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How to Reinstate a Suspended Driver License in Michigan

Some drivers are given a drivers license suspension in Michigan after they have committed certain infractions or crimes or have not paid outstanding tickets. A suspended drivers license prevents you from renewing your current license. You will need to reinstate drivers license credentials to legally drive with full privileges and renew or replace your license. Drivers license suspensions occur as a result of poor driving decisions, so it is important to meet state standards in these areas. In this article, you will learn why your license might be suspended and what reinstating drivers license privileges entails.

Reasons for Michigan Drivers License Suspension/Revocation

It is necessary for you to check drivers license suspension status if you accumulate too many points on your license. Too many points will result in a revoked or suspended drivers license, depending on the seriousness of the offenses. Not all traffic violations lead to drivers license suspension. They range in seriousness from civil infractions to misdemeanors to felonies. However, in nearly every case, you will have your drivers license suspended if you do not pay a traffic ticket.

The point system that may result in Michigan drivers license suspension works in the following manner:

  • Each traffic violation results in fines and, likely, points added to your record.
  • Various violations have different point values.
  • Points are not assessed unless you are found guilty of or responsible for your violation.
  • These points remain on your driving record for two years, and cannot be removed prematurely.

Six-point offenses that lead to drivers license suspension include manslaughter, reckless driving, driving with a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more, driving the vehicle under the influence of liquor or drugs and fleeing a police officer. Four-point offenses that may lead to a suspended drivers license in MI include drag racing, driving with any amount alcohol in your body if you are younger than 21 years of age and driving 16 or more miles per hour above the speed limit. Three-point offenses include careless driving, ignoring a stoplight or stop sign, driving between 11 and 15 miles per hour over the speed limit and failing to stop for a school bus. Most other moving violations count as two-point offenses.

Note: Under the law, you will have your drivers license suspended if you are convicted of a drug offense. Drivers license suspensions occur even if the drug offense did not involve the operation of a vehicle. You can even have your driving license suspended if you are convicted of selling or possessing drugs, whether or not you were driving.

The Process for Reinstating a Suspended Michigan License

Drivers license reinstatement is handled at Secretary of State (SOS) branch offices. Drivers license restoration  in MI can only take place after your suspension period or restricted license period has run its full course. Drivers license suspension periods vary depending on the severity of the offense.

To get your drivers license reinstated, visit an SOS office with documents proving your identity and your Social Security Number. In many cases you will have to pay a drivers license reinstatement fee. If you have a revoked drivers license, you will have to attend an appeal hearing in some cases to have your license reinstated. There is also an additional drivers license reinstatement fee if the offense was a second-or-more-time drug offense.

Note: If your Michigan license suspension came as a result of a physical or mental disability, you can apply for an ID card for free during the suspension. All drivers with suspended drivers licenses may obtain an ID card.

Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License in Michigan

Driving with a suspended license is a serious offense. If you have a suspended drivers license in Michigan but continue to drive, you can lose your privilege to drive. Further, if you are issued a traffic tickets while your license is suspended, you will experience additional suspensions and have to pay a higher reinstatement fee.

How to Apply for a Provisional Drivers License in Michigan

If your license is suspended in Michigan, in some cases you can apply for a restricted license, often called a provisional drivers license. You may apply for a provisional drivers license with the Circuit Court.

Note: If you are responsible for a drug violation and have no prior offenses, your MI driver license suspension will last for six months, and you will have to wait 30 days to obtain a restricted license. If the drug offense is your second or more in seven years, your driver license suspension will last for one year, and you will have to wait 60 days to obtain a restricted license.

When to Apply for a Provisional Drivers License in Michigan

A provisional drivers license may be available to drivers under suspension for a variety of reasons. One example of when you can obtain a restricted license in Michigan is after an alcohol-related offense. First, you must install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle or any vehicle you plan to operate while under suspension. You will have to prove that you have installed the BAIID to a SOS representative. Upon successfully proving the installation, the SOS will immediately update your driving record to show that your license is restricted rather than suspended.

In other cases, you must appeal to the Circuit Court to obtain a provisional drivers license. Upon appeal, one of three possible rulings can result:

  • The Court may restore your drivers license with full privileges.
  • The Court may issue you a restricted license, which will allow you to drive to and from your place of employment (and in the course of your employment), to a support group or a substance abuse treatment program, to scheduled appointments for serious medical conditions, to a place where you are doing community service, to a probation office or to school.
    • If you hold an MI restricted drivers license, you must always carry documented proof of where you are going and for how long.
    • Additionally, if the offense was an alcohol offense, you can only drive if the vehicle has an ignition interlock device installed.
  • The Court may deny your appeal altogether, leaving your drivers license suspension unchanged.

Note: Drivers license restrictions in Michigan are determined by law. You will not be able to change or negotiate them.

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