Do you remember that sweet feeling of freedom when you earned your driver’s license? For the first time, you could go where you wanted, when you wanted. As you grew up and your aspirations and responsibilities increased, a car and a driver’s license became essentials. You need them for work, living in a location of your choosing, going to school, shopping, and managing your family’s busy schedule.

Losing your driver’s license is one severe consequence of a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI). The state of Michigan mandates a driver’s license suspension for a DUI conviction, known as an OWI (operating while intoxicated) in Michigan. The state will also revoke your driver’s license if you refuse a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer test during a roadside traffic stop. The loss of your driver’s license could result in, among other things, a lost job and increased difficulty in managing your daily affairs.

Nevertheless, there are options available for fighting your OWI charge and even getting restricted driving privileges restored for a suspended license. A competent, experienced Michigan OWI attorney can walk through your choices and inform you of the best alternatives for retaining or restoring your driving privileges.

O’Keefe Law is your Lansing criminal defense law firm that will fight to restore your driving privileges and get you driving again legally.

OWI and Driver’s License Suspension

An OWI offense or conviction can adversely affect the status of your driver’s license in Michigan. Here are some factors that may influence your driving privileges with an OWI offense:

Refusing a BAC or Breathalyzer Test

If a Michigan OWI suspect refuses to provide a blood or breath sample to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC), it results in the automatic suspension of the driver’s license. The doctrine of implied consent covers testing for drug or alcohol use during a routine traffic stop. In other words, you must comply or risk sanctions – in this case, the loss of your driver’s license.

You can appeal a license suspension within 14 days. Suspensions for refusing a blood or breath test last for up to one year for the first refusal and up to two years for refusing more than once in seven years. Also, license suspensions for refusing to take a blood or breath test are ineligible for restricted driving privileges.

First OWI Convictions

The state of Michigan requires a minimum of six months suspended driving privileges for a first-time OWI, OWVI (operating while visibly impaired), or drugged driving conviction. Defendants must serve a minimum of 30 days’ suspension before requesting a restricted-use license.

High BAC Convictions

If your BAC was 0.17 or greater in your OWI case, the state of Michigan requires a minimum one-year suspension of driving privileges. Offenders must serve a minimum of 45 days before requesting a restricted-use license.

Two or More Convictions Over Seven Years

A person with two or more convictions in seven years or three convictions over ten years for OWI, OWVI, or drugged driving is considered a habitual offender. Habitual offenders can have their driver’s licenses revoked for at least one year. Offenders will lose their license for at least five years if it’s revoked again within seven years of the initial offense.

Obtaining a Restricted Driver’s License

If you have a suspended Michigan driver’s license because of an OWI conviction, an OWI attorney can help. A restricted driver’s license grants limited driving privileges to or from the following places:

  • Workplace or job location
  • School
  • Probation officer appointments
  • Court appearances
  • Treatment programs
  • Medical appointments for yourself or a family member

While driving with a restricted license, you will need to have proof that you are driving for valid reasons. Here is the proof you will need:

  • Documentation of an approved destination
  • Documented work hours
  • A documented class schedule
  • Documentation of any other approved reason for driving

Persons caught driving for invalid reasons not approved under their restricted driver’s license may be charged for driving with a suspended license, face possible criminal penalties, and receive an extended license suspension.

Drivers who qualify for a restricted driver’s license do not automatically receive one. They must apply for the license and demonstrate eligibility. Depending on the circumstances of the original offense, drivers may have to serve part of their license suspension before they are eligible for a restricted license. Other conditions may apply in your case, such as obtaining an ignition interlock system for all vehicles you will drive.

O’Keefe Law is an experienced Michigan OWI law firm. Our attorneys can review your case, explain your options, and answer questions regarding your eligibility for a restricted driver’s license.

Reinstating a Suspended License

Once your driver’s license suspension expires, you are eligible to have your Michigan driver’s license reinstated. You must pay a reinstatement fee and meet all other conditions of your license suspension.

Reinstating a Revoked License

Having your license revoked is a more difficult situation than a license suspension because revocation can be permanent. However, depending on the nature of your OWI offense, and under certain circumstances, you may request a hearing for license reinstatement after a required waiting period.

There are no guarantees that a judge will reinstate your revoked driver’s license. The court requires proof demonstrating why they should reinstate your license. An experienced Michigan OWI attorney will act as your advocate and increase the chances of getting your driving privileges restored.

An experienced Lansing criminal defense attorney can explain your options for a revoked license and whether you could be eligible for license reinstatement. If you are facing a DUI or OWI charge, contact the attorneys at O’Keefe Law in Lansing today. Your first consultation is always free and completely confidential.

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