In addition to court-imposed penalties for DUI, the Michigan Department of State (aka the Secretary of State) imposes driver’s license sanctions. The driver’s license penalties vary depending on the alcohol offense and the driver’s history.
Some driver’s license penalties end automatically after a set period of time. Others require a Hearing before the Secretary of State. The driver’s license suspension caused by a first offense ends automatically whereas the driver’s license revocation caused by a second or subsequent offense (within 7-years) requires a Hearing.
How to get your driver’s license back after 1 DUI
After a DUI, your license may be suspended or revoked. A first offense for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) will cause a 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. You may be eligible for a restricted license for all or part of that time, except for the first 30 days.
A first offense for Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) causes a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license, with a restricted license available for all or part of that time. A first offense for Operating With a High Blood Alcohol Content (also known as “super drunk”) results in a 1-year suspension. However, you may be eligible to drive after the first 45 days with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device.
How to get your driver’s license back after 2 or more DUIs
Two DUIs within 7 years of each other will cause your driver’s license to be revoked. However, a revocation is different from a suspension. If your license is revoked, you will not be eligible for a restricted license, even for work purposes. However, you will be eligible for a Hearing after a year.
But you don’t get your driver’s license back automatically after a year. Rather, you are able to schedule a Hearing with the Secretary of State. At your Hearing, you must prove that:
- your substance use disorder is under control and likely to remain under control.
- you have completely abstained from alcohol and drugs for at least 12 months.
Additionally, you must submit a current Substance Use Evaluation, 10-panel drug test with 2 integrity variables, 3-6 community letters and a Petitioner’s Affidavit.
As you can see, the requirements to get your driver’s license back after a second or subsequent DUI are much more demanding than after a first offense. You must present substantial proof of your sobriety and you also have to testify under oath at a Hearing. For these reasons, you should enlist help from an attorney who specializes in driver’s license restorations.
Charlotte Steffen specializes in criminal defense and driver’s license restorations. She has been practicing law for nearly 20 years. Her experience includes thousands of criminal cases, including capital offenses and high profile cases. She began her career at the Legal Aid and Defender Association of Detroit, handling the toughest felonies in Wayne County. She went into private practice in 2002 and has continued helping those who need it most.
Charlotte is an adjunct law professor at the Detroit Mercy Law School in the Criminal Trial Clinic. She supervises student attorneys and lectures on drunk driving and driver’s license issues. She is also on the faculty of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan in which she helps train lawyers to become trial lawyers.