Handling Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Appeals is the basis of my Practice. In that regard, I have gone to great lengths (some might say “overboard”) within this blog and on my website to provide as much insight and information about the various steps in the License Appeal Process as I can. Recently, I capped off a 7-part series about License Appeals. Yet as I look back, I found that I came up a bit short in explaining what happens after a person wins. I never explained what kind of License or relief a person gets when they win their case. Anyone who has explored the Driver’s License Restoration section of this blog knows my articles are generally rather long; this one will be comparatively short.
In the spirit of trying to answer those questions that I am most frequently asked, this article will look at what kind or “type” of License a person will get after a successful License Appeal, and how that differs if a person still lives in Michigan, or has a Michigan “hold” on their Driving Record and now lives out-of-state.
Not to begin this article by sounding cocky, or over-confident, but I have an across-the-board win rate of over 98% in my License Appeals, and this allows me to GUARANTEE that I will win any case I accept. If, for some reason, I do not, then I will continue to represent my Client in all subsequent DAAD Hearings without further Fee. Fortunately, I have rarely ever had to go back a second time, and have NEVER had to go back a third. Thus, when I accept a case, we speak of what will happen after we win, not if we win.
First, it is necessary to understand that the “kind” of License Appeal a person files dictates what kind of relief they can get. If a person lives in Michigan, then they file for Restoration of Driving privileges. If they no longer reside in Michigan, they file for what is called a “Clearance” of the Michigan hold on their driving Record. This will allow them to get a “full” License in their home state.
Thus, anyone who now lives outside of Michigan essentially wins a “full” License after a successful License Appeal.
Michigan residents seeking Restoration of their Driving privileges after a Revocation for multiple DUI convictions can only win a Restricted License, and must drive with an ignition interlock, a kind of ignition-breathalyzer unit, for at least the first year.
In terms of what is filed, whether a person lives in Michigan or not, the Appeal is identical. The same documentation must be filed, and the same proofs must be made. The Hearing is also identical.
I am asked all the time by my Michigan Clients, “is there some way around this?” Unfortunately there is not. The rules are set in stone. If you live and Michigan, and you win a Driver’s License Restoration Appeal, you MUST drive with a Restricted License and an ignition interlock unit for at least the first year.
By “at least,” I mean that a person can keep the ignition interlock unit in their car and continue to drive on their Restricted License forever. The interlock unit cannot be removed until the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) issues an Order allowing it to come off, and that cannot be done until a person files for a whole new Restoration Appeal. They can do this at the 1-year mark, or wait decades. Beyond having to wait for that first year to pass, when they file for a new Hearing is entirely up to them.
Hold that thought for a moment….
Since a person is eligible to have the interlock unit removed after 1 year, and they also become eligible to Petition for Restoration of a Full License after that first year, absolutely everyone files to for both at the same time. In fact, the required documents are the same and the entire process is the same. The only thing a person needs to do to get the both the interlock removed and to have a Full License Granted is to ask for both. To put it another way, it’s like going to a restaurant where a free soft drink is included in the price of a dinner. All a person needs to do ask for a Coke, or Sprite, or whatever.
Now, back to that thought…
Once that first year is up, in order to have that Restricted License made Full, and in order to be allowed to remove that ignition interlock unit, a person must file a whole new License Restoration Appeal. They must file a new Substance Abuse Evaluation, new Letters of Support, and show up for another Hearing. When they show up for their Hearing, they must bring a certified copy of what’s called a “Final Report” from the ignition interlock company detailing that they’ve had no Violations, or, if they did have any, when they occurred and what was involved.
For the Record, any major violations would have been addressed before the 1-year eligibility period. The interlock company must and will notify the State anytime a person fails a test with an alcohol reading of .04 or above and the machine locks them out, or they fail a rolling re-test. Explaining all of that is too much for this article (but hey, I just got an idea for a future topic!). The upshot is that as long as person didn’t have their License Revocation reinstated and wasn’t Ordered by the State to come in and explain a violation problem during their year with the Restricted License, they’ll be fine.
In theory, the person has to prove all the same issues in this second Appeal that they did in the first. This really boils down to their having to prove, by Clear and Convincing Evidence, that their alcohol problem is under control, and, more importantly, that their alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.
In practice, these issues must be proven again, although everyone expects a person to walk into this second Hearing having Documented and ready to testify that whatever date they fixed as their Sobriety date in their first Appeal was, in fact, the last time they drank, and ready to prove how and why they are a safe bet to NEVER drink again.
Barring any evidentiary problems, the Client can expect to receive Notice that they have been approved for a Full License, and that they can have the ignition interlock unit removed from their car.
Anyone who lives outside of Michigan and sought a Clearance of the Michigan “hold” on their Driving Record will never have to do anything after their first Appeal, as they will have won that Clearance and will headlong into their second year of enjoying a Full License in whatever state they reside.
At its simplest, a Michigan resident must and will always have to spend a year with an ignition interlock and on a Restricted License before they can Appeal for a Full License and to have the interlock unit removed.
Out of State residents have it better; they come to Michigan for a Hearing, win a Clearance, and go back to their home state and get a Full License with no interlock or any other kind of contraption or restriction required.
No matter what a person wants, or needs, or feels they deserve, and no matter what anyone’s circumstances might be, this is how it works. It may not be perfect, but it certainly is simple.