License Restoration

Criminal Defense

No. You Cannot Function Well in Michigan Without Driving. Time to Get Your License Back.

Nobody is Perfect. You might have had that DUI awhile back, and the State of Michigan suspended your license. You knew that was a possibility, but now you have been dealing for months, or even years, without a drivers’ license in Michigan, which we all know is nearly impossible. You can only ask your friends and family so much, before they are no longer available.

Are you eligible to have it restored? It depends on whether your license has been “revoked” or “suspended”. Under MCLA §257.52, a revocation is a termination of the driving privilege, without a date being given for restoration of that privilege. A driver whose license has been “revoked” (as opposed to being “suspended”) cannot reapply for a drivers license restoration until after the passage of one (1) year for a first revocation, and for a period of five (5) years for a subsequent revocation that is within seven years of an earlier revocation. The one- and five-year time periods are counted starting on the effective date of the revocation. MCLA §257.303(1)(c) (please note that this statute will be amended, effective October 1, 2021)

By contrast, a suspension is for a definite time period, with a beginning and ending date. When that end date is reached, the driver need only to appear at a branch office of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, and pay the fee for reinstatement of the driver’s license, assuming no additional violations occur during the period of suspension. MCLA §257.320e. (please note that this statute as well, will be amended, effective October 1, 2021)

Read More

Michigan is a big place, and particularly in the Detroit area, public transportation is often difficult and unreliable. Legally, driving is a privilege, but as a practical matter, it is an absolute necessity around Southeastern Michigan.

When your drivers’ license is on the line, you cannot afford not to be represented by counsel, either before the Secretary of State’s Hearing Officer, or on a Circuit Court appeal, in the case of a ruling against you.

My drivers license restoration practice is focused on Macomb, St. Clair, Lapeer, Sanilac, Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw Counties. There is  a lot of leg work involved in properly handling a drivers license restoration matter. Let Richmond/Metro Detroit attorney Jon  Frank handle it all for you!

A new driver, automatically deemed “probationary” for three years under MCLA §257.310d, demonstrates unsafe driving behaviors, including:

  • Incurring a 4-point driving offense;
  • Incurring three traffic offenses; or
  • Incurring 6 or more total points

Despite the stricter regulations placed on new drivers, an attorney may still be able to help restore a new drivers license much sooner than originally mandated.

Most of my work in this area, breaks down into two categories:

  1. Folks who have had more than one DUI/OWI, and have had their licenses suspended for some period of time; and
  2. Folks who got their licenses restored enough to allow them to drive, but now want to get the mandatory breath alcohol interlock device removed from their vehicles.

The process is mostly the same, except that in connection with the interlock cases, I need to obtain the interlock records from the vendor

Also, under MCLA §257.320, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office requires driver re-examinations in the following situations, after which driving privileges are denied:

  1. Driver accumulates 12 or more points on driving record, within a two year period of time;
  2. Driver has medical or other conditions rendering him/her potentially unable to safely operate a motor vehicle;
  3. Driver has been involved in accidents resulting in fatalities;
  4. Driver has violated restrictions granted on license; or
  5. Driver has been involved in 3 or more “at fault” crashes within a two year period of time

Many of the people, for whom I do license restoration work, have had their license revoked for inordinately long periods of time, e.g., 10-20 years, etc..

Some have been able to function without licenses, either because they may be “rolling the dice”, and driving when they should not be.  Of course, folks like this are taking them being arrested for “driving while license suspended (DWLS)”.  While this is not the most serious offense presented to a court, it is one that tends to really irritate judges, because they view the person driving on a suspended license, as someone who is disregarding the authority of the law. They take that personally. 

Other folks have been able to function without licenses, because they have supportive friends and family members, were willing to chauffeur them around.  As you may know from personal experience, you can only “go to the well so many times”, meaning that you cannot forever abuse someone’s willingness to help you out. Additionally, some people rely on parents who are aging to the point where they will soon no longer be able to act as your driver.

I can be wrong about this, but one thing that I think I see in many of these really good people, is that even though they are really good people, they beat themselves up, and they are their own worst critics. Perhaps there is something in the past that they feel guilty about, or they feel that this is some type of penance that has to be paid.

My own view is that it is never your job to beat yourself up; is somebody else’s job to do that, and they will. That being the case, you might as well pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give me a call. I will help you get your Michigan drivers license restored.

Give Jon Frank a call at (586) 727-1900, or email at

When you obtain your license privileges back, following a long period of suspension/revocation, you are not really getting them back in full.  You get to drive again, but under MCLA §257.625k(1)(c), any car you drive, must be equipped with a breath alcohol interlock device, that monitors your breath alcohol, while you are driving (with video confirmation that it is you testing), and actually, before you can turn your car on.

The Secretary of State’s Office has a list of approved vendors, and a full discussion of procedures it wants interlock users to follow. 

Rather than re-hash what the Secretary of State’s Office sets forth in its form approval of drivers license restoration, I am attaching a copy of an actual order, with the name of my client redacted out, for obvious privacy reasons.  In the attached form order from the Secretary of State’s Office, you will find discussion of the following:

  1. Procedures for getting the interlock (aka “BAIID”, or Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) installed and approved;
  2. Its characterization of major and minor violations;
  3. A minimum one year of driving with the BAIID installed;
  4. Anti-tampering rules;
  5. Proper interlock usage;
  6. Identification of interlock providers in the State of Michigan;
  7. Secretary of State’s Office hearing procedures;

There are a lot of moving parts here, and you are going to need guidance from experienced legal counsel.  Give Jon Frank a call at (586) 727-1900, or email at

Take very seriously, the orders/advice of the Secretary of State’s Office, as contained in the form order, that I have attached to this website. The Hearing Officer sure will.

If your machine “accuses you” of violating (i.e., saying that you consumed alcohol), go immediately to a local police station, and submit to a preliminary breath test (PBT), and get a receipt, documenting the test, and most importantly, the date of
the test. I have had clients who used mouthwash, hand sanitizer, or cologne, and found that one vendor’s machine or another, tripped them up.
Again, take this seriously, especially if you did not violate.

there are three main tasks that need to be undertaken, in connection with a license restoration/interlock removal process:

1. The application;
2. Obtaining letters of support, vouching for your sobriety
3. Substance abuse evaluation/12-panel drug screen

Most lawyers will help you fill out the application, or at least they should. I know I do.

The substance abuse evaluation/12 panel drug screen is something that you will have to get on your own. I will give you some guidance cannot come into my office.

Perhaps the biggest imposition on the client (i.e., you), is the process of obtaining letters of support, vouching for your sobriety. It is embarrassing, mortifying, and it is often enormously difficult to get
cooperation from “the right people”. Most lawyers who do this kind of work, impose this onerous task on the clients. I do not. I TAKE ON THIS JOB FOR YOU; after all, it is part of what you are hiring me
to do.

I have developed a form, by which I directly communicate the Secretary of State’s Office requirements with those persons whom you identify; this is reserved for for clients of my firm.  It will all be by mail, and you will receive a copy of my communication to them, once he goes out the door. That way, you will see what is going on, and when it is going (by the way, I do that in all aspects of my practice). This makes it easier for the client (i.e., you), and candidly, easier for the people you are asking to help you in this situation. By the way, the people from whom you seek this type of support, must have an opportunity to see you with enough frequency, to know that you are sober.

In these situations, indeed, in any situation in which a witness is needed in a court setting, not all witnesses are created equal. Some have more influence, by virtue of their relationship you, or by virtue of their status. For example:

 1. Ex-spouses/ex-significant others: 

Many times when an intimate relationship breaks up, the two parties in their relationship part with acrimony and noncommunication. However, when in ex-spouse/ex-significant other is willing to vouch for your sobriety, a letter like that will make a hearing officer take notice.  A letter of support from such a person is not absolutely necessary, and indeed may be a bad idea, where there is an ongoing child custody dispute, or some other dynamic, that makes a request for help inappropriate.

2. Employers/supervisors/supervising union officials (business agents, e.g.,)

Naturally, it is very difficult to approach such people, and he asked them to vouch for your sobriety. Indeed, by doing so, you might be putting your job in jeopardy. I do not want to do that, and if asking your employer/supervisor for a letter of support, would put your job in jeopardy, I will tell you right now, not to do it.  Again, however, if someone in this category is willing to step up and sign such a letter, it is often quite influential.

3. Police officers/law enforcement

Police officers and other law enforcement officials, rightly or wrongly, bring a certain weight with their letters of support. If you know such a person socially, again, someone who would have  an opportunity to see that you are sober and social occasions, this would be a good person to get a letter of support from.

4. Pastors/clergy

Like police officers clergymen/women bring a certain weight with their letters of support. If you know such a person socially, again, someone who would have an opportunity to see that you are sober and social occasions, this would be a good person to get a letter of support from.

Additional Comments:

Whoever provides you with a letter of support, will have to do so by signing the letter in front of a notary. This makes an already embarrassing and mortifying situation even all the more difficult. If your “supporters” are anywhere near my office in Richmond, they are welcome to come by here, and to have their letter notarized here.

Many of my clients, become sober, no longer had the social circle they used to, when the drink, or use drugs. Oftentimes, these people have family members to look to. If that is the truth of the matter, and that is the truth of the matter and we will proceed on the basis of those letters of support we can get from whoever is available.

Should You Attend Alcoholics Anonymous?

It depends. (I know, this answer sounds like a “typical lawyer answer”, doesn’t it?)

It depends on a number of factors. First, have you been attending AA so far? If not, then starting now may not be all that worthwhile. Why?

Because if you have not been attending AA, and yet you have maintained your sobriety, then you obviously do not need AA, to maintain your sobriety. Starting AA will be pointless, it will not fool the hearing officer, and it simply is not advisable.

Whether you have been going to AA meetings or not, you may have come to your own decision that you want to pursue AA, or some other 12-Step program. If you have great. Some of my clients absolutely swear by their AA, or other 12-Step attendance/participation.

I believe in suggesting AA to clients where I think it will do them some good in their legal matter, and perhaps some good for them personally. Ultimately, the decision to attend AA, is yours and yours alone.

A couple of thoughts for those who are attending AA:

1. I have noticed lately, that Hearing Officer’s have been playing what I consider a “gotcha” game with license restoration applicants, asking if they know, e.g., the First Step, or the Fourth Step, and “what it means to them”, or “how they implement this in their daily lives. Just the same, I am linking to a copy of the Twelve Steps, that I keep around my office; “forewarned is forearmed”.

I believe they are trying to trip up those who attend Alcoholics Anonymous for appearance’s sake. I also think it cheapens the process of both license restoration, and helping folks return to sobriety.

That is one reason I do not suggest AA for folks who are not committed to attending meetings and working
with an AA sponsor. Again, the decision to attend has to come from deep within you.

2. Secondly, AA can be a very uncomfortable experience. Some find it extraordinarily depressing, some find it a forum for people to just sit around and talk about how much they used to drink, how much they want to drink, and how much they drink now.

As a result, those who are dedicated to going to AA meetings should find one or more meetings that they feel
comfortable going to, at least once/week. Here is a link to all AA meetings in Southeastern Michigan.

That meeting may be full of people just like you (gender, ethnicity, profession/employment, etc), or they may
be completely different from you. You may like being with other AA members just like you, or you may like
the idea of going to a meeting where folks are so different from you, that you are not likely to see them, in
your personal life. Again, that decision is yours.

3. Finally, if you do decide to go, and even if you like going, you might as well be given credit for going, in the context of your license restoration matter, or an ongoing criminal matter. There are sign-in sheets, and I am linking here, to a copy of the sign-in sheets recognized by Hearing Officer’s and judges, throughout our area here in SE Michigan.

Appealing Adverse Rulings By Secretary of State Hearing Officers


So you prepared for your hearing….and you prepared, and prepared, and prepared….and you still lost.  Do not beat yourself up, because you are in some pretty good company, including every License Restoration lawyer, whose website you have reviewed.  Yes, that includes me.[1]


However, how do you know whether you have a decent case for appeal to the Circuit Court?


In short, if there is any evidence, that supports the Hearing Officer’s ruling against you, the suspension will likely be upheld in the Circuit Court.  If, as sometimes happens, you get a Hearing Officer who seems to have a bit of “an attitude”, and issues a ruling that seems arbitrary and capricious (think: coin flip), you may have suffered a bad ruling for no reason.  Rulings made on the basis of such arbitrary and capricious bases, are subject to being overturned in the Circuit Court, under MCLA §257.323(4)(a).


In these cases, appeals make a lot of sense.


It may also make sense to appeal a ruling seemingly based on at least miniscule evidence, capitalized upon by a biased Hearing Officer.  Lawyers differ in their opinions on this subject, but MCLA §257.323 does permit a Circuit Court, hearing a license restoration matter on appeal, to consider the grant of a restricted license.


However strong your case is, on appeal to the Circuit Court, you need to be mindful of the deadlines.


MCLA §257.323(1) allows an appellant 63 days from the date a determination is made, within which to appeal an adverse ruling.  That 63-day period of time starts on the date of the Hearing Officer’s Order, and not on the date it was transmitted to the applicant (you), or to the applicant’s attorney (me). 


I recently represented a client at an implied consent hearing; UNWISELY, he refused the police officer’s request for a breath or blood alcohol test at the police station.  The police went and got a subpoena for the blood draw, and they got the blood they wanted for testing, in any event.  Meanwhile, my client was stuck with this implied consent issue.


I requested a hearing within 14 days, extending the time my client was legally able to drive.  Ultimately, a hearing was held, and unfortunately, the Hearing Officer ruled against my client, suspending his license to drive, for a year.  The ruling was handed down on May 10th, but it was not uploaded by the Secretary of State’s Office for transmittal to me, until three days later, May 13th.  Too bad.  The 63 days started on May 10th, and not May 13th.


Worse still, much of the 63-day period of time is chewed up by the time it takes to get a transcript of the Secretary of State hearing, a requirement for the appeal.  Attached is a form letter sent by the Secretary of State’s Office, where transcripts are requested.  As you can see for yourself, 50 of the 63 (or fewer) days are consumed by the time the Secretary of State’s Office itself takes, to generate a response.


In short, whatever the merits of your appeal, if you want to go forward with an appeal, you will need to call me as soon as possible, to get the process going… properly.  Call Jon Frank at (586) 727-1900, or email me at

[1] Any lawyer who tells you they never lose, doesn’t try enough of these matters.  What is more, any lawyer who promises you, or guarantees you an outcome, is probably not being truthful with you.  We can give you the benefit of our experience, we can tell you what the odds are, and how to increase the odds in your favor, but nobody can truthfully guarantee an outcome.


Frequently Asked Questions. Honest Answers.

Fill out form BDVR-153, which you can find here, and send it in with the required $11.00 fee, and you should get it in about 2-3 weeks. The form has an option for email response by the Secretary of State, but you will need to send in the form, with your payment first.

It ain’t easy. In fact, even the Secretary of State’s Office knows that their driving history form is confusing, because they even created a pamphlet, instructing folks on how to interpret the driving history forms. Here it is.
Call me if you have any questions on how to interpret it, or what it means for your rights, in a criminal, traffic ticket or other setting.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office requires driver re-examinations in the following situations, after which driving privileges are denied:

  1. Driver accumulates 12 or more points on driving record, within a two year period of time;
  2. Driver has medical or other conditions rendering him/her potentially unable to safely operate a motor vehicle;
  3. Driver has been involved in accidents resulting in fatalities;
  4. Driver has violated restrictions granted on license; or
  5. Driver has been involved in 3 or more “at fault” crashes within a two year period of time

If you’ve had your license suspended for any of the above reasons, your suspension is not permanent and with help from a lawyer, you could be back on the road sooner than you thought.

I Am Glad to Help – Without Charge. Tell Us How We Can Contact You. Again, The Consultation is Free