Being a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer means that I answer a lot of questions about license reinstatements for Michigan residents, and that I explain a lot about the license appeal process, and what it takes to get your license back. To be clear, almost all of what I do involves restoring driver's licenses for those who have lost the privilege to drive because of multiple DUI convictions. There are some questions I'm asked all the time. As a result, I am aware that most people aren't clear on those points. Other questions only come up once in a while, and, perhaps because I work with license issues all day, every day, I sometimes forget that what might be obvious to me may be rather unclear to everyone else. One of these common questions deals with the kind, or type of license you win back when you win a Michigan driver's license restoration appeal.
When this issue comes up, it's usually asked something like this: "Is there a way I can just get a full license?" Sometimes, it's phrased more like this "I understand that most people have to get that machine in their car and blow in it. Is there some way we can request to not have that?"
The question arises because most people have kind of heard, at least in the background somewhere, that when you win a Michigan license reinstatement appeal, you only win back a restricted license, and that you have to install an ignition interlock unit (variously and more commonly called a "breath machine" or a "blow and go") in your vehicle, but they're not really clear on the details. I have a little good news for anyone who has bothered to check out my website or any of the other driver's license restoration articles on this blog; the answer to this question is clear and simple.
If you win a Michigan driver's license restoration appeal, you must drive for at least one year using an ignition interlock, and you may only have a restricted license. If you live in Michigan, there are absolutely no exceptions. Having clarified that there are no exceptions to discuss, let's now take the time to explore what all of this "restricted license" and "ignition interlock" stuff means.
First of all, you must be a Michigan resident to win back your driver's license. If you have moved out of state and no longer reside here, the Michigan Secretary of State cannot give you back any kind of license; that's up to your new state. Normally, you'll find out that your new state won't issue a license because of Michigan's "hold" on your driving record. In order to remove that hold, you have to obtain what's called a "clearance." The process of obtaining a clearance is virtually identical to having your Michigan license restored, except that a Michigan resident wins back a license, whereas a former resident is granted a clearance that removes Michigan's hold and allows his or her new state to issue its license. For the remainder of this article, we'll confine our focus to a driver's license that is restored for a Michigan resident.
To win any kind of license appeal, you are legally required prove to a Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) hearing officer, by what is described as "clear and convincing evidence," that your alcohol problem is both under control, and likely to remain under control. Doing that requires navigating what I call (rather accurately, I believe) a "million little rules." I explain this in painstaking detail on my site and in numerous articles on this blog, but the simplest summary we can use here is that you have to prove that you're sober, and that you have the commitment and tools necessary to remain sober. To put it another way, you have to prove that you've quit drinking for good.