Out of State Clearance vs In State Restoration

Drivers License

There are two types of driver’s license restoration cases, in state and out of state. In state restoration is used where an applicant (person requesting their license) resides in the state of Michigan. An out of state restoration or clearance, is used where an applicant has moved out of Michigan and does not intend to move back to Michigan.

Often times, if an applicant resided in Michigan for a period of time or ever had a Michigan driver’s license and was revoked for multiple drunk driving convictions, they will find that they cannot obtain a driver’s license in another state.

To obtain a driver’s license in another state, the applicant must first obtain a Michigan driver’s license “clearance” through the Michigan Secretary of State. This clearance involves the same steps and process as an in state driver’s license restoration in Michigan.

Documentation Required

In order to obtain a clearance for an out of state resident, the applicant must submit to the Secretary of State Office of Administrative Hearings and Oversight (OAHO):

  1. Letters in support.
  2. A Request for Hearing From (257).
  3. A Substance Use Evaluation (258).
  4. A negative 12 panel drug screen.
  5. Proof of out of state residency.

In order to obtain a restoration for an in state resident, the applicant must submit to the Secretary of State Office of Administrative Hearings and Oversight (OAHO):

  1. Letters in support.
  2. A Request for Hearing From (257).
  3. A Substance Use Evaluation (258).
  4. A negative 12 panel drug screen.

The difference in documentation is that the out of state resident/applicant must provide proof of their out of state residency.

Administrative Review

The other major difference in the process for a license clearance, for an out of state resident/applicant, is that an out of state applicant, can request an Administrative Review. This option is not available to in state applicants.

An Administrative Review is an appeal by mail, which means that the applicant (or their attorney) would submit all of the above documentation by mail (or in the alternative and faster route, via the SOS online portal). The documentation would then be reviewed by the Secretary of State and a determination as to either to grant or deny the driver’s license would be made. More often than not, an administrative review is denied. If an administrative review is denied, the applicant then has the option to request a hearing with the OAHO. The proper paperwork for this must be submitted in order to have a hearing after the administrative denial. This hearing would be conducted just as it would be for an in state applicant.

However, the process for an administrative review takes quite a long time. An out of state resident does not have to request an administrative review. The out of state resident can request a hearing with OAHO and skip the administrative review process. Having the administrative review process gives the out of state resident two chances at a license – the administrative review, and, if denied, the OAHO hearing. The Secretary of State cannot impose an interlock device nor driving restrictions for an out of state applicant. The only options available are to grant the driver’s license in full (a clearance) or deny the driver’s license.

If time is of the essence, the applicant could elect to skip the administrative review and go straight to an OAHO hearing. The pros and cons of this should be extensively discussed with your attorney for your particular case. At Tanis Schultz, we make sure we tailor our process, procedure, and game plan to fit you, your situation, and your life.

Video/Remote Hearings

Hearings are conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams video. Therefore, the out of state applicant does not have to return to the state of Michigan for their hearing. In fact, they can conduct the hearing from the comfort of their own home (or another quiet location). At the out of state resident’s hearing, the applicant is assigned to a Hearing Officer and must provide testimony and answer questions from that Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer is the individual that then makes the determination to grant or deny the driver’s license. The burden of proof resides with the applicant (the person requesting their driver’s license). The Burden of Proof standard is “Clear and Convincing Evidence” (this means that the Hearing Officer is left with no unanswered questions or unresolved doubts after the evidence has been presented). If this burden is met, the Hearing Officer will grant the clearance of the Michigan Driver’s license to the applicant.

In contrast, an in state (Michigan) applicant/resident, cannot request an administrative review, they must have a hearing after submitting their documentation to restore their driver’s license. Additionally, because they are a Michigan resident, Michigan can impose restrictions and an interlock device on the Michigan resident’s driver’s license or the Hearing Officer can grant a full clearance. More often than not, the Hearing Officer will impose restrictions for the first year of a license being granted.

In essence, the process for an out of state driver’s license clearance is nearly identical to an in state license restoration. Often times clients will say, “I don’t need to do all of these steps, I just need my license cleared, I don’t want a Michigan license (restored).” We absolutely understand what the client needs. However, by Michigan law, we must go through the driver’s license restoration (clearance) process, there are, unfortunately, no alternatives.

We understand how important having your driver’s license is. We work diligently and enthusiastically to ensure the best outcome for our clients. We make the restoration/clearance process easy and convenient for you. If your driver’s license has been revoked, whether you are an in state resident or an out of state resident, we can help. Contact us today for a free confidential consultation.

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