Driver (Driver’s) License Restoration or Reinstatement in Michigan—Getting Your Driver License Back
Losing your driver license is a hassle and often results in a lower paying job. However, Michigan provides two ways to appeal your driver license and both are before the circuit court in your county. These two methods are: appeal based on merit or appeal based on hardship. The following are the 8 steps to appealing your driver licenses decision in order to reinstate your license.
(1) Where to File Your Appeal (Venue) and Timing:
Venue is controlled by MCL 257.323(1) and determines where you should file your case as follows:
- Implied consent suspension (under MCL 257.625f): you should file in the county and circuit court where the arrest occurred.
- Suspension due to insurance violation (MCL 257.328): you should file in the county and circuit court where the arrest occurred.
- Suspension for any other cause: you should file in the county and circuit court of your residence.
Timing is also important here. MCL 257.323(1) states that appeals should be made within 63 days of a determination. After that period of time, good cause must be shown, a petition made within 182 days of a determination, and the court may refuse to hear your driver license appeal.
(2) Know What Type of Appeal to File:
It is important to know what type of appeal you will be filing: (A) an appeal based on merit, (B) an appeal based on hardship. The first type of appeal focuses on the legal process and why your license was improperly denied, while an appeal based on hardship asks the court to grant relief based on your individual circumstances (lack of adequate public transportation, minor children’s needs, etc).
Appeals based on Merit are grounded in MCL 257.323(4) and cover the following:
- In violation of the Constitution of the United States, the state constitution of 1963, or a statute.
- In excess of the secretary of state’s statutory authority or jurisdiction.
- Made upon unlawful procedure resulting in material prejudice to the petitioner.
- Not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record.
- Arbitrary, capricious, or clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion.
- Affected by other substantial and material error of law.
Appeals based on hardship are grounded in MCL 257.323(3) and cover where a license is suspended due to:
- A first implied-consent suspension under MCL 257.625f.
- A Driver Assessment suspension or restriction under MCL 257.320 and MCL 257.310d.
- A suspension imposed under MCL 257.904(10) or (11).
- A denial under MCL 257.303(1)(d).
(3) Prepare Your Appeal:
Whether you appeal based on merit or based on hardship, your driver license appeal must contain:
- The statement “The appellant, [your name], claims an appeal from the decision on [date of decision] by the Secretary of State and in support states:”
- Your full name, current address, birth date, and driver license number.
- State all relevant facts proving venue is proper and cite to the appropriate venue statute.
- Summary of the determination of the Secretary of State.
- Statute which authorized the Secretary of State to Make the Determination (ex. MCL 257.625f, 320(1)(d), 257.322). Secretary of State commonly cites the relevant statute in the body of their order.
- A specific subsection of MCL 257.323 under which the driver license appeal is made.
- State the relief you are requesting (ex. a restricted license).
- Your signature must accompany your driver license appeal on the last page.
- Finally, attach any supporting documentation, including affidavits, as well as Secretary of State’s order revoking your license.
If your appeal is based on merit, you should order a transcript or official record of the Administrative Hearings Section (AHS) hearing. Contact the department of State at the following address and order the transcript: Michigan Department of State, Administrative Hearings Section, P.O. Box 30196, Lansing, MI 48909-7696, Phone: (517) 322-1460 Fax: (517) 335-2190. It is important to note that some courts require the transcript while others do not. However, it is best to be prepared for questions regarding the administrative hearing.
(4) Prepare a “Show Cause” Order:
An order to show cause is needed in order to set your matter for a hearing. Courts will general set said hearing not more than 63 days from the date of signing the show cause order (see MCL 257.323(2)).
(5) Filing Your Appeal:
To file your claim, you must bring your claim of appeal along with all supporting affidavits, the filing fee, and order to show cause to your jurisdiction’s circuit court clerk. Further, upon filing your case, you will need to obtain a date for the hearing (this will come from the order to show cause signed by the judge). You will then file a notice of motion, giving notice of the date of hearing to Secretary of State with the following timelines: (A) Appeals based on merit must give the Secretary of State no less than 50 days notice of the hearing. (B) Appeals based on hardship (don’t require a review of the record) must give the Secretary of State no less than 20 days notice of the hearing.
(6) Serving the Department of the State and the Secretary of States Representative:
To serve the Secretary of State and their representatives, you must send copies of your appeal, supporting documents and affidavits, the order to show cause, and the motion praecipe (notice of motion), and proof of service to: Michigan Department of State, Administrative Hearings Section, P.O. Box 30196, Lansing, MI 48909-7696, Phone: (517) 322-1460 Fax: (517) 335-2190
Again, the following timelines apply: (A) Appeals based on merit must be served on Secretary of State no less than 50 days before the hearing date. (B) Appeals based on hardship (do not require a review of the record) must be served on the Secretary of State no less than 20 days notice before the hearing date.
Documents are best served by sending them via a mail carrier to the address above while simultaneously filing a proof of service with your circuit court clerk (remember, any filings submitted to court must be submitted to the opposing side).
(7) Is a Brief Required?
The court may always require you to file a brief, however if you are filing a merit based appeal under MCL 257.323(4) a brief is required.
(8)Preparing for the Hearing and Understanding What the Court May Grant.
First, you should be aware that the circuit court may affirm, modify, or set aside the restriction, suspension, or denial of license. In addition, a full license is only granted in cases where the appeal is based on merit under MCL 257.303. However, the court may grant a restricted license in other cases.
In preparing for your hearing, consider that the court will likely need proof of how your substance abuse or bad behavior is taken care of. Therefore, it is advisable to have a substance abuse evaluation done before your driver license appeal hearing.
Grand Rapids Criminal Attorneys Will Assist You in Getting Back Your License
Navigating a driver (driver’s) license appeal can be difficult and can feel overwhelming. Before you file and certainly before you fire off an incomplete or improper appeal, contact our experienced legal team in Grand Rapids at 616-698-0000 or www.clickforhoward.com