How to Get a Revoked License Back
The State of Michigan revokes the driver’s licenses of those identified as habitual drunk drivers. A habitual drunk driver is a person who has been convicted of multiple DUI offenses twice within seven years (one-year minimum revocation) or three times within 10 years (five-year minimum revocation). In this article, we discuss how to get a revoked license back in Michigan.
Take note that revocation is not the same as a suspended license. If you have a suspended license, you are entitled to get the license back after the suspension period. After a minimum revocation period, the person must ask for permission for reinstatement. There are four primary steps to obtain that permission for a habitual drunk driver.
1. Understand the Fundamental Principles of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Everyone should have the opportunity to hold a valid driver’s license. If you’ve ever had your license revoked, you know that a driver’s license is not a right but a privilege. And we can all agree that drunk driving is dangerous and life-threatening. Presumably, a habitual drunk driver will continue to drink and drive, thereby continuing to endanger people’s lives.
It is with this in mind that the state has taken every precaution to prevent reinstating a habitual drunk driver’s license until reasonably certain that the person does not consume alcohol. The reason being that the way to keep a person from getting a DUI is to ensure they are not drinking.
Statistically, many alcoholics quit drinking only to eventually switch to other, harmful drug addictions (cocaine, marijuana, opiates, etc.). It follows then that the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) requires clear and convincing evidence that substantiates the following standards before providing a restricted license:
- the person’s alcohol and/or drug problem is under control and likely to stay under control
- the risk of repeating past abusive behavior is low
- the person has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law
Understanding these three principles are the key to successfully reinstating driving privileges for habitual offenders.
As seen from the first rule above, habitual drunk drivers are believed to have a “drug or alcohol problem.” Consequently, it’s important to understand and apply traditional and professional principles for the mental health diagnosis of substance abuse and dependency.
This leads us to the substance abuse evaluation.
2. Obtain a Substance Abuse Evaluation
The substance abuse evaluation is a written report regarding the person’s specific substance abuse problems. In the interest of uniformity, the petitioner must include the evaluation on the form prescribed by the SOS. Furthermore, a properly qualified and licensed individual must complete the evaluation. Their report must include the following:
- a statement of the testing instrument used and the test results
- a complete treatment and support group history
- relapse history
- an evaluation diagnosis (dependency, abuse, or none)
- a prognosis (partial or sustained remission)
- recommendations for future treatment (participation in structured support program)
If any of the above items are missing, there will be an automatic denial of the hearing.
Additionally, it is important to include the following:
- date of last use of all drugs of abuse, which must be consistent with all additional evidence presented (letters, testimony, etc.)
- an accurate reporting of the conviction history along with the applicable bodily alcohol contents related to each conviction event.
Lastly, the evaluation must also take into consideration a 10-panel urine drug screen.
The Importance of the Substance Abuse Evaluation
The substance abuse evaluation is a critical document in the process of how to get a revoked license back. As such, it carries considerable weight. The evaluators are professional, and their analysis is highly persuasive. If the evaluator believes that a course of action is necessary but is not currently being undertaken, this will result in a failure.
As an example, if the evaluator recommends a person go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) when that person is not going to AA or a similar support system, the person will not succeed.
Petitioners should make sure to provide complete and correct information to the evaluator for a meaningful evaluation. Specifically, it’s a good idea to give them a driving record or a Michigan criminal conviction history.
If there are offenses that have not been reported (like a previous drunk and disorderly conviction) or period of abstinence, then the evaluation is not complete and will not be relied upon. Without a meaningful evaluation, the hearing officer will deny the petition in almost every case.
3. Procure Community Proof Letters
In order to get their revoked license back, the petitioner must present evidence from no less than three independent sources to corroborate the petitioner’s behavior with respect to alcohol and controlled substances. This can be in the form of letters from other persons that document the person’s behavior regarding alcohol and controlled substances.
The information from all letters must be consistent. Additionally, each letter must:
- include the writer’s personal contact information
- be signed with a notary and dated
- describe how the writer knows the petitioner
The writer must also demonstrate how they have personal knowledge of the petitioner’s behavior with drugs and alcohol. If letters are not available, providing witnesses can satisfy this requirement.
4. Request a Hearing to get a Revoked License Back
As the final step in how to get a revoked license back in Michigan, the petitioner must request a hearing. To do so, they must deliver the substance abuse assessment, testing instruments, drug test, letters, and petitioner’s affidavit (request for hearing form) to the administrative hearings section of the Michigan Department of State.
Approximately six weeks later, the petitioner will receive a hearing date, scheduled for about 14 days later. If everything goes well, after the hearing, then the officer will send a written order granting the license reinstatement.