In order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, you must prove that you have quit drinking for good. This requires more than just saying so. In this very short article, I want to make clear that the first and main requirement to win your license back is that you no longer drink alcohol. Although I frequently publish articles about recovery and sobriety, my staff has suggested that I put up something brief and more straightforward, because we still get lots of calls from people who seem to misunderstand the concept of sobriety and mistakenly think that being sober means something other than that you don’t drink anymore. Thus, we’ll begin with this very simple declaration: you cannot win your license back if you still drink, however “occasionally,” or even if you think you can still drink at any point in the future.
We often hear from folks who think that they somehow “deserve” to be able to drink because they haven’t had a license or otherwise been in trouble for a long time. This kind of thinking misses the target by about a million miles, because the whole point of the license appeal process is to ensure that the only people who get back on the road are people who have quit drinking for good. The Michigan Secretary of State, through it’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), the body that decides driver’s license appeals, 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.
You have to understand that, from the state’s point of view, once a person has his or her license revoked for racking up multiple DUI’s, he or she is considered too risky to be allowed to drive again unless and until he or she quits drinking for good. The state will never – and this is key – NEVER give a license back to someone with multiple DUI convictions who still drinks alcohol, or even thinks he or she can. The bottom line is that such a person has proven that, at least some of the times he or she drinks, bad and dangerous decisions can follow. That, in and of itself, is considered too much of a risk. The interests of public safety are much greater than the transportation inconvenience of someone who, by law, has been categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” On the other hand, the state also knows that people who don’t drink are exactly zero risk to drink and drive.