clients the Hearing Officer is looking for ways to make sure you do not have your license restored. The absolute easiest way for a Hearing Officer to deny you driving privileges is for you to believe you can still drink even if you do not plan to drive!

The State’s Perspective

From the SOS’s point of view, once a person has his or her license revoked for having multiple DUIs, this person is considered too risky to be allowed to drive again until he or she quits drinking for good. The SOS will NEVER give a license back to someone with multiple DUI convictions who still drinks alcohol, or even thinks they can. The bottom line, a person with multiple DUIs has proven when they drink they make decisions that can kill or ruin someone else for life. It is considered too much of a risk to restore driving privileges to a person like this. The SOS interests for the safety of the public outweigh denying someone the privilege of driving who, by law, has been labeled a “habitual alcohol offender.” On the other hand, the SOS realizes a person who never drinks alcohol poses absolutely no risk of drinking and driving. THAT is what must be proven to the Hearing Officer.

Driving is a Privilege

It comes down to this: you have been revoked for multiple DUIs; you must prove you have quit drinking totally and for good! I again refer to those who think they “deserve” to be able to drink a little alcohol now and again AND have their driver’s license restored. When someone says things like “drinking is legal, and I’m an adult, so this isn’t fair,” or “the state is trying to take away my rights” they are obviously missing the point. Drinking, of course, is legal, but the state isn’t making you stop; you have every right to drink. Driving, however, is a privilege. It only takes a few pages into the Michigan Secretary of State’s 148-page “What Every Driver Must Know” booklet for this motto of all drivers’ education teachers to rear its head. “Please remember that driving is a privilege and not a right,” says the booklet that virtually every driver has thumbed through while waiting in line for a renewal. It is repeated so often, it almost becomes a statement of faith.

Forget Getting Your Driver's License Back if You are Still Drinking - Tips from the Experts at Lakeshore Law and Mediation

So you have a choice: do you want to drink and not drive or would you rather have the privilege of driving and give up drinking to do so? Only you can decide which has the priority. If you still think it is unfair of the SOS to deny you the privilege of driving because you want to have a few drinks then it is obvious your priority is drinking and you will NEVER get your driver’s license back. Unfair? No, the SOS is tasked with keeping our roads safe for ALL residents and someone who puts a higher priority on drinking than driving is not someone Michigan residents want on the road.

The Bottom Line

After one DUI, it would seem the person would be so shaken by the experience (and cost) they would take the necessary steps to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. In fact, that’s exactly what the court expects and after the first one still gives you a chance to “fix” this problem. If it happens a second time, the state and the courts agree that something more drastic needs to be done. It makes perfect sense why the state revokes your driver’s license after the 2nd DUI and refuses to allow you the privilege of driving until you prove you have quit drinking. After a 3rd or 4th DUI it becomes clear why it becomes harder yet to prove you have quit drinking. Unfortunately, the person with the drinking problem is usually the last one to figure out they have a problem. Instead, they usually keep doing the same thing over and over again, all for alcohol.

Imagine now, after 2 DUIs, you tell the Hearing Officer you quit drinking and driving but you still have the occasional beer at home but you learned your lesson to never drink and drive again. You have already shown that one DUI did not get your attention. It took a second DUI and the loss of your license to supposedly “get your attention”. You expect the Hearing Officer to believe after all the crap you have gone through because of alcohol that you can still drink but will not drive? ALL hearing Officers believe you cannot handle the privilege of driving if you still believe you can drink “occasionally.”

Look at it this way: If you have had two bankruptcies in the last six years would you expect a bank to give you a loan on a new house? Wouldn’t you expect the bank require proof that you have learned to handle your finances before giving you a loan? It is not any different for the SOS to expect proof that you have quit doing the thing that resulted in you losing your privilege to drive.

Are You Ready To Get Your License Back?

If you want to drive again you have to quit complaining about it not being “fair.” The only way you are going to regain the privilege of driving is by FIRST proving that you have quit drinking COMPLETELY! Prove you have quit drinking, or you can forget about driving. It does not matter how much you need a license or deserve a license or how long you have been without a license or how hard it is on friends and family to drive you around.

I would love to help you prove to the SOS that you have quit drinking. If you are still drinking I would be happy to talk with you and put you in touch with people that can help you quit so you can begin the process of getting your license back. Schedule a consultation or Call our office at 616-844-4091 and ask for me, Mike DeYoung.

* Both DUI and OWI are acronym’s for drunk driving. DUI means Driving Under the Influence whereas OWI means Operating While Intoxicated. In Michigan the proper legal acronym is OWI, but DUI is still used as a more general reference to drunk driving, mostly because it is such a well-known acronym.

New Michigan Law for Ignition Interlock Devices

A new Michigan law for vehicle breathalyzers takes effect June 6 2016

Michigan passed a new law that effects ignition interlock devices for anyone who currently has one installed or will have one installed.

Under section Sec. 625k. of Senate Bill No. 176, all ignition interlocks used in Michigan must be capable of taking a picture of the person who provides a breath sample.

It will also be required to record the time and date of the sample provided.

 

Michgan Law for Ignition Interlock Devices, or Vehicle Breathalyzers, starts in June 2016. LakeshoreLawandMediation.com

This new law takes effect June 6, 2016

The June 6, 2016 deadline requires that all new units installed will need to meet these requirements.

It also means that anyone who currently has an older-style device that doesn’t take photos, will need to get a new one.

Failure to do so could result in a violation!

 

 

Sec. 525k of Senate Bill No. 176

The section of this new breathalyzer law requiring digital images states: “Ensure that a BAIID is capable of recording a digital image of the individual providing the sample, and record the time and date the sample was provided on or logically associated with the digital image.”

It also states, “BAIID presented to the department for certification may include additional technological features, including, but not limited to, the ability to remotely report information collected by the device.”

What this means for Michigan residents

Michigan residents who currently have a vehicle breathalyzer, or those will be required to get one, must install a new device which takes a photo of the person who is providing the breath sample.

The reason for the change is improved accuracy in reporting. It specifically prohibits another person from providing the breath sample to allow the vehicle to start. The improved devices are another way that technology is keeping drunk drivers off the road.

The additional cost of the more advanced ignition interlock devices is the responsibility of the driver. Drivers who are required to have one, and don’t, can face violations of their probationary driving period.

 

If you need legal assistance regarding any type of driver’s license issue, call the experts at Lakeshore Law & Mediation or email us today!

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Difference Between Driving with License Revoked Charge vs. Driving While Suspended Charge

Driving while license suspended or driving while license revoked; are they the same thing?

There are similarities between driving with a suspended license and driving with a revoked license, although many people use the two interchangeably.  And while it’s true the two violate the same rule of law, the penalties can be very different.

A revoked license typically results in situations where multiple driving under the influence (DUI) convictions have occurred. A revoked license is not automatically reinstated, ever, until a formal request for a hearing with Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) is granted.

Drivers License Suspended or Revoked

Regardless of whether a person’s license has been revoked for a period of one year or five years, it does not mean they will automatically have their license privileges returned at the end of that time period. There’s a lot of effort required to get a driver’s license reinstated by requesting a hearing.

This differs from a suspended license. A suspended license can be the result of too many points, failing to pay traffic fines, conviction of a drug crime or a whole host of other reasons, such as child support non-payment. A suspended license is only reinstated after a period of time has elapsed and/or after a specific amount of money has been paid.  An appeal is never required to get a suspended license reinstated.

For example, let’s say a person had their license revoked seven years ago for a drunk driving charge. Despite being eligible a year later to make a formal request with the DAAD to for driver’s license reinstatement, they never took the required action. If a person is subsequently caught driving with a revoked license, a ticket (citation) would likely result from this.

The recommended course of action in this and similar circumstances would be to hire an experienced attorney in an effort to get the charge(s) reduced or dropped.  This can be achieved when the attorney and the prosecutor are able to negotiate a deal where the charge is lowered from ‘driving with a revoked license’ to ‘failing to display a valid license’ (referred to as “no ops” or the driver did not have a driver’s license with them at the time they were stopped). This is a violation that penalizes no additional points on a person’s driver’s license and is generally considered to be a favorable outcome compared to the penalties for the more serious charge.

While the negotiated deal is a better result than what would typically occur if the original charge were to stick, the individual is not out of the woods yet.  A few weeks afterward a letter from the Secretary of State (SOS) would be received by the individual, informing the person that their license is being revoked for a period of one year.  This is because the SOS must impose what’s called a “mandatory additional” revocation for the same length of time for which a license was revoked in the first place.  This person’s license is once again revoked and they must wait a year before a formal request to have their license restored can be made.

Contrast this to being caught driving on a suspended license.  The “mandatory additional” would be the same number of days the license was suspended for in the first place. For example, the time period for a suspended license is typically 30-180 days, after which it is automatically reinstated after the specific period of time and/or fine has been paid.

The punishments differ quite dramatically for driving with a revoked license vs. a suspended license. This is one of many reasons it is highly advisable to hire an experienced attorney familiar with these distinctions and with driver’s license legal issues in general. The attorneys at Lakeshore Law & Mediation Center can help with these issues.  Contact us today at 616.844.4091 or email us here!

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Drivers License Restoration in Michigan – Part 4: After the Hearing

The final step to drivers license restoration is getting a restricted license. 

This is the 4th, and final part of our series on the topic. 
Part 1: Preparing for Appeal
Part 2: Beginning the Appeal
Part 3: The Hearing

 

Drivers License Appeal Decision and Restricted License in MichiganWaiting for the Decision

After the drivers license restoration hearing is completed, there is nothing to do but wait for the results. At the hearing, the officer will explain that he/she is taking the appeal under advisement. However, no decision is made at the actual hearing.

Instead, you will receive a written copy of the decision via mail, which takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

When the decision arrives in your mailbox, and announces that you were successful, it will include additional instructions for reinstating your drivers license. This entails both installing an ignition interlock unit on your vehicle and going to the Secretary of State to get a restricted license.

If the decision arrives and denies your appeal, you must wait one full year to being the appeal process again.

 

Installing a Vehicle Ignition Interlock (Breathalyzer)

A vehicle ignition interlock, or breathalyzer, is required in your vehicle to restore your Michigan drivers licenseTo reinstate a Michigan drivers license after a DUI conviction, you MUST install an ignition interlock unit, also known as a breathalyzer, in the vehicle you will be driving. The State also needs verification that this was done. You will pay all the costs associated with the unit.

By law, you MUST have the breathalyzer installed and functioning for at least one year. That year starts only after you have provided verification of installation AND have received a valid restricted license.

You can drive with the ignition interlock as long as you wish, however, after a year has passed, you can go back to the State and file a new appeal to request its removal, as well as a full, unrestricted license.

 

Getting a Restricted License

The second part of restoring your license is to get a restricted license.

There are 2 options for a restricted license. 

  1. A General Restricted License allows you to drive back and forth to work, school, necessary medical treatment and AA or other support group meetings. There are no time limitations on this type of restricted license, so you can drive any time of the day, as long as its for the approved reasons.
  2. A Time-Based Restricted License allows you to drive for any reason during the approved times. For example, you may be able to drive between 8am and 8pm only (or the times identified by the State).

 

After One Year, Appeal for a Full License

In order to go from a restricted license to a full one with no restrictions, and have the ignition interlock system removed, you must go through another full license appeal.

This appeal is identical to the first one, except that you must also provide a ‘Final Report” from the ignition interlock company. It will include information about any violations that have occurred while it was installed.

If you’ve had a couple minor violations, don’t be overly concerned. It is common for them to happen in these situations.

However, if you have a major violation, it is a big deal and requires another Hearing, which will likely result in your license being revoked again.

 

Read Part 1: Preparing for Appeal >
Read Part 2: Beginning the Appeal Process >
Read Part 3: The Appeal Hearing >

 

Contact Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center for Expert Legal help to get your license restored. We will guide you through the process and vastly improve your chances of getting back on the road.

Call us at 616.844.4091 or email us below for expert help!

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Drivers License Restoration in Michigan – Part 3: The Appeal Hearing

The third step to drivers license restoration in Michigan is the actual appeal hearing.

This is the 3rd part in a 4-part series on the topic.
Read Part 1: Preparing for Appeal
Read Part 2: Beginning your Appeal
Read Part 4: After the Appeal

 

Work Done Prior to the Appeal Hearing Leads to Success

Winning a Drivers License Restoration Appeal in Michigan - LakeshoreLawandMediation.comAlthough the actual appeal hearing in front of the DAAD Officer is the most nerve-wracking part of the process, the most important part is all of the work you did prior to it.

The paperwork described in Part 2: Beginning Your Appeal contains all of the information that is key to a successful appeal for drivers license restoration.

In the actual appeal hearing, you speak with the Officer about the documents, and confidently convey your situation and sobriety.

 

Preparing for the Appeal Hearing

You can request a drivers license restoration appeal hearing in the State of Michigan by video or in-person at one of the 3 DAAD Offices (Grand Rapids, Lansing or Livonia).

Drivers License Restoration Appeal in MichiganWe recommend an in-person hearing to fully convey your sincerity. A video hearing isn’t as personal and it can be harder to win without the personal connection, communication and body-language. You will be notified of the date, time and location.

Prior to the hearing, you should meet with your drivers license lawyer to prepare. Your attorney can help you know what is expected of you and what happens during the hearing. It is common for the Hearing Officer to ask you very specific questions.

It is imperative that you are very familiar with:

  • Your Substance Abuse Evaluation provided by the Counselor
  • The content of your letters of support
  • If you have gone to AA, know each of the steps, the serenity prayer and the philosophy of AA

 

The Appeal Hearing

The hearing itself is conducted in a room that resembles a small courtroom. The Hearing Officer sits behind a bench, and you sit on the other side with your attorney.

An opportunity to give an opening statement is given to your attorney and then he or she will start asking you some questions. They typically begin with simple questions to put you at ease.

Drivers License Restoration Appeal Hearing in Michigan - LakeshoreLawandMediation.comThings like your name, address and occupation will get things started, followed by questions that address anything peculiar about your case. A good attorney will review them with you beforehand so you’re prepared. 

When your attorney has concluded with questions, it’s the Hearing Officer’s turn. Your attorney should also prepare you for what he or she may ask, and what the best answers will be. It is important to answer truthfully.

Because so much work has been done to prepare documents and information prior to the hearing, you will be well prepared to answer questions and verify what is already in the reports.

Since you have made the commitment to be sober, and have taken steps to get there, the appeal hearing is your time to explain it all. Providing the Hearing Officer with confirmation of your commitment, the actions to took to become sober and why will you remain that way is the essence of the hearing.

 

Read Part 1: Preparing for Appeal >
Read Part 2: Beginning Your Appeal >
Read Part 4: After the Appeal >

 

Call us at 616.844.4091 or email us below for expert attorneys to help restore your license!

 

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Drivers License Restoration in Michigan – Part 2: Beginning the Appeal

The second step to getting your drivers license restored in Michigan is to file an appeal. 

This is the 2nd of a 4-part series on the topic.
Read part 1: Preparing for Appeal >
Read part 3: Beginning the Appeal >
Read Part 4: After the Appeal >

 

Official MI Driving Record Request FormFiling an Appeal for Drivers License Restoration in Michigan

The first step to getting your license back is to get a copy of your driving record. There are 2 ways to accomplish this.

  1. Online using the “Request Your Own Driving Record” form on the Michigan Department of State website. The report will be mailed to you.
  2. Go to any MI Secretary of State Super Center and request it there. You do not need to fill out the form if you go in-person.

Obtaining an official copy of your driving record is crucial. It ensures you are eligible to begin the drivers license restoration appeals process based on your conviction and mandatory minimum revocation time. It also helps to ensure that nothing missed when filling out the initial appeals forms.

 

Request for Hearing

After your driving record confirms that you are eligible to appeal, the next step is to fill out a Request for Hearing form. This 10-page document, provided by the State of MI, asks many types of questions about you. You fill out the first 8-pages, either alone or with your attorney’s help.

The final 2-pages are completed by a licensed substance-abuse therapist. This Substance Use Evaluation includes the results of written tests you take with the therapist, and the interview he/she conducts with you. It is a very important part of the process. In it, the therapist provides a Prognosis, which is his/her educated prediction about how likely you are to remain alcohol and drug-free.

This Prognosis is a crucial consideration point for the Hearing Officer.

 

Drivers License Appeal LettersTestimonial Letters from Your Support System

Your appeal is also required to include up to 6 Letters of Support (Testimonial Letters) from people who make up a cross-section of your community. This means that letters should come from a broad range of people, including family, friends, co-workers, fellow support-group members, religious leaders or others.

These letters will be reviewed carefully by the Hearing Officer, who is looking for very specific information.

It is not enough to simply say that you are a good person, no longer drink and deserve to get your license back.

Instead, they want to know details about:

  • How long the writer has known you and in what capacity
  • What you were like when you were drinking, and how you’re different now
  • What they know of your involvement in treatment programs and support groups.

If it’s anything less than this, the Officer will ignore the letter completely.

Letters must be signed, dated and notarized, with a complete address and phone number where the writer can be reached. Otherwise, they will also be ignored.

 

10-Panel Urinalysis Drug Screen

The final part of the Hearing Request is to submit a 10-panel urinalysis drug screen with a current laboratory report that includes at least two urine integrity variables.

Failure to provide a passing report will result in automatic denial.

 

Drivers License Appeal Time LimitTiming is Everything: You have 90 Days

All of the paperwork and reports outlined above must be dated within 90-days when submitting them to the State or the appeal will be denied. Even if only one document has not been dated within the past 90 days, you will be denied and must wait another full year to appeal again.

You are allowed only one appeal in a 12-month period. 

In addition to the timing requirement, the documents submitted must include the exact information that the State wants. This is where an attorney experienced drivers license restoration is absolutely vital! The attorney will walk you through the process to be sure your appeal meets the guidelines.

 

Read Part 1: Preparing for Appeal >
Read Part 3: The Appeal Hearing >
Read Part 4: After the Hearing >

Contact Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center for Expert Legal help to get your license restored. We will guide you through the process and vastly improve your chances of getting back on the road.

Call us at 616.844.4091 or email us below for expert help!

 

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Drivers License Restoration in Michigan – Part 1: Preparing for Appeal

There are many steps to drivers license restoration in Michigan.

This is the first of a 4-part series on the subject. 

Drivers License Restoration in MichiganGetting Your Drivers License Back in the State of Michigan

If you have lost your drivers license, there are 2 main classes of revocation:

1- A 1-year mandatory minimum revocation for 2 DUI’s within 7 years

2- A 5-year mandatory minimum revocation for 3 or more DUI’s within 10 years

A DUI can include drunk driving, or drug-influenced driving. Both carry the same penalties. 

Even though the law says that there is a one or five-year minimum for your revoked license, it doesn’t mean that it is automatically reinstated after this time period. It stays revoked until you make an appeal to the State of Michigan.

Driver’s License Appeals

To start the processes of getting your license reinstated, you must file an appeal with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD). The appeal will ultimately be heard by one of DAAD’s Hearing Officers.

Drivers License Appeal No AlcoholTo have your license restored, you must prove by Clear and Convincing Evidence that:

  1. Your alcohol or substance abuse problem is under control
  2. The likelihood of repeating the past abusive behavior is low
  3. The risk of repeating the act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, or repeating any other offense is low or minimal risk
  4. You have the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law

This may sound like an easy task, but it is not! 

 

Length of Time Before You Can Appeal

The drivers license appeals process can begin after the minimum number of years has passed, PLUS at least six months of voluntary sobriety. 

Even if you remained sober for the entire length of the sentence, this is not considered voluntary by the State. Anytime there is a legal consequence for a violation of the law, the sentence is not considered voluntary.

Depending on how long your license was revoked, the minimum number of months after the revocation period is 6 months before you can appeal to the DAAD.

However, the number of times a hearing officer will approve an appeal after only six months of sobriety is next to zero. 

It is the advice of Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center to begin the appeals process only after you have:

  • Made the commitment to be sober
  • Have been voluntarily for one full year
  • Have been attending Alcoholics Anonymous or other treatment.


Read Part 2: Beginning the Appeal Process >
Read Part 3: The Appeal Hearing >
Read Part 4: After the Hearing >

 

Contact Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center for Expert Legal help to get your license restored. We will guide you through the process and vastly improve your chances of getting back on the road.

Call us at 616.844.4091 or email us below for expert help!

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