Michigan Driver’s License Holds – Getting a License in Another State

In my Practice as a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, I am often called to help people who’ve moved away and find that they cannot get licensed in their new state because of a “hold” from Michigan. I have written several articles on this Blog relating to applying for an out-of-state License, the types of Appeals that can be filed, and why I don’t believe in Appealing “by mail.” Anyone interested in clearing up a “hold” on a Michigan License should read those articles, as well as the “Quick Start” guide to License Restoration on my website.

Recently, I have represented some Drivers who were willing to move back to Michigan in order to at least get a Restricted License. In many cases, however, moving back here is not an option, so the relocated Driver must file for what’s called a “Clearance” which is basically a release of any and all “holds” on their Michigan Record, which in turn will allow them to get the out-of-state License.

Man-and-Suitcase2.jpgFor those Driver’s whose License has been Revoked for multiple DUI’s, then the series of articles on this Blog regarding the Driver’s License Restoration process is a necessary starting point. In that series, I go over how a person files for a License Appeal, and cover all the ins and outs of both the process and the mindset needed to successfully go through it.

In one of the article previously mentioned about Administrative Reviews, I pointed out why I do not believe in them, and why I think the best way to get a License Restored (or get a Clearance) involves coming back here, to Michigan, to clean things up. Let’s be clear about one thing: a person, wherever they may be, does not need to go through the License Restoration, or “Clearance” process if their License is merely Suspended. Those individuals can pay off what they owe, or set up some kind of payment plan, and get a “Clearance” that shows the outstanding matter is, or is being, cleared up.

The formal “Clearance” process only applies to Driver’s whose Licenses have been Revoked, and the vast majority of those cases stem from multiple DUI’s. Anyone in this boat has 2 options (3, if you count not doing anything and never being able to drive legally as an option):

1. File for the “Appeal by Mail,” meaning sending in for an Administrative Review, or
2. Apply for an In-Person Hearing before the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).


Most people realize that they’ll need to deal with Michigan after unsuccessfully trying to get a License in another state. If there is any good news to these cases, it’s that in most cases, the person who needs to deal with Michigan has waited long enough so that there is no issue with having to wait to file for the Appeal. For those who have 2 DUI’s within 7 years, their License will be Revoked for a minimum of 1 year, meaning that they can Appeal after they’ve been Revoked for 1 year. For those with 3 or more within 10 years, their License will be Revoked for a minimum of 5 years, meaning that they can Appeal after they’ve been Revoked for 5 years.

I am often contacted by people who want to know if I’ll do an Administrative Review, and frequently receive offers of hire for the full amount of my Driver’s License Restoration Fee (currently $3000). When I explain my general dislike of the process and the caller sees that I’m not interested in just taking money, even for so much less work and time on my part, they realize that I’m into this for more than just money; I want to win, and I don’t feel the Administrative Review offers that possibility except in a very few, limited cases.

If you’re out of state and in need of a Michigan Clearance, do yourself a favor and read my License Restoration articles. There’s a lot there, but then again, the process is complicated. For those too impatient to bother, or who just want to try the “Appeal by Mail,” I say go for it. Just bookmark my site so that if things don’t go as well as you had hoped, you can look me up again. Before filing for that Review, however, read my article about “Winning Back Your Michigan License – 2nd Time is NOT the Charm.”

Being out of state does not mean being out of luck. It does mean, however, that a person can’t just outrun or leave behind a Michigan License Revocation.