Drivers with suspended drivers licenses in Michigan must complete the drivers license reinstatement procedure in order to reestablish their driving privileges. The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) is the agency responsible for administering drivers license suspensions and processing applications to restore your credential. The SOS may suspend or revoke your credential for a wide variety of both driving and non-driving offenses. The steps in the MI drivers license restoration process vary based on the seriousness of the committed offense and the subsequent penalty. Learn how to reinstate drivers licenses in Michigan by reading the below sections.
Reinstating a Michigan Suspended License
Since driving with a suspended license in Michigan is punishable by law and it may lead to further penalties, reinstating driving licenses in a timely manner is advisable. Note that prior to requesting a drivers license restoration in MI, licensees will generally be required to wait out a period of suspension and revocation. Depending on whether you were issued a suspended or a revoked drivers license, you will be required to complete different steps. Note that drivers may be able to request a hearing and contest the penalty administered by the SOS, depending on their circumstances.
Note: If you were not informed by the Secretary of State of your upcoming MI driving license suspension or revocation, you can easily order your driving record via the internet and obtain detailed information regarding the SOS-imposed penalty.
How to Reinstate a Michigan Suspended Drivers License
Before initiating the procedure to reinstate suspended drivers licenses in Michigan, drivers must ensure that they meet the conditions of their drivers license revocation or suspension. Motorists reinstating suspended drivers licenses in Michigan can generally complete the procedure in person through a local office of the MI SOS. Prior to and during their office visit, motorists may be required to complete any of the following steps:
- Complete the mandatory period of suspension or revocation.
- Satisfy any court obligations.
- Submit an application for reinstatement (if required).
- Present additional evidentiary documents (if required).
- Pay the applicable reinstatement fees.
- Reapply for a new MI driving license (if required).
Note: Drivers are also able to pay the reinstatement fee by check or money order if they decide to send their application by mail, or by credit card if applying by fax.
Note that the above list is not all-inclusive and motorists reinstating drivers licenses in MI may also be required to complete additional steps, specific to their case. For instance, drivers who were issued revoked driving licenses for reasons of poor health will be required to attend the SOS Driver Assessment Reexamination and prove that their condition has improved.
Fees to Reinstate a Michigan Drivers License
During the Michigan driving license reinstatement process, drivers will generally be required to pay several types of restoration costs. In addition to paying the reinstatement fee, motorists may be required to provide payment for additional costs imposed by entities other than the MI SOS. Drivers who were issued suspended driving licenses in MI for failing to meet their child support obligations, for instance, will first be required to provide all late payments prior to paying the cost for reinstatement.
The standard MI drivers license restoration fee is currently set at $125 for a large number of SOS suspension actions. Depending on the reason for incurring a suspension, drivers may be required to pay a different fee. If you are reinstating drivers licenses from a Failure to Appear in Court (FAC) or a Failure to Comply with Judgment (FCJ) suspension, you will be required to pay a $45 to the corresponding court, in addition to other fines. Also, motorists restoring their privileges after a drivers license revocation will be required to pay the standard application fees for a new license to drive in MI.
Note: Prior to initiating the restoration procedure, contact a nearby SOS location to inquire about the fees applicable to your case.
Suspension Periods in Michigan
Drivers who were issued suspended or revoked driving licenses in Michigan will generally be required to complete a period of drivers license suspension or revocation prior to initiating the reinstatement procedure. More severe violations are generally penalized with revoked and suspended driving licenses of a longer duration. Note that repeat offenders are at risk of incurring harsher penalties than first-time offenders. Review several types of driving license suspensions and revocations issued by the MI SOS and their corresponding penalty periods in the following list:
- Conviction of driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration higher than 0.16: A one-year suspension.
- Losing your physical or mental capabilities to operate a motor vehicle: A driving license revocation of a minimum one year.
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC level higher than .04: A one-year suspension.
- Leaving the scene of an accident: A 90-day suspension.
Note: For more information regarding violations of motor vehicle laws in Michigan and the duration of the resulting suspensions and revocations, contact a local MI DMV office.
Certain types of suspended or revoked drivers licenses in MI may be of an indefinite nature. In such circumstances, drivers will be able to reinstate their credential only if and when they meet a certain conditions set forth by the SOS or a state court. If you fail to resolve a MI traffic ticket issue in due time, for instance, your credential may be suspended until you do so.
Michigan Point System
Revoked or suspended drivers licenses in Michigan may also be issued for accumulating an excess of negative points. Per the state motor vehicle laws, convictions of certain types of traffic violations result in demerit points on the driver's DMV record, in addition to court fines. In order to avoid a MI driving license suspension for a point-related offense, drivers must be careful not to accumulate 12 or more points within a two-year period.
Depending on the severity of the traffic offense, the Secretary of State may place a different amount of negative points on your record. Several types of traffic infraction convictions and their corresponding point penalties are outlined in the following list:
- Refusing to undergo a chemical breath test if younger than 21 years of age: 2 points.
- Driving above the legal speed limit: 3 to 4 points.
- Racing on public highways: 4 points.
- Driving with a BAC level higher than .08: 6 points.
If you accrue 12 or more points on your record within a 24-month period, the MI SOS may schedule you for a driver assessment reexamination. Whether or not you will be penalized with a suspended driving license in MI will be determined by the outcome of the reevaluation.
Note: Contact a nearby branch office of the SOS to obtain the Offense Code Index, which lists the traffic violations punishable by the state motor vehicle laws and their corresponding point penalties.
Traffic School in Michigan
Drivers may be able to avoid drivers license suspensions in Michigan from an excess of demerit points by passing a state-approved traffic school program. Known as the Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDIC), this defensive driving program is available through certified BDIC sponsors. Note that graduating from a BDIC program does not lower your total point count and your ticket will not be dismissed. Drivers reduce the risk of a suspended drivers license in MI if they complete the course as they will not be assigned penalty points for a specific traffic ticket violation.
Prior to utilizing the BDIC option to avert an impending driving license suspension, licensees must ensure they are eligible to enroll in a defensive driving program. Only non-commercial drivers whose ticket did not result in more than three demerit points are eligible to participate in a BDIC program. Note that regardless of whether or not you pass the course, you must still pay all court-related costs. Motorists who graduate from an approved traffic school may also be able to negotiate better car insurance terms, since insurance companies will not have access to your ticket information in such circumstances.
Note: Instead of attending classroom lectures, drivers also have the option of completing a traffic course via the internet.
Types of Michigan Driver's License Suspensions
The Secretary of State issues different types of drivers license suspensions in Michigan, which vary on factors such as the nature of the committed offense and the offender's driving record. To reinstate suspended driving licenses, motorists will generally be required to complete a penalty period and pay a reinstatement fee. The MI SOS also issues revoked driving licenses in MI, which is a penalty reserved for serious violations. In such situations, drivers will be required to wait out the period of revocation and reapply for a new credential.
Review several reasons that lead to revoked and suspended driving licenses in MI in the following list:
- Driving with a suspended license.
- Lapse of your vehicle insurance policy.
- Committing a drug-related violation.
- Failing to appear in court and failing to comply with court judgments.
- Reckless driving.
Note: Learn more about the SOS-issued penalty in effect against your driving privileges by obtaining your driver's record online.
Apart from the standard driving license suspension and revocation penalties, the department may also cancel your driving credential. The SOS administers license cancellations to drivers who have provided false data during the driving license application process, and to those who were issued a license but do not yet meet the criteria to hold one.
Michigan DUI Suspensions
When reinstating suspended driving licenses in Michigan from alcohol or drug-related offenses, drivers will generally be required to meet stricter requirements than those that apply to non-DUI convictions. The severity of the driving license revocation or suspension varies based on factors such as the identity of the driver, the amount of alcohol and/or drugs he or she has consumed and the current status of his or her record.
Note: Commercial and teenage drivers must follow stricter rules and regulations regarding substance abuse and driving.
Drivers Older Than 21
Per the state motor vehicle laws, the SOS administers driving license suspensions in Michigan even to first-time Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) offenders. Adult drivers are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than .07 and/or while under the influence of Schedule 1 controlled substances. Under the state Implied Consent Law, suspended drivers licenses are also issued to drivers who refuse to undergo a chemical test to measure their BAC level.
Review several types of alcohol and drug-related offenses and their resulting penalties in the following list:
- First-time offenders convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) or Operating With Presence of Drugs (OWPD) are penalized with a drivers license suspension of 30 days, $100 to $500 fine, a 93-day jail sentence and/or 360 hours of community service.
- Operating a vehicle with a BAC higher than .16 results in a suspended driving license in MI for the duration of one year, $200 to $700 fine and up to 180 days in jail and/or a 360-hour community service.
- Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) offenses result in credential restrictions of 90 to 180 days, $300 fines, up to 93 days in jail and/or a community service sentence.
Note: Depending on their circumstances, drivers may also be required to participate in an alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation program, install an ignition interlock device and pay additional driver responsibility fees.
Motorists who commit multiple offenses of similar nature within a specific time period will be penalized with harsher penalties than those outlined above. A second OWI offense within seven years of the first, for instance, will be punished with a drivers license revocation of one to five years, a $200 to $1000 fine, and up to one-year jail sentence. Contact your local SOS branch office for more information regarding penalties issued for substance abuse and driving-related violations.
Drivers Younger Than 21
Per the state Zero Tolerance law, stricter Michigan driving license suspension rules and regulations apply to drivers younger than 21 years of age, in comparison to adult motorists. Teenage drivers are in violation of the law even if their BAC level at the time of apprehension is lower than .08 percent. A suspended driving licenses in MI can even be handed down for purchasing and possessing alcoholic beverages as a minor driver. Note that minor drivers are subject to lower fines and jail sentences than those that apply to adult drivers.
Car Insurance Suspensions in Michigan
The procedure to reinstate suspended driving licenses in Michigan must also be finalized by drivers who are in breach of the state financial responsibility laws. You are at risk of a drivers license suspension in MI if you are unable to display proof of a valid car insurance policy after participating in an accident, for example. The SOS accepts two types of financial responsibility insurance: owner's and operator's insurance. If you choose to obtain the owner's coverage, all vehicles registered under your name will be insured. If you choose to obtain the operator's policy, you will remain insured even if you drive a vehicle that is not yours.
Depending on their situation, drivers can obtain one or both types of financial responsibility coverages. Regardless of what your situation demands, avoid driving license suspensions in Michigan by maintaining a valid auto insurance policy.
Note: If you were penalized with an MI suspended drivers license for driving uninsured, you may be eligible for a financial-responsibility limited driver's license.
Traffic Summons or Failure to Pay
The MI Secretary of State is mandated to administer drivers license suspensions in Michigan upon request from local courts to drivers who fail to resolve a traffic citation issue in due time. Drivers who will be notified by the SOS that they were penalized with a suspended driving licenses for failure to pay their traffic ticket. The suspension notice contains information on how to reinstate drivers licenses in MI after Failure to Appear in Court and Failure to Comply with Judgment violations.
Motorists reinstating driving licenses in such circumstances will generally be required to settle the traffic citation issue with the corresponding court and obtain the court clearance. Then, drivers can complete the drivers license reinstatement procedure by visiting a local MI SOS office.
Note: Depending on the presiding court, you may be able to provide payment for the traffic ticket fee via several methods, such as online, in person and by mail.
Michigan Hardship Drivers License
Drivers who were issued suspended driving licenses in Michigan for certain types of offenses may be eligible for a restricted hardship license. Until they complete the MI driving license restoration, this type of credential will grant them limited driving privileges. If you were issued a one-year drivers license suspension in MI for committing a high BAC offense, for instance, you may be able to apply for a restricted license 45 days after the suspension's starting date. In such cases, drivers will generally be required to obtain an ignition interlock device for their vehicle prior to requesting the limited credential.
Note: Restricted hardship licenses issued by the MI SOS can only be used to drive to and from specific locations, such as alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs, places of employment, schools and hospitals.
Applying for a Michigan Hardship License
During their Michigan drivers license suspension hearing, motorists can inquire with the hearing officer about their eligibility to apply for a restricted driving license. If deemed eligible, drivers will then be instructed to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device and submit proof of the procedure to the SOS. The application procedure for a restricted credential can generally be completed in person through a local Secretary of State branch office. To receive more information about the application process, such as information regarding necessary documents and payment fees, contact the MI SOS prior to your office visit.