Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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How to prepare for your driver’s license restoration hearing

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | OWI

One of the consequences of drunk driving in Michigan is license suspension. This penalty can have a more drastic impact on your life than you initially realize, making it difficult for you to find work, maintain employment, get to school, make it to important appointments, and visit family members and friends. Although you’ll have to endure the effects of a lost license for some time, you should take comfort knowing that it likely isn’t forever.

But to have your license reinstated in Michigan, you’ll have to attend a driver’s license restoration hearing. This is a hearing that you’ll have to request, and once it’s scheduled, you’ll need to be prepared to aggressively advocate for license reinstatement. After all, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that license reinstatement is proper.

How can you prepare for your hearing?

There’s a lot of work to be done in preparing for your license restoration hearing. The hearing officer is going to walk into the hearing with the assumption that you have a substance abuse issue, so the onus is on you to demonstrate that you have the issue under control. You might be able to achieve this by doing the following:

  • Completing and submitting the results of a substance use evaluation: This evaluation was likely court ordered as part of your conviction, so be sure to follow through with it. The results of it will give the hearing officer information that is valuable to their determination, and it’ll be helpful for you to show how you’ve changed since your conviction.
  • Submitting to a drug screen: You’ll need to submit to a drug screen prior to your hearing to demonstrate that you’re free from substances. It might be helpful for you to submit to other drug screens leading up to your hearing so that you can demonstrate a pattern of consistently being negative for drugs and alcohol.
  • Gathering testimonial letters: You can submit letters of support prior to your hearing. These letters, which can be written by family members, friends, co-workers, or others in recovery, can demonstrate how far you’ve come in your recovery, your contributions to the community, and why reinstatement of your license would be beneficial.
  • Preparing to answer detailed questions: The hearing officer is going to ask you several questions at your hearing. So, you should be prepared to speak to not only your sobriety, but also whether there’s social drinking around you, your driving habits, your employment, and your driving history. You can carefully think through these questions before your hearing so that you’re not caught off guard.
  • Focusing on the standard: Remember, before a hearing officer will reinstate your license, you’ll have to demonstrate that your substance use is under control and is likely to stay that way. You’ll also want to show that you’re a low risk at repeating the offense for which you were convicted. Showing that you’re motivated to drive safely can go a long way. So, seek out the evidence that you need to make these showings.

Don’t improvise your license restoration hearing

If you go into your license restoration hearing without a plan, then there’s a good chance that your petition is going to be denied. If you want to maximize your chances of reclaiming your license and your driving freedom, then you need to devote the time necessary to build a compelling legal argument. It can be stressful to think about addressing this issue on your own, but you don’t have to figure this all out on your own. Instead, you can continue to read up on the process and what you can do to position yourself for a favorable outcome.