GETTING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE BACK

Losing your Michigan Driver’s License is a disabling event no matter what the reason.  Southeastern Michigan has no public transportation, commuting to work (if you can still work) becomes more complicated and people begin to avoid your, “Can you give me a ride?” requests.  Your driver’s license is freedom; it’s your independence.

There are a number of reasons one loses his or her driving privileges, but mostly they come down to two basic reasons: two or more drunk driving convictions or a medical/physical disability that prevents you from safely operating your car.

Medical/Physical Disability

In order to have a Michigan Driver’s License, you must meet all the statutory requirements.  Driver’s education, passing the knowledge test and the road test is part of challenge.  You must also meet the physical requirements for vision, hearing and demonstrate the ability to safely operate your car on public roads.  Disease and injury can affect your ability to drive.  The process of aging can slowly deteriorate your driving ability, too.  Sometimes you’ll find out suddenly (after an accident or close call).  Sometimes you’ll find out at the Secretary of State’s office when you discover difficulty reading an eye chart or passing the peripheral vision test.  No matter how you learn, it is disappointing to learn that despite years of safe driving, you now can no longer drive your car.  It’s a loss of freedom and independence that makes your life more complicated.

To get your license once it has been lost, you must demostrate you no longer suffer from the medical or physical disability that has taken you off the road.  The proof will come from your doctor or specialized treater.  The Secretary of State has a specialized form that your treating physician will fill out to meet the specific concern (i.e. hearing problem or vision correction).  Once these forms have been completed, you then are re-examined by the Secretary of State by a License Examiner whose job it is to make sure you do not have any disability that has been not addressed by your treater that would endnger the driving public. 

Once you have met this requirement, the License Examiner will then give you knowledge test and a road test to make sure you are qualified to return to the road.  You can expect that you may have to regularly return to the Secretary of State when renewal time comes around and you will need the same medical documentation when you return.

If you feel that you have not been treated fairly by the Secretary of State, you may hire an attorney to assist you in presenting your proofs or, if necessary, presenting your claims in court.  Our office is experienced in dealing in matters with the Secretary of State.

2 or More convictions for Alcohol Offenses

Michigan Law revokes the driving privileges of anyone convicted of two or more alcohol-related driving offenses within 7 years or 3 offenses during a lifetime.  Regardless of the criminal consequences, the Secretary of State imposes license sanctions independant of the criminal offenses.

While there a number of technical requirements, the bottom line is that you must prove that you are sober.  This is usually evidenced by treatment records, AA attendance records, letters of support from work family and friends and testimony from you and other supporting individuals.

How An Attorney Helps

The directions to reapply for driving privileges is readily available from the Michigan Secretary of State website (www.michigan.gov/sos).  The presentation of this evidence is done before a hearing officer of the Michigan Secretary of State, an attorney who is trained as an expert in the areas of drunk driving, recovery, alcoholism and recovery.  Many hearing officers were experienced prosecutors and will focus on accountibility and public safety. 

Your lawyer should be experienced in dealing with these matters and know the standards that hearing officers are looking for.  Your lawyer should also be familiar with alcoholism, recovery groups and be able to teach you how to use the language of recovery during your hearing.  You should see the hearing as a mini-trial: the verdict will be a determination of whether you have set aside the presumption that you a habitual drinker and driver and a hazard to the driving public.

You also need to know that even if you are able to meet the Secretary of State’s standard, Michigan requires you to prove drive with an Interlock device.  The Interlock requires you to blow into a mini-B.A.C. machine before you can start your car and periodically blow into it as you drive.  The machine keeps track of your conduct and if you drink and try to start your car, it will be reported.

In addition to these requirements, there are hundreds of details and rules that you need to know.  Sometimes it is overwhelming.  Many persons who go before the DAAD (Drivers Assessment and Appeal Division) of the Michigan Secretary of State do not succeed the first time because they fail to properly prepare.  Your lawyer should be prepared to explain the process to you, prepare you and your witnesses for the hearing and give you an good idea of whether you can succeed given your unique facts.

Call our offices at 313-821-5904 and ask for Tim Dinan.  I will try to answer your questions and let you know whether you’ll be successful getting your driving privileges back.  Thanks for reading and good luck.