After nearly two decades of practice I have learned how much stress and anxiety is caused by not having a license. This is especially true in Michigan where there is almost no viable public transportation.
In Michigan, the law provides that when you are arrested for drunk driving your plastic license is destroyed by the arresting officer. He or she then provides you with a paper license. Although you can still drive normally on this paper license, also called a DI-177, not having photo ID typically causes a great deal of frustration for my clients. This is because most people’s primary source of identification is their driver’s license.
Without this identification it can be difficult to do simply everyday things like cash checks, fly on a commercial airline, use a credit card or withdraw money from your bank account. Consequently, trying to resolve this issue and getting you a photo ID can go a long way to reducing your stress.
You basically have two options. One is to obtain a “PID” (personal identification card) from the state, or to obtain a passport.
If you refused to take a chemical test, then you are probably charged with an implied consent refusal as well. If this is true, then you MUST make a demand for hearing within 14 days of your arrest. You will know this because in the upper left hand corner of your paper license it will say “DI-93” rather than “DI-177.
After you or your lawyer have sent in your request for an implied consent hearing with the Driver’s License Appeal Division (DAAD), your driver’s license rights and privileges will be whatever they were prior to your arrest. You should know that your license will not be suspended unless and until the hearing officer finds in favor of the arresting officer at the hearing. If you win the hearing, then there will be no driver’s license sanctions imposed. However, if you lose the hearing, then your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of as many as two years depending on the circumstances.
During this implied consent suspension you do have the ability to request both legal as well as hardship relief from the circuit court. With a hardship appeal, you are essentially saying it is a hardship to not have a license (duh) and therefore are asking the higher court to give you a work- permit. A legal appeal says instead that the suspension was legally wrong.
If you win your legal appeal then this victory will result in a complete dismissal of the implied consent case, and the reversal of the driver license suspension. Legal appeals take much longer to accomplish, and is far less likely to be granted, whereas hardship licenses are much easier to obtain. A hardship appeal will require a good substance abuse evaluation.
If your license is suspended as a result of an implied consent refusal, then this suspension is in addition to any suspension or revocation that may be imposed as a result of the underlying drunk driving case. However, to the extent that the two suspensions or revocations overlap, they will run concurrently. This is something that you should discuss with your attorney, so that you have a better understanding of how these separate driver license sanctions will apply to your case. This will help you to decide what course of action you want to take as your case moves through the system.
One final thing you should understand about driver license sanctions in general is that they are not imposed by the court and they are not “individualized”. What this means is that the same sanctions are imposed for everyone. They are imposed by the Secretary of State who does not care about your status in the community, your marital status or employment status.
All driver license sanctions have been standardized and therefore apply to everyone equally. Consequently, your attorney should be able to tell you exactly what the Michigan driver license sanction(s) will be, and how they will apply to you.
There is no doubt that a driver’s license is critical in Michigan. A good DUI lawyer can help you understand your options and whenever possible, help you get back on the road, thereby significantly lessening the amount of stress you are now facing.