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Driver's License Restoration

What we have to prove:

A person seeking to get their license back must prove a number of things to the Hearing Officer in order to win their appeal. The most important are:

  1. That your alcohol problem is under control.

  2. That your alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.

  3. That you are motivated to drive safely and within the law.

How we prove it:

  1. You have quit drinking and haven't consumed any alcohol in the last year.

  2. You have a system or plan in place to keep you from drinking, like having completed an alcohol education or rehab program, and/or that you have made substantial and permanent lifestyle changes that will keep alcohol out of your life.

  3. You demonstrate a willingness to follow the law and any restrictions the Secretary of State may impose upon you.

What I provide:

  1. I provide a mock interview where I will prepare you for the real hearing.  I have the experience necessary to guide you on the right path to a license restoration. 

  2. I make sure the letters gather include the necessary information to best assist the hearing officer to give you the best chance of success. 

  3. I prepare the application materials and refer you to the proper place to get the alcohol assessment and 12 point drug screen.

Drivers License Restoration

Our team understands the difficulties Michigan residents face when trying to restore their license. We aim to simplify the process, making it easier for you to regain your license or obtain one in a new state. No more relying on others for transportation – with us, you can reclaim your independence and say goodbye to the hassle of finding rides.

Man Driving a Car after getting his licensed restored

When you choose our firm, we take the responsibility of gathering all necessary documents for a timely submission. Our team will provide regular check-ins and keep you informed at every stage. If you have lost your Michigan driver's license due to two or more DUI convictions, we can help you regain your driving privileges. Similarly, if you are unable to obtain a driver's license in another state due to a Michigan "hold" on your record for multiple DUIs, we can assist in clearing that hold.

Man Driving a car after getting License Restored

As a Michigan driver's license restorations lawyer, we help in two ways:

We specialize in winning driver's license restoration appeals for Michigan residents with multiple DUI convictions. For those who have relocated outside of Michigan, we also secure clearances of Michigan holds, enabling them to obtain or renew a driver's license in their new state.

Our team takes a unique approach to license appeal cases, acknowledging the various paths individuals take to recover from drinking or drug-related issues. This sets us apart from other offices, as we prioritize understanding the full spectrum of recovery methods.

Losing your license brings numerous challenges. From the obvious restriction of driving legally to difficulties like cashing checks or proving your identity, life becomes complicated and even embarrassing.

However, we are here to alleviate this burden. As a dedicated Michigan driver's license reinstatement attorney, we take great pleasure in assisting individuals with reinstating their licenses or clearing any Michigan holds that prevent them from obtaining a license in another state.

Mark Caldwell Grand Rapids Office Decorations

To learn about the Michigan license restoration process in detail, or more about why you should seriously consider hiring us as your Michigan driver's license restoration and/or clearance appeal lawyers, click through the following sections of this website.

Driver's License Hearing Request

If You Are Appealing:

A denial/revocation as a result of multiple substance abuse convictions: It is necessary to submit documentation of sobriety. Documentation includes, but isn't limited to the following:

  • A current substance abuse evaluation that is dated no later than 3 months prior to submission.

  • Three to six community support letters. The more the better.  Please see below for more information.

  • Documentary evidence of attendance at support meetings.

  • Ignition Interlock report if granted restrictions at previous hearing and ordered to install device (obtain this from the company). Only an original interlock report with a raised seal will be accepted. If you don't have an interlock report you may submit a receipt from the interlock company verifying you have requested one. If your hearing will be via video, please mail the report to AHS prior to the hearing. If you will be attending an in person hearing, bring the report to your hearing.

The reinstatement of a revocation/denial due to an ignition interlock violation may be appealed to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight within 14 days of the effective date of the reinstatement by submitting a Request for Hearing - BAIID.

An additional High BAC suspension due to an interlock violation isn't appealable to the Department.

An out-of-state substance abuse conviction from an arrest prior to 10/1/99 that resulted in a Michigan suspension or any out-of-state conviction with an arrest date after 10/1/99.

If you have previously served a suspension/restriction of similar duration in the state where the conviction occurred, you may request a driver's license appeal hearing to waive all or part of the Michigan suspension/restriction.

If you believe you are eligible to have your suspension/restriction waived, put your request for evaluation in writing and send the following:

  • Proof of out-of-state suspension/restriction (from and through dates).

  • Proof of living in that state during the period of suspension/restriction. This may include rent receipts, employment records, utility bills, military records, etc.

  • Proof of out-of-state license at the time of the conviction in question.

  • Proof that you didn't have a Michigan license during the suspension period.

A Driver Assessment action or branch office denial:

Driver Assessment actions and branch office denials are appealable to the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight within 14 days. 

You may request an appeal immediately for any suspension, revocation or denial resulting from a conviction on a legal issue only. If you have a legal issue, please describe this in detail on your request for a hearing.

Mail Requests For Hearing To:

Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight
P.O. Box 30196
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7696
Or Fax: (517) 335-2190

Habitual Alcohol Offender


Habitual Alcohol and Drug Offenders

Under section 303 of the Michigan Vehicle Code [the Code; MCL 257.303] certain combinations of alcohol and/or drug-related convictions lead to a presumption that a person is a "habitual offender." The law requires the Secretary of State to revoke that person's driver license. The law also requires the Secretary of State to deny a license for that person until he or she meets certain conditions.

The types of convictions that lead to the presumption are:

  • Operating While Intoxicated, which includes:

    • Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

    • Operating a vehicle with a bodily alcohol content [BAC] of .08 or higher.

    • Operating a vehicle with a BAC of .17 or higher [High BAC].

  • Operating While Impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

  • Operating a commercial vehicle with an alcohol content of .04 or higher.

  • A person less than 21 years old ("Zero Tolerance") operating a vehicle with:

    • An alcohol content of .02 or more, but less than .08

    • Any presence of alcohol in the body, other than from alcohol consumed as part of a generally recognized religious service or ceremony

Two of those convictions within 7 years, or 3 of them within 10 years, lead to the presumption. Only 1 Zero Tolerance conviction may count towards the combinations.

A conviction for an attempted offense is treated as if the offense were completed.

Convictions under local ordinances and other laws that substantially correspond to the provisions of the Code count towards the combinations. This covers both Michigan laws and ordinances and those of other states.

A first driver license revocation/denial is for a minimum of 1 year. A subsequent revocation/denial is for a minimum of 5 years, if it comes within 7 years of a previous revocation/denial.

After the minimum period of revocation/denial is over, the person may apply for a hearing with the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight to be considered for a driver license. The request for a hearing must be in writing. Information about that type of hearing is available from:

  • The Order of Revocation/Denial

  • Instructions sent to a person who requests a hearing

  • A recorded message with instructions is available at telephone number 1-888-767-6424.

A current substance abuse evaluation must be submitted to Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight before a hearing will be scheduled.

A person for whom a hearing is scheduled is a "petitioner."

A petitioner who is not ready to proceed may request, in writing, that the hearing be adjourned (postponed) to a later date. However, a petitioner should not assume that the hearing is adjourned until he or she is notified by the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight that has happened.

If a petitioner does not appear for the hearing, and an adjournment has not been granted, the petitioner is not eligible for another hearing for up to 1 year.

The law limits the authority of the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight hearing officer to order a driver license for a habitual offender. The hearing officer cannot order a license unless the petitioner rebuts the habitual offender presumption by clear and convincing evidence.

The sorts of things a habitual offender petitioner must prove at the license appeal hearing include:

  • His or her alcohol and/or substance abuse problems, if any, are under control and are likely to remain under control.

  • He or she represents a low or minimal risk of again driving drunk and/or drugged, or repeating his or her past abusive behavior regarding alcohol and/or drugs.

  • He or she has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law.

  • He or she has the minimum period of abstinence.

Regarding abstinence, the petitioner must prove that he or she has completely abstained from the use of alcohol and drugs, except for controlled substances prescribed by a licensed health care professional, for not less than 6 consecutive months immediately before the hearing.

However, the minimum period of abstinence is not less than 12 consecutive months immediately before the hearing if the evidence presented at the hearing indicates that a longer period of abstinence is necessary. The sorts of things that would require a longer period of abstinence include:

  • A chemical test showing an alcohol level of .16 or higher.

  • Three or more convictions for alcohol and/or drug-related offenses.

  • A relapse after an attempt to bring an alcohol and/or drug abuse problem under control. A relapse means the petitioner used alcohol or drugs on at least 1 occasion after attempting to bring his or her problem under control.

  • A diagnosis of past or present alcohol or controlled substance dependency.

  • A previous habitual offender revocation/denial.

  • Other evidence that is relevant to these things.

In addition to the substance abuse evaluation required before the hearing is scheduled, other evidence is encouraged to help the hearing officer decide whether to order restricted driving or full driving. Such evidence includes things like letters and documentation of abstinence and sobriety, and proof of involvement in a treatment or support program. A petitioner may also have witnesses testify at his or her hearing.

If the hearing officer approves a petitioner to return to the road, a restricted license or full driving may be ordered. If a restricted license is issued, those restrictions may allow the person to drive:

  • In the course of his or her employment.

  • To and from any combination of the following:

    • The person's residence.

    • The person's work location.

    • An alcohol or drug education or treatment program ordered by the court. The court probation department.

    • Court-ordered community service.

    • Regularly occurring medical treatment for a serious condition for the person or a member of his or her household or immediate family.

Section 319(19) of the Code [MCL 257.319(19)] requires that a person with a restricted license carry proof of his or her destination and hours, and present that proof to a law enforcement officer if requested.

If a restricted license is granted to a petitioner whose license was revoked/denied as a habitual offender under section 303(2)(c), (d), or (g) of the Code [MCL 257.303(2)(c), (d), or (g)], the hearing officer must require the use of a properly installed and functioning Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device [BAIID] on each vehicle the petitioner owns or intends to operate.

A record of the hearing will be made as required section 322 of the Code [MCL 257.322].

The hearing officer has the final decision-making authority in these cases. There is no further appeal within the Department of State. However, a petitioner may file with the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight a Motion for Reconsideration or Rehearing based on any of the following:

  • New, material evidence that could not have been discovered with reasonable diligence before the hearing and produced at the hearing.

  • An error of law at the hearing.

  • A material mistake of fact by the hearing officer.

The decision may be appealed to Circuit Court, but the court's review is limited by section 323 of the Code [MCL 257.323].

Beginning October 31, 2010, if a BAIID is required by a restricted license, the driver cannot remove the device, or have it removed, without the approval of the Department of State.

Driver's License Restoration Appeal to Circuit Court

Restoration appeals are governed by MCL 257.323. Prior to January 1, 1992, the Department and the Circuit Court had concurrent jurisdiction over habitual offender licensing matters. This changed with the Legislature's comprehensive drunk driving reform package that was passed in 1991 and which became effective January 1, 1992. Similar to administrative appeals under the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act (APA) [1969 PA 306, as amended], appeals to the Circuit Court are now limited to a review of the record.

The record reviewed on appeal is the hearing record created under MCL 257.322. If the operator was ineligible for a Departmental appeal because the minimum time of the revocation had not run, then the record subject to review is the driving record created under MCL 257.204a.

Under MCL 257.323(4), habitual offender license revocations can be set aside by the Circuit Court only if the petitioner's substantial rights had been prejudiced because the Departmental determination was:

  • 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.

As can be seen, the intent is to make offenders exhaust their administrative remedies. The Circuit Court may affirm the action of the agency, grant full license restoration or grant restricted driving privileges pursuant to MCL 257.323(4)(b) and (5).

The repeat offender reforms that became effective October 1, 1999, narrowed the review of Department licensing actions even further. Except for the 4 instances below, the Legislature limited Circuit Court appeals to a review of the record or a legal issue as listed above. Hardship appeals are still available under MCL 257.323(3) in the case of:

  • 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).

Note that under MCL 257.323(3), Circuit Court review of Driver Assessment actions and Section 904(10) or (11) actions is limited to the licensing actions of denial, suspension and restriction and does not include revocations. The word "revocation" was deleted from the statute in the clean-up package. 1999 PA 73. In Wilson v Secretary of State, unpublished order of the Court of Appeals, entered July 17, 2000 (Docket No. 227444), the Court of Appeals stated:

MCL 257.323(3), as amended by 1999 PA 73, effective October 1, 1999, does not provide authority for a circuit court to set aside or modify the revocation of an operator's license.

MCL 257.323a specifically provides that an ex parte license based on hardship is not available pending appeal. MCL 257.323a(2) states:
The court shall not enter an ex parte order staying the suspension, denial, or revocation if the order is based upon a claim of undue hardship.

MCL 257.323b addresses cancellation of a minor's license upon the request of the person who signed the application on behalf of the minor; and MCL 257.323c specifies the restricted relief that is available, if authorized pursuant to MCL 257.323(3), for a first implied-consent violation appeal.

Judicial review of an administrative licensing sanction is governed by the law in effect at the time the offense was committed or attempted. MCL 257.320e(6).

State Court Administrator's Form Orders:
The State Court Administrative Office provides approved form petitions and orders for restoration appeals, which parties are encouraged to use.

Venue and Time Limits:
A person may file a petition with the Circuit Court for relief from a final determination by the Secretary of State in his or her county of residence except for implied-consent appeals which must be filed in the county where the arrest occurred. Petitions must be filed in Lansing within 63 days after the final determination is made except that for good cause shown, the court may allow filing a petition within 182 days. Roberts v Secretary of State, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued February 2, 1999 (Docket No. 205616). A peace officer, with the consent of the prosecuting attorney, may appeal a determination of a hearing officer from an implied-consent hearing. MCL 257.323(1); MCL 257.625f(8)

Each petition shall include the person's full name, current address, birth date, and driver's license number. The order setting the hearing, the petition, and all supporting affidavits shall be filed in the Secretary of State's office located at 430 West Allegan Street, P.O. Box 30196, Lansing, MI 48909-7696. The Secretary of State must be notified not less than 20 days before the hearing. If there is a review of the record, 50 days notice must be provided to the Department so that a transcript may be prepared. MCL 257.323(2)

Either the local prosecuting attorney or the Attorney General represents the Secretary of State on a restoration appeal, depending on the location. For each appeal, the Department sends the prosecuting attorney or the Attorney General a case file that includes a certified driving record and other necessary documents for the hearing.

Service of Final Order:
When a final court order is signed and entered, the Petitioner should serve a certified copy on the Secretary of State immediately. MCL 257.323(3) requires the service of a certified order within 7 days. Prosecutors are required to serve the agency within 7 days in order to receive reimbursement for representing the Department. The Orders can be served in person at the Secretary of State's Office located at: 430 West Allegan, Lansing, Michigan; or by mail at: Michigan Department of State, Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight, P.O. Box 30196, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7696; or by fax to (517) 335-2190.

The Department of State will act upon a final court order after it is received. The Department has up to 21 days to decide whether to appeal by right and/or to post the Order to the master driving record. MCR 7.204(A)(1).

Preparing For Your Driver's License Appeal Hearing

For a hearing request with a current substance abuse evaluation, the evaluation must be dated no more than 3 months prior to its submission to the Department. The substance abuse counselor will prepare the evaluation and provide you with the completed form for your appeal hearing.

Additional Documentation of Petitioner's Past and Current Substance Abuse History:


To support your petition, you must obtain notarized letters from individuals in your community who have frequent contact with you and may have knowledge of your alcohol or drug use. These individuals can include immediate family members, relatives, employers, friends, pastors, local police, recognized support groups, neighbors, or others you associate with. You must submit at least 3 but no more than 6 signed, notarized, and dated letters. Each letter should include the writer's complete mailing address, daytime telephone number, and the following information about you:


  • Relationship to you

  • Length of time they have known you

  • Frequency of their interactions with you

  • Description of their knowledge of your past and current alcohol/drug use, including frequency, amount, type, etc.

  • Last instance of their observation or knowledge of your alcohol/drug use

  • Awareness of your involvement in treatment or support groups

  • Any other relevant information they believe is important

If your restrictions include an ignition interlock requirement, include the ignition interlock Final Report (or a receipt indicating your request) along with your other documentation.


If you are unprepared for the hearing, it is better to request an adjournment rather than fail to appear. Please note that if you fail to appear, you may not be eligible for another hearing for up to one year from the scheduled date.

Revocation Reviews

Your driver's license can be revoked if you are found to lack the necessary physical, mental, or other qualifications to safely operate a motor vehicle. Revocation results in the loss of your driving privilege for at least one to five years, as mandated by law for specific driving offenses.

After your revocation period ends, your driving privilege will remain revoked until you attend a mandatory Driver Assessment reexamination. This reexamination requires you to prove that the condition leading to your revocation no longer exists. Depending on the reason for revocation, you may need to submit a substance abuse evaluation form, evidence of sobriety, or a physician's examination statement. Additionally, a written, vision, and on-road performance test may be necessary. If re-licensure is approved, you will be responsible for paying the required licensing and reinstatement fees.

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