Criminal Defense Law Center
West Michigan

Having a Michigan Restricted License is a major struggle in your life!

Michigan Restricted License

Like most of our liberties, people take their privilege to drive for granted. When your license is suspended or restricted, that privilege quickly shows you how important it really is in your life. In this blog, we will cover the impact a Michigan Restricted License will have on your life, where you can drive to and from and how you can get your Michigan driver’s license back.

Where Can You Drive To?

A person who gets a drunk driving conviction is going to have a restricted driver’s license. A restricted driver’s license only allows you to drive to certain places. You will not be taking any trips to the beach or driving to your friend’s house to hang out while your license is restricted. You will be allowed to drive to:

  1. Your place of employment
  2. To drug and alcohol treatment programs as ordered by the court
  3. To probation meetings
  4. To school if you are currently enrolled as a student
  5. Community service as ordered by the court
  6. Medical treatment for you or a family member

Important Tip: You need to carry proof with you when you are driving with a restricted license. If you are going to school, have a copy of your class schedule. If you are going to work, have a copy of your weekly work schedule with you. If you are pulled over while driving with a Michigan restricted license and you do not have any documentation with you to show the officer where you are going you will be found in violation of your restricted license. You can also face another misdemeanor charge. Judges all across the state will not listen to your excuse in court. You will be hammered with more fines, court costs and maybe even jail. The exceptions that are listed above are set in stone. A judge will not be able to create any other exceptions that the ones listed above. Sadly, the fines and court costs people get for illegally driving on a restricted license make it harder for them to drive legally later on. There are so many people who don’t have a license because they can not pay their court costs, fines and restoration fees!

Getting A Michigan Restricted License After A Suspension

After the passage of P.A. 1998, No 347 in 1999, the regulations for a Michigan Restricted License have been set in stone. There used to be some discretion that could have been used by judges. However, after the state legislature passed a set-in stone law, the Secretary of State has been applying the law as outlined by the statue. The restrictions of a person’s driving privileges is also found at MCL 257.319.

The court has little to do when it comes to restricting your license. If you plea guilty to certain charges, the Secretary of State (SOS) is going action against your driver’s license. The sentence the judge gives you will not have any impact on your license. If you get no jail, it will not change what the Secretary of State does against you. If the judge gives you 30 days in jail, the SOS will still take the same action against you.

Example: Chuck was arrested for driving with a High Bac. After retaining Shawn to represent him, the prosecutor agreed to drop this serious drunk driving charge down to Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI).

Chuck is extremely pleased with this result. OWVI will not require his license to be suspended. He will quickly start his short period of having a restricted license. The Judge will not be able to restrict Chuck’s license at court. Chuck will have to wait till he gets notice from the SOS. Chuck’s right to drive will only be negatively impacted by his actual conviction. 

Once Chuck is done at court, the clerk at court will send a record to the SOS. This record is called an “abstract of conviction.” Remember, the Secretary of State is the only body of government that has authority over your driving privileges when it comes to restricting your license after a Dui Conviction. The SOS has to follow the law set forth in MCL 257.319. These tough restrictions are why you need to hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney to represent you on charged with an OWI. Once you are convicted for a driving charge related to consuming alcohol, the restrictions and suspensions of your driving privileges are set in stone!

Here is another example that will clearly show us the results of the information we have discussed. Shane ended up getting found guilty of a first offense OWI after being found guilty by a jury of his peers. The court clerk will send in the abstract of conviction to the SOS. Once the SOS has gotten this notice, Shane will not be able to drive at all for 30 days! Shane will have the same restricted license that everyone else will have in his situation. Shane will get a paper license in the mail. After 150 days are up, Shane will then be required to pay the reinstatement fee and get a normal plastic driver’s license.

Avoid a Second OWI/DUI/Drunk Driving Offense

Once you have been convicted for an OWI in Michigan, you will be given a chance to get your life back on track. You will after 180 days be given back all your driving privileges. I have never run into a client of mine that planned on getting a second OWI! While a first offense OWI brings with it some harsh penalties, a second offense can result in devastating penalties. Who in modern society can go a whole year without driving? It will almost certainly set back your career plans. It will most certainly make living your life much more difficult.

After you get a first offense drunk driving conviction, you need to take a step back and examine your life. How did you get into that situation? Please consider seeing a counselor guide you through why you may have gotten arrested over drinking and driving. Please consider getting help for your pastor if you are having struggles of a spiritual nature.

The Secretary of State will only examine prior alcohol-related convictions. The Secretary of State will send you a letter in the mail that will clearly state the applicable driver license sanction. You should have this information no later than three weeks after you have had a formal conviction entered on your record.  

Do not face drunk driving charges alone! Do not risk getting into deep suspensions and restrictions of your driving privileges by not calling Shawn first at 616-438-6719. Shawn knows how to get you the best results possible.

Get A Free Case Strategy Session