What Happens to My Driver’s License if I am Convicted of DUI in Michigan?

If you are convicted of DUI in Michigan, then your driver’s license will either be restricted, suspended, or revoked. The exact driver license sanction will depend on the nature of your DUI conviction and your prior record. Driver license sanctions for DUI range anywhere from a 90-day restricted license to a 5-year hard revocation. These sanctions are not imposed until after you are convicted. A conviction occurs when you either plead guilty to an intoxicated or impaired driving or are found guilty by a judge or jury.

The specific driver license sanction depends on the nature of your conviction, the number of prior offenses you have, and when those prior offenses occurred.  The following is a brief explanation of these driver license sanctions:

First Offense Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI)

A 90-day restricted license. During this 90-day period you may only drive to and from certain places as follows:

  1. Your place of employment (and during your employment so long as you don’t drive a commercial vehicle).
  2. Treatment, including 12 step programs, therapy, etc., provided they are ordered by a judge.
  3. All court ordered requirements, such as probation appointments, drug and alcohol testing and community service.
  4. School.
  5. Regularly occurring medical treatment for a serious condition or medical emergency for the person or a member of the person’s household or immediate family.
  6. A BAIID provider.
  7. At the discretion of the judge, the custodian of a minor child may drive to and from day care services or an educational institution for the purposes of classes, academic meetings or conferences, and athletic or other extracurricular activities.

First Offense Operating While Intoxicated (OWI):

30-day suspension followed by 120 days of restricted driving (see above).

Second Offense OWI/OWVI Within 7 years:

One-year revocation, eligible for review after one year.

Third Offense OWI/OWVI with 10 years:

One-Year Revocation, eligible for review after either one or five years.

The “look back” periods of either 7 or 10 years go from date of conviction to date of conviction.  Because of this it is very important for your Michigan DUI lawyer to carefully review your master driving record to determine the type of sanction that will be imposed.  If you have a prior OWI/OWVI that is more than 7 years old, or multiple OWI/OWVI convictions that are more than 10 years old, your driver license sanction will be the same as if the new conviction was your first or only conviction.

Because the driver license sanctions explained above are imposed automatically or administratively by the SOS there is no way to modify them.  You are not entitled to a hearing and these sanctions cannot be modified or “individualized” in any way.  They are the same for everyone no matter what your special circumstances may be.

A restricted license is just what it sounds like, and the allowable restrictions are set forth above.  A suspension means you are not allowed to drive for any purpose whatsoever.  After your suspension or restriction expires, you will need to appear before a SOS office and pay a reinstatement fee.  No hearing is required.

A revocation puts you in the same position you were in before you ever had a license.  With a revocation the only way to have your driving privileges restored is to have a hearing with the SOS. You are only entitled to a hearing once every calendar year. This means if you lose your first driver license restoration hearing, your one-year revocation effectively turns into a two-year revocation, and so on.  This is why it is literally true that all revocations are lifetime revocation and will remain in place unless and until you have a successful restoration hearing.  This makes your choice of Michigan driver license restoration lawyer even more important.

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