Michigan License Restoration Appeals – Revoked Until the Distant Future

This article will focus on License Revocations that occurred after January 1, 1992, but prior to October 1, 1999, when Michigan’s Habitual Offender Drunk Driving Laws went into effect. This Blog article follows one about Licenses that were Revoked, prior to 1992, for multiple Drunk Driving convictions. As a Lawyer who concentrates a significant part of his Practice in License Restorations, my experience with Suspended and Revoked Licenses pretty much runs the gamut of possible circumstances and situations.

Prior to the Habitual Offender Laws of October 1, 1999, a person who was caught Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License was punished by having their License Revoked for an additional number of years similar to whatever their then-current suspension or revocation period was. In other words, if a person had been revoked for 5 years for 3 DUI’s within 10 years, then a Driving While License Suspended/Revoked/Denied (DWLS/DWLR) conviction would automatically get another 5 years tacked onto that Revocation. And this kept adding up for every DWLS/DWLR case they got. The end result was that some people were Revoked for 20, 30, or even more years!

nyc-2045-by-franz-steiner2.jpgIn 1999, the Habitual Offender Laws, which made pretty much everything connected with Drunk Driving even tougher, did, however, lighten up the penalties for what are known as “Mandatory Additionals.” Instead of compounding Revocations until the end of time, that same person who was Revoked for 5 years (due to multiple DUI’s within 10 years) and who got another DUI would simply be Revoked for 5 years from the date of his or her last conviction.

This was great news for anyone arrested after October 1, 1999, but kind of shut out in the cold anyone whose arrest occurred before then. In particular, it tended to treat more harshly (or at least it appeared to) those whose Revocations occurred from January 1, 1992, up to September 30, 1999. Those whose DUI’s occurred before the 1992 laws went into effect were still eligible to file and Appeal in the Circuit Court in the County in which they lived, and to have a License Restored based simply upon their need for one. This was known as a “Hardship Appeal.”

The “Hardship Appeal” was completely and totally eliminated by the 1992 laws. When the Repeat Offender Law became effective on October 1, 1999, one of the big changes was that anyone who got another DUI, even if it was their 5th, or 15th, or 20th, would still be eligible to file a License Appeal 5 years from their last one.

Which tended to suck for someone who had any “Mandatory Additional” Suspensions or Revocations that occurred after January 1, 1992, but before October 1, 1999. Those with multiple DUI Revocations from before 1992 could at least run to Court and file a Hardship Appeal, and cases from after October 1, 1999, were not subject to the “piling on” or consecutive effect of those mandatory addtionals, but for anyone who had them between those dates, they could neither seek a Hardship Appeal nor would they get the benefit of having each period of Revocation run concurrently. It wasn’t and still isn’t uncommon to come across someone whose License had been Denied and Revoked for 20 or 30 years.

Fortunately, the Habitual Offender Laws of 1999 were NOT retroactive. While the explanation is long and somewhat complicated, the bottom line is that anyone whose License was Revoked (or Suspended) prior to October 1, 1999, can still go to Court and seek to have all of those “Mandatory Additional” Revocations (or Suspensions) set aside, so that they may at least begin the Process of pursuing a License Restoration Appeal.

I have done this on multiple occasions, and I have yet to run across a Judge who will not go along. Once the Judge is made to understand that he or she is not giving the person any kind of License, but rather just clearing the way so that they can file a License Appeal with the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), they not only lose any reticence about doing so, but usually wish the Client good luck with their Appeal.

So to be clear, for those old cases still out there, here’s the breakdown:

If your last DUI was prior to 1992, you can go to Court and Petition for a License based upon the Hardship that not having a License causes.

If your last DUI was on or after January 1, 1992, then you cannot file any kind of Hardship Appeal, either in Circuit Court, or with the Secretary of State. Hardship is not a valid issue for any License Revocation that occurs as the result of a DUI conviction on, or after January 1, 1992.

If you have been penalized with “Mandatory Additonal Suspensions or Revocations from before October 1, 1999, then you can go to Court to have them set aside (wiped away) so that you can file a License Restoration Appeal.

As long as your last DUI was prior to 1992, even if you were penalized thereafter with “Mandatory Additional” Suspensions or Revocation, you can still go to Court and have them set aside and, if you win, then proceed with a Hardship Appeal in Circuit Court.

If your last DUI was on or after January 1, 1992, then once the “Mandatory Additionals” have been set aside, you can then file a License Restoration Appeal with the Secretary of State’s DAAD.

Even after the 1999 laws, Mandatory Additional Suspension can be appealed to the Circuit Court, but those things rarely are an issue for drivers with multiple DUI’s.