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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

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Want to Get Your License Back after a DUI? Avoid These Five Things

DUILosing your license because of drunk driving can be one of the most devastating things to happen as a result of your arrest. The experience is even worse because the process of petitioning the court to get your license back after losing it can be so complex.

Many petitioners find the initial accusation of drunk driving is only the beginning and things they do in the days and weeks following the arrest also have a significant impact on their ability to drive again. The process is even more difficult if the state considers you a habitual offender, which in Michigan means you’ve been convicted at least twice of drunk driving.

Habitual offenders automatically lose their driving privileges and must prove their ability to abstain from alcohol and drug use, and show their substance use and abuse is under control in order to have their driving privileges restored.

Unfortunately, this burden of proof can be more difficult to achieve than anticipated and there are plenty of pitfalls along the way.

In most cases, the best way to restore your driving privileges is to work with an experienced attorney who understands how difficult license reinstatement can be.

Things to Avoid If you Want Your License Back in Michigan

If you want your license restored, you’ll want to avoid the following actions:

1. Not Completing Probation

Probation is an important part of your sentence. In most cases, if you have more than one conviction the probation period will be at least one year. You must make it through this period without any violations and you must stay clean and sober during this time.

Every case is different, but whatever requirements are laid out for your probation must be met in order to have your license restored.

If you’d like to learn more about probation in general, check out this information from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

2. Using Alcohol or Drugs

As part of the requirements to get your license reinstated you’ll need to show you maintained complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol for an extended period of time - usually six consecutive months following your hearing, though the time frame varies from case to case.

You’ll be required to submit a sufficient substance abuse evaluation as proof of how you’re managing your abstinence. You’ll also need to show confirmation from friends, family, and co-workers who have an opportunity to regularly observe your behavior and are willing to attest to the fact that you have not been consuming alcohol and other controlled substances. Petitioners must submit notarized letters to the court with their request for a license restoration hearing or must bring witnesses with them to testify in person.

It’s also likely you’ll also be required to attend a drug or alcohol program, such as Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) as a condition of your probation.

3. Failing to Install and Abide by the Restrictions of an Ignition Interlock Device

In many cases, especially for habitual offenders, you’ll be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. In order to have your license reinstated, you’ll need to submit a report from the vendor of the device stating the device was installed for the required length of time and show the device’s reading within the last 30 days.

Any violations on the report must be explained in full showing you were not drinking and driving and that you did not attempt to tamper with the device.

4. Driving during the Time Your License is Suspended

If your driving privileges have been revoked or restricted, you’ll need to avoid violating this suspension and be able to show you did not drive unless you were given the court’s permission to do so.

In many cases, license revocation still allows the petitioner to drive to and from work. You’ll need to show you limited driving to only destinations approved by the court.

5. Not Hiring an Attorney Experienced with License Restoration

Perhaps the worst thing you can do is to not hire someone who has experience with license restoration. Just as you wouldn’t hire a tax attorney if you’re facing murder charges, you don’t want to hire an attorney who has limited experience helping drivers restore their driving privileges.

The last thing you want to do is handle the process on your own. It might seem simple and if you just adhere to the restrictions of your probation you’ll be able to drive again free and clear of court supervision.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There is a lot of gray area when it comes to license restoration and you don’t want to jeopardize your ability to have your license restored with a misstep in the process.

For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss the restoration of your license, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.

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