Michigan's Administrative Driver's License Suspension Law

The 1999 amendments to the Michigan drunk driving laws essentially removed the imposition of all license sanctions from the Circuit and District Court Judges, and placed them with the Secretary of State’s Office.  Licensing actions range from restrictions to outright revocations.

A license revocation is of course the most serious license action the State can take, and this is defined by statute as a termination of the right to drive. Once the license is suspended, the driver may only reapply to the Department for license restoration as follows:

      1.  After the expiration of one year for the first revocation

      2.  After the expiration of five years for a subsequent revocation within seven years of a prior revocation.

When reapplying after revocation the driver must prove by clear and convincing evidence, primarily based on documentary evidence, that he/she can be considered a safe driver.  This determination is usually made by the Secretary of State after a hearing where the driver presents his/her evidence to the Hearing Officer.

A restricted license allows the driver to drive to and from and during work, to and from probation, to and from any Court ordered community service and so forth.  The authorized restrictions are set forth by law, and the driver must carry proof of destination.  Once the restriction is over, the driver may simply apply to the Secretary of State for a new license, and of course, must also pay the reinstatement fee.

It is also possible for restrictions to be “indefinite”, meaning that they will not end until the driver is approved for a new license.  These restrictions are uncommon, and are most often used where, for example, a driver has a medical problem that prevents him/her from safely operating a vehicle.

The actual license sanctions are imposed directly by the Secretary of State when they are notified by the Court of an applicable conviction.  So, after a person is sentenced for drunk driving he/she walks out of the Court with a driver license, but then is notified of the applicable license sanctions by mail.  This notification also includes the dates when such restrictions (or revocation) begin and end.