Out of State Driver License Issues

A common issue that comes up with our clients who live out of state is what will happen to their driver license in their own state.  Michigan participates both nationally and internationally in sharing license information.  Because of this, if you get a drunk driving conviction in Michigan, there is a good possibility that if your home state funds out about it, they will sanction your driver license.  This is true not just in the United States, as we have seen Canada sanction for a Michigan OWI conviction and we have also seen Michigan punish for a Canadian DUI. 

A major factor to consider is how your home state deals with operating while intoxicated convictions.  Each state has a different set of licensing sanctions that must be considered when dealing with a Michgan drinking and driving case.

Sobriety Court License

A promising development in Michigan drinking and driving law is the passing of a recent statute that allows for people in a sobriety court program to be eligible for a driver license, even if they have been revoked.  Many of the district courts in Oakland County have a sobriety court.  What sobriety court is is an intensified probation that requires a large amount of participation between the probationer and the court.  As part of a sobriety court sentence,  the participant becomes eligible for a special driver license after 45 days of being in the program, so long as the court approves.  This license is not without conditions, as a mandatory interlock device is installed in the participant's vehicle prior to driving.  

The real benefit to the sobriety court driver license is for people who have pled or have been found guilty of second offense operating while intoxicated.  Normally, this results in a revocation of license for a year minimum period.  Participation in sobriety court allows that person to continue to drive, even though they are technically revoked.

There are issues that have been coming up with sobriety court licenses, and they revolve around what happens when sobriety court is completed.  Although it would make sense that the successful participant receive their license back, the reality is that they still have to go through the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division in order to get their license back.  And just because they have completed sobriety court, that is no guarantee that the DAAD will give them a license.  The grey area in this type of situation is whether the successful participant loses their sobriety court license upon completion of the program.  Because of the unknown, we recommend to our clients that they begin preparing for the DAAD hearing from day one of probation and file for a license while they are still in the sobriety court program.

License Sanctions for OWI, OWVI, OWI 2nd, and High Bac Convictions

The loss or restriction of your driver license is a major consideration when dealing with a drunk driving case.  Although we practice mainly in the various Oakland County courts, the license sanctions that are imposed are statewide and applicable to every conviction.  With that being said, here are the license sanctions for each type of conviction:

  • Operating While Visibly Impaired - If you are convicted or plead guilty to an impaired driving, you will be given a three month restricted license, which allows you to drive to work and court.
  • Operating While Intoxicated - If you receive an operating while intoxicated conviction, you will lose your license on a hard suspension for thirty days, followed by a five month restricted license that would allow you to drive to work and court.
  • High Bac Superdrunk Driving - If you receive a high bac conviction, you will lose your license on a hard suspension for forty-five days, followed by a ten and a half month restricted license.  As part of the license sanction, an interlock device on your vehicle is mandatory for that entire period and you must petition the Secretary of State to have the interlock device removed.
  • Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense - If you receive two alcohol based convictions within seven years, then the Secretary of State will automatically revoke your license for a minimum of one year.  In order to get the license back, you must be successful at a hearing with an administrative judge from the Secretary of State.  The seven year time period is from conviction to conviction, so there are times when you can save yourself from the revocation, so long as the 2nd conviction is beyond the seven years from the first conviction.