Do I need an attorney for my Driver’s License Restoration?

Drivers license

Do I need an attorney for my Driver’s License Restoration?

The Answer Is: No. But I wouldn’t recommend stopping reading there.

At the Michigan driver’s license appeal division (Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight), a person may be represented by an attorney but they are not legally required to have a lawyer at the hearing. However, these hearings are conducted in a formal manner, much like a courtroom hearing/proceeding. A record is made, recording all verbal testimony and exhibits including letters, and all documents are kept. These records are kept for 15 years. At the hearing, witnesses may also be called and are subject to questioning under oath, as is the petitioner. The petitioner will be placed under oath and required to answer questions by the Hearing Officer. This can be daunting for some individuals, especially if they don’t know what to expect. 

Many clients call us and tell us that they applied for their hearing by themselves the first time around because they heard that “you always lose your first time around” so, they didn’t want to spend the money on an attorney for their first hearing. This is a myth! Many, in fact, most, of our clients who apply with our experienced driver’s license restoration attorney, obtain their driver’s license after their first hearing! Don’t let this myth mess up your chance at a license. 

Due to the fact that the Secretary of State keeps all records for 15 years if you conduct a license restoration hearing on your own and your testimony/evidence is faulty or you say something you wish you hadn’t, there is no taking it back for 15 years. A petitioner is eligible to apply once a year for a license restoration. Every subsequent application, however, will include the Hearing Officer reviewing your prior hearings’ documents and testimony. The Hearing Officer can then question you on that evidence at each subsequent hearing. Everyone is familiar with Miranda Warnings, “anything you say can and will be used against you…” Well, you may not be under arrest here, but the same concept applies… Anything you say can and will be used against you at these hearings. 

Therefore, it is extremely important to get it right the first time. 

If a client comes to us after they tried and were denied on their own, we review their past records and determine where things went wrong and what we can do to try and remedy it. However, we can undoubtedly say that it can be extremely difficult to remedy past mistakes at hearings. It can be done, but it is much easier to go into a hearing with documentation that has been reviewed and approved by an attorney, with you completely prepared for the hearing by an attorney,  with an understanding of who your hearing officer is, and ready to answer some really hard questions. 

The driver’s license restoration process is not an easy process, but we do everything we can to make it be! Our driver’s license restoration attorney breaks down each step of the process to make it as easy as possible. Our attorney walks through each step of the process with you and ensures that everything is being done correctly and at the right time. Finally, when the paperwork is done and you’ve got your hearing date, our license restoration attorney takes the time to prepare you for the hearing by going through example questions and scenarios so you can attend the hearing confidently (with your attorney by your side, of course)!

So, no, you do not need an attorney for the driver’s license restoration hearings, but we absolutely encourage you to, at a minimum, reach out to us and have a conversation about your case before trying it on your own. You’ll likely find that the difficulty of the license restoration process doesn’t seem so bad with the right attorney on your side.

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