In Michigan, if you have two or more drunk driving convictions (OWI, OUIL, UBAL) within seven years or three such convictions within ten years, you will lose your driving privileges and have to pay to get them back. Losing your license for any length of time can be burdensome, not only on yourself but on those around you who have now become your defacto chauffeurs. And if you have more than one revocation within seven years, you will have to wait five years before applying to get your driving privileges back.
Apply with the Drivers Assessment and Appeals Division
Your first step in getting your license back after you have waited the mandatory time period, is to apply for hearing with the Drivers Assessment and Appeals Division (DAAD). The burden of proof is on you, the petitioner, to demonstrate through “clear and convincing evidence” that you deserve to have your license back. At a bare minimum, you will have to demonstrate and affirm complete abstinence from alcohol for at least six months and in many cases a year (or even longer if your BAC was 0.20 or higher, you relapsed, or have three or more drunk driving convictions). That means no drinking. Period. That’s right—no afternoon cocktails, evening nightcaps, or even a glass a wine at Cousin Bill’s wedding. Any of those incidents will immediately get you disqualified and you’ll have to wait another year for re-applying. You will also have to show that you are a low risk to no risk of being a repeat offender, and that you have the ability and motivation to obey the law.
Evidence to Your Abstinence
As evidence, you will need quality letters of reference and recommendation. While the DAAD requests three, it's probably better to have at least five. Make sure they are people who can attest to your character and your abstention from alcohol. Letters from clergy, AA sponsors are always good ones to have. You will also need letters and proof that you have completed and are still attending treatment programs, 12-step programs, AA meetings, Sobriety Court, etc. Without these you will not get your license back. Make sure you have character witnesses to testify on your behalf at the hearing. Also, very important: make sure you have paid your driver responsibility fees!
Options for License Reinstatement
The DAAD may grant you full driving privileges back or they may authorize a restricted license. If you are denied, you can always appeal to the circuit court. But don’t get your hopes up. Appeals to the circuit court are often costly and rarely render a positive result. Your best bet is to prevail at the DAAD hearing.
Will I Need an Attorney?
Do you need a lawyer to handle your appeal? Not necessarily, but it's generally not advisable to go it alone. The process can be very tedious and complicated and can become overwhelming. And if your appeal for re-instatement is denied, you have to wait a full year before re-applying. An experienced attorney can tell you exactly what the DAAD is looking for and what will definitely get you disqualified. Experience attorneys can also tell you what you’ll need and what you won’t need as well as preparing your witnesses for the board’s questioning. Your diving privileges are too important. It’s worth the investment to get your license back.