Driver’s License Restoration: Eligibility Requirements

In Michigan, we have some of the most severe laws in our country when it comes to the punishment of drivers that have lost their license. Today will be the first in a series of articles that will discuss the topic of Driver’s License Restoration. We will begin by tackling the issue of the eligibility requirements for restoring your driver’s license once it has been revoked.

What are the rules for eligibility in the State of Michigan?

The first thing to keep in mind is the timing of asking to have your license restored. According to the Michigan Secretary of State, the rules state that one can apply for restoration 1 year after your first revocation or 5 years after any subsequent revocation within 7 years. While that timing seems harsh to many not in the legal profession, there are pitfalls that many people do not consider when dealing with this issue.

What people do not know about eligibility

A leader in the field of Driver’s License Restoration in the state of Michigan is Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates. When asked about the dangers posed to those facing the battle of obtaining their driver’s license, Grabel explained how bad lawyering can cost a client dearly. “The biggest mistake people make is not having a grasp of the law. The bottom line is that if an individual obtains 2 drunk driving convictions within 7 years of each other they will have their license revoked for life. In lecturing on the issue, I have coined Michigan a “No Tolerance State” which means if a client is not educated on that issue and they plead guilty to a second alcohol-related conviction within 7 years they compromised their rights. In those cases, the attorney needs to explore other options and prepare for trial because the plea deal could hinder someone for the rest of their life.”

Matthew McManus, a partner at Ann Arbor Legal added to what Grabel stated. McManus was quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, ignorance of the law or for that matter, ignorance of your attorney is not going to be an excuse. This issue of drunk driving in Michigan is a strict liability offense and the 7-year barrier is something that is not common knowledge. We have to educate our clients if we are to serve them properly and the issue of restoring one’s driver’s license is also an issue of restoring their life.”

Ravi Gurumurthy, the founder of Michigan Law North and a rising star in the criminal law sector works regularly with Grabel and Associates in his part of the state. Gurumurthy added to the issue when he said, “When someone is attempting to restore their driver’s license, they need to understand that they are basically on probation in all aspects of the law. A big part of obtaining their privilege back is not simply waiting a year or 5 years (depending on the situation) but it is also putting on a display that this individual is an asset to their community and has learned from their mistakes. In essence, it is a parole hearing for one that is not behind bars. Our job is not just educating our client on the law but preparing them in a practical matter.”

The key to winning a driver’s license restoration case is not simply filing an appropriate motion but success lay in the molding of the client that has suffered the loss of the valued privilege. Character is equally as important as procedure when dealing with this topic.

William Amadeo is a partner at the firm of Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to his duties at Ann Arbor Legal, he is an Associate Attorney at Grabel and Associates and a professional journalist that regularly writes on legal issues for “We Love Ann Arbor” and “We Love Dexter” along with other blogs across the country. He can be reached via e-mail at:

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