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Restoring Your Driver’s License After A Drug Conviction

It’s common knowledge that when you’re convicted of a drug crime, you may face a jail sentence and court fines. But it sometimes comes as a shock to people convicted of drug offenses that you also can lose your driver’s license — even when your drug offense didn’t involve any kind of driving.

When you’re convicted of any kind of drug charge — for example use of a controlled substance, drug possession, manufacturing, delivery, or possession with intent — Michigan law requires that in addition to other penalties, the Secretary of State’s office must suspend your driver’s license.

Driver’s license suspensions for Michigan drug convictions include:

  • A 6-month suspension for your first conviction, with the possibility of a restricted license after 30 days of suspension
  • A 1-year suspension for a second or subsequent conviction within 7 years, with the possibility of a restricted license after 60 days of suspension

If you’re facing a Michigan drug charge and worried about losing your license, you may have options. An experienced Detroit drug charge lawyer may be able to help you fight the charge and avoid a conviction — and therefore avoid a license suspension — or get your charge reduced to avoid a suspension. A lawyer also can discuss your options for possibly obtaining a restricted license so that you can drive to work or school, or how to go about getting your license restored at the end of your suspension.

Getting a Restricted License

Once you’ve served a portion of your driver’s license suspension, you may have the option in Michigan to get a restricted driver’s license that allows you to drive to places such as work, school, or medical appointments if you or a family member has a serious, ongoing medical condition. A restricted driver’s license also may allow you to drive to court for your drug case, to drive to fulfill conditions of your probation, if that was part of the sentence for your drug conviction, or to drive to a mandated substance abuse treatment program.

Even though a restricted license may be an option, it’s not a guarantee. The Secretary of State may grant a restricted license to drivers who are eligible, but you have to apply for and be approved for a restricted license. Once you’re approved, you can only drive where the restricted license states you may. For example, if you get a restricted license to drive from home to work, you can only travel between your residence and your job. If you take a side trip someplace and are pulled over, you may be charged with driving under a suspended license and face criminal penalties — and your suspension may be lengthened.

When you have a restricted license, you must carry proof of your destination and be prepared to show that to a police officer or state trooper if you get pulled over. That may include proof of your employment and work hours, or proof of your class schedule if you have a restricted license to drive to school.

If your license has been suspended because of a drug conviction and you want to know if you might be eligible for a restricted license, an experienced Michigan criminal lawyer can discuss the specifics of your case and whether a restricted license might be an option for you.

Getting Your License Restored

Once your suspension period is over, you have to take steps to reinstate your license. That includes paying a reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State’s Office, and demonstrating that you’ve fulfilled any other conditions of your suspension. A Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer can explain how to go about getting your license back after a drug conviction, and help you through the process.

If your license was revoked, you have to take extra steps to get your license restored — and unlike a suspension it’s not a matter of simply paying a fee and being allowed behind the wheel again. To restore a revoked driver’s license, you have to petition for a hearing and demonstrate that you deserve to have driving privileges again. A qualified Michigan defense lawyer can explain how the hearing process works and your options for getting your driver’s license back.

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