Driver’s License Restoration Series: Overview

You lost your driving privileges, but you have been working hard since then to earn the right to drive again. Even though life has been more challenging without a car, you have persevered. You committed to sobriety and created the support systems that will help you stay sober. You have not succumbed to the temptation to drive without a license. You have navigated your day-to-day challenges while doing your best for a better future for yourself. It’s time to get you on the road again. 8123271_s-300x199

Restoring your driver’s license is a complex process, but you have already done the hardest part of the work. Let us make sure that hard work pays off. We have a 97% success rate in driver’s license restoration cases and are intimately familiar with each step you need to take to regain your driving privileges. You have earned and deserve the freedom that comes with a driver’s license. Here is how we will make sure you get it.

Eligibility

You likely are eligible to have your driver’s license restored if the following three statements are true for you:

1. It has been at least a year since you lost your license.
2. You have been sober for at least a year.
3. You have not been caught driving without a license in the last year.

Depending on your history, you may need to wait more than a year before you are eligible for restoration. We will start by reviewing your driving record to determine the precise date when you become eligible to apply for a restoration hearing so that we start this complex process as soon as possible. The sooner we submit your application, the sooner you can be on the road again.

The Paperwork

After we determine your eligibility date, we can start assembling the supporting documents that will convince the hearing officer to restore your license. This means paperwork.

All of the documents we send must be dated within 90 days of the request for a hearing. Clearly, we will need to act quickly once we begin the process. We know you have been waiting a long time for the day you can apply for restoration, so we have confidence you will be ready to gather the necessary information in a short time. However, we will need to coordinate with several different sources to make sure you have everything you need within the time period.

First, we will need between three and six notarized letters of reference from friends and family. The letters should be unique but should all include information such as how long the person has known you, how your former alcohol patterns have changed, and how you are working to sustain the changes you have initiated. We will review the draft letters and make suggestions to make sure they are effective and convincing to your hearing officer.

Next, we will need a 10-panel urine drug screen to help demonstrate your sobriety from any illegal substances. You will need to provide a urine sample in a clinic, which will be sent to a lab for analysis. Although you will want to do this early in the process, the date of your test also starts the clock on our 90 days, so we suggest that you do this step after you have asked your references to start drafting their letters.

Once we have the results of the drug screen, you will need to meet with a state-licensed substance abuse counselor. This professional will review your history, your support system, and the drug screen results so that the hearing officer can be assured of your readiness to return to the road. Based on our extensive experience helping people restore their driver’s licenses, we will recommend the best counselor in your area and prepare you for a successful interview.

Finally, we will need evidence of support, which is documentation that you have structured support for your sobriety and demonstrates your commitment to remaining sober. If you have been attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and working with a sponsor, you are in great shape for this part. We suggest asking your sponsor to write a notarized letter of support describing your efforts working with the 12 steps of AA. In addition, you’ll want to collect your sign-in sheets or other evidence of meeting attendance. If you have not been attending AA meetings, your evidence of support might be documentation that you have been working with a counselor or therapist or that you have been attending a different substance abuse program. We will work with you to make sure the hearing officer sees your sincere efforts to achieve and maintain your sobriety.

With all of these pieces collected, we will help you complete the final form to request your hearing, and we will ensure everything is in order before sending your packet to the Secretary of State’s Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight (formerly the Administrative Hearings Section). Though it may seem like this is the easy part, our experience is crucial at this point. If you were to work through this process alone, you might have incomplete or insufficient documentation in your packet and would have to start the process all over again with a new 90-day clock. We make sure your request and supporting documentation are right the first time.

Usually, your hearing will be scheduled for two or three months after your request has been sent. You will receive notice of your hearing date and time a few weeks before your hearing.

The Hearing

We will appear with you before one of the several hearing officers who works for the Secretary of State. Hearing officers have their own individual ways of running their hearings with preferences for what kinds of questions they ask and what they expect from applicants. We have appeared before all of the hearing officers in the state and understand how to navigate each individual’s preferences in addition to meeting the standards required.

At the hearing, we will need to show the following:

1. That your alcohol or substance abuse problems are under control and likely remain under control
2. That you are at low or minimal risk of repeating your past abusive behavior
3. That you are at low or minimal risk of drinking and driving again
4. That you have the ability and motivation to drive within the law

We will prepare you for your hearing and for your particular hearing officer so that you know what to expect and will be confident walking into your hearing.

The Decision

The hearing officer will issue a decision within four to six weeks of your hearing. Waiting for your notice could be the most nerve-wracking part if you attempted to navigate this process without expert assistance. However, with our 97% success rate and your hard work preparing for this moment, you can wait with calm and confidence, knowing you will soon have your driver’s license restored.

One Last Thing

Even after all of your efforts and evidence, your sobriety behind the wheel will be monitored for at least one more year. When your license is restored, you will need to have an interlock device installed in your car. This is an in-car breathalyzer that will be connected to your ignition. You will need to blow in the breathalyzer to prove your sobriety before your car will start, and these tests will be recorded by a central agency. You may also have additionalw driving restrictions. Usually, after a year, you can petition to have your device removed and your driving restrictions lifted. We can help you with that when the time comes.

Let Us Help

As you can see, you have an arduous process ahead of you if you hope to restore your driver’s license. We have the expertise and experience you need to successfully navigate the potential pitfalls and get you back on the road where you belong.

We are so confident in our ability to help you that if you are denied your license after your first hearing, we will continue to represent you free of charge until your license is restored. Contact us online or call our 24/7 hotline at 1-800-342-7896 or your free consultation.