Michigan OWI Suspension & Revocation Laws
If a person has a prior offense in seven years--one prior offense in seven years--or two within three, their license will be revoked, meaning no driving privileges at all. Their license is gone for a minimum of one to as many as five years. After that revocation period, they have to apply to the driver assessment and appeal division in Lansing to try to get their license back. It’s a very burdensome, difficult process and it can really take years. And during all of that period there’s no license and no ability to get one. What’s interesting, and I’m sure unintended, is that if that same person were to reoffend and commit another drunk driving, in a sobriety court, they would be able to use the sobriety court process to get their license more quickly.
Host: Interesting. So I guess it puts you in a dilemma when you talk to clients about what and what not to do. You mentioned another thing during the break that I think we should discuss with our viewers. And that is something called “Heidi’s Law.” Exactly what is that, Patrick?
Well, Heidi was a young woman who got killed by a drunk driver. This happened in a Northern community and the representative in that community decided to write a law in her behalf, Heidi’s Law, which was to make repeat offenders--regardless of how old their offenses are--subject to felony prosecution. So, before Heidi’s law, the old strategy was if the person had three offenses within 10 years, it would be a felony. If they had two or even one very old offense and they commit a new one, they could not be charged with a felony. Now we have what’s called “lifetime look back,” so it’s three within a lifetime. It goes all the way back to the minute you started driving, or, I suppose, before if you committed an offense then. So what’s happened in my practice is I’ve seen many more felony drunk drivers--many of whom have very old prior offenses.
Host: Sounds like--from your perspective--that what you do is harder and harder with each passing year. I mean, let’s face it, I think Mothers Against Drunk Driving has had a tremendous impact, a lot of public outrage over the years, and I think there’s less and less tolerance today than there was 5 or 10 years ago and especially 20 or 30 years ago.
That’s absolutely true and I see it at every level. When I deal with prosecutors, they’re aware of it. When I deal with judges, it’s the same thing. And when I’m talking to juries, juries also feel the anti-drunk driving fervor that we have in this country now. And no one--no one--is in favor of drunk driving. Drunk driving is a significant societal problem. In my opinion, the sanctions have just gotten out of bounds for the type of offense that’s being committed.Submit a Free Online Case Questionnaire For Immediate Legal Support.
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