If you have lost your driving privileges in Michigan, you understand that it has a devastating effect on your life. At Tanis Schultz, we understand how important a driver’s license is to maintaining life as you know it, whether for work, child care, school, medical appointments, or simply to manage the day-to-day tasks of everyday life.
If you have been convicted of two drunk driving offenses within seven years, or three offenses within ten years, the Secretary of State will revoke your driving privileges indefinitely. This means you will not be able to legally drive in Michigan for any reason until your driving privileges are restored.
The only way to do so is to petition the Secretary of State to reinstate your driving privileges once the revocation is imposed. If you have been convicted of two drunk driving offenses within seven years you must wait one year from the date of your last conviction to petition the Secretary of State. If you have been convicted of three drunk driving offenses within ten years, you must wait five years to petition the Secretary of State to reinstate your driving privileges. There is no guarantee that the Secretary of State will grant privileges back to you. Unfortunately, in most cases, petitioners who attempt to have their driving privileges reinstated on their own, fail.
The hearing to restore your driving privileges is held by the Office of Administrative Hearings and Oversight. The “OAHO” has many different hearing officers and their job is to make a determination regarding your driving privileges. During this hearing, the burden is on you, the petitioner, to prove by the standard of clear and convincing evidence that you have abstained from alcohol and all controlled substances for a period of at least one year. You must prove that any alcohol or drug abuse problem(s) is under control and in full-sustained remission, that the risk of your past abusive behavior (drinking/using drugs) is low/minimal, and that you have the ability and motivation to drive safely within the law. This is called the “Rule 13 standard”.
Prior to this hearing, you are required to complete steps. These steps are:
- To completely fill out the request for hearing 257 form. This form is considered an affidavit, something that you are swearing the truth and accuracy of the information contained therein.
- To obtain letters in support from family/friends/people close to you. The Secretary of State requirement is three letters. However, depending on who your hearing officer is, they may require more than three letters. These letters must have extremely specific information that is laid out clearly and concisely.
- Obtain a substance abuse evaluation by a licensed evaluator.
- Obtain a 12-panel drug screen.
Once these documents have been submitted, if all of them are generally approved, the OAHO will set a hearing date. You will be assigned to one of the many hearing officers. During the hearing, that hearing officer will ask you extensive questions about your prior alcohol and drug use. Any discrepancies in your documents and/or testimony will likely result in a denial.
Many petitioners who attempt to meet this burden and conduct these hearings on their own are ill-prepared for the questions and the proofs that need to be presented. The process is complex and tricky. If you are unsuccessful in your hearing you may have to wait an entire year before you can apply for another hearing. At your next hearing, you will be required to prove why at the hearing before, your testimony failed. Meaning, the hearing officers will now question you about your testimony and documents from every hearing you have in front of them. If your testimony is inconsistent, it can prove nearly impossible to get your license back no matter how many times you may try.
The Grand Rapids attorneys at Tanis Schultz have represented countless petitioners at Driver’s license restoration hearings all throughout the state of Michigan. We have a firm understanding of the evidence that is necessary to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence, we know how to obtain the evidence, and we know how to present it to each individual hearing officer’s preference. We make sure that our clients’ evidence and proofs are as strong as possible before they appear before the hearing officers. Additionally, we take the time to prepare our clients for the types of questions they would encounter with each hearing officer. Finally, we attend the hearing with our client to ensure that our client’s evidence and testimony are presented as strongly as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about how to obtain your driving privileges once again, contact our office online or call us at (616) 608-7149.