Driver’s License Restoration – Secretary of State – Michigan – AHS Hearing

If you are convicted of two or more drinking and driving related offenses within 7 years or 3 or more within a lifetime in the state of Michigan, you are subject to license revocation for a minimum of 1 year. If you are convicted of a OWI / DUI 3rd Offense (or subsequent offense) and have a prior license revocation within 7 years, you are subject to a license revocation of a minimum of 5 years. However, if you are convicted of a 3rd (or subsequent Offense) OWI / DUI, you have a valid drivers’ license and no prior revocations within 7 years you may qualify for a restricted drivers’ license utilizing sobriety court.

The words “minimum” and “eligible” are important words in the above paragraph. As you most likely already know, being eligible, after meeting the minimum period outlined simply means you are eligible to request a hearing with the secretary of state. To request a hearing, the Administrative Hearings Section (AHS) – (Previously referred to as DLAD/DAAD) requires a Substance Use Evaluation (Commonly referred to as a Substance Abuse Evaluation) as well as, 3 – 6 letters from family, friends, and co-workers, that are notarized, supporting your sobriety. The burden of proving you have been, are, and likely will remain  sober falls on the petitioner. Unlike a license suspension in which after the suspension period your driver’s license becomes valid automatically, when your driver’s license is revoked, it is revoked indefinitely.

One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to attend a AHS / DAAD hearing insufficiently prepared. If your petition is denied, and it likely will be, not only are you not able to request another hearing for at least 1 year, additionally your Substance Use Evaluation, support letters, and sworn testimony, are all evidence in your file. The key to successfully winning your driving privileges back is all about the preparation. In fact, the hearing it self should be rather easy, providing the proper preparation has occurred. The hearing officers that administer these hearings are licensed attorneys. They conduct these hearings on a daily basis. It is their obligation to identify even the most minute discrepancy between the information in your Substance Use Evaluation, letters of sobriety,  driving record, criminal record, witnesses sworn testimony, and your sworn testimony. There are very specific things the hearing officer will be looking for in your sobriety letters and the evaluation. Remember the burden lies 100% on the petitioner, the AHS hearing officer will always error on the side of keeping a repeat offender off the road.

Over the years, I have participated in hundreds of AHS / DAAD hearings. I have over a 99% success rate. I say this not in a braggadocios manner, trust me, there isn’t any magical statement that can be said to win. As I referenced before, it is all about the preparation, but to properly prepare, you have to know exactly what to prepare for. This is where my years of experience and hundreds of hearings is invaluable. I have participated in hearings with every hearing officer.

The requirements and process of requesting an AHS Hearing is as follows. First, I confirm my client is eligible to request a hearing. I do so by requesting a certified copy of your driving record. I then comb through this record ensuring the information such as arrest dates and conviction dates are accurate. You would be surprised by the numbers of errors I have found reviewing driving records. After confirming my clients eligibility I then review the specifics of your case. There is a great level of detail that I explore, I will not go into in-depth detail here, in broad terms I am looking at the time between your arrests, the nature of your arrests, your BAC levels, the locations, the time of day, etc. I will then review your probationary terms, violations, if any, substance abuse treatment, counseling, MADD events, all things related to your substance abuse treatment and recovery. After reviewing these items my client and I have a long detailed conversation about their journey of sobriety. I learn their story of recovery on a personal level. The next step is to obtain your 3 to 6 letters from family, friends, and co-workers. I will guide you with the specific key information that must be in each letter. After these letters have been written I will then review these letters thoroughly and will identify the corrections needed. After which the letters will need to be signed and notarized by the author. At this point a Substance Use Evaluation will need to be performed as well as a 10 panel drug screen. With these items in hand I will then request your hearing with the AHS. Generally we will receive the notification of a scheduled hearing within 4 to 8 weeks. Within the 48 hours preceding your hearing we will either meet or discuss via phone and review everything one last time ensuring we are completely prepared to have a successful hearing with a positive outcome.

The hearing takes place in Novi, there are other locations that conduct hearings via video, however with a positive outcome being so crucial, I always request the hearing to take place live and in person. The typical hearing duration is 45 minutes or less. It takes place in a 20′ by 30′ room. Generally it is attended by the hearing officer, my client, and my self. Everything said is recorded, you will be sworn in under oath. At the conclusion of the hearing it is possible the hearing officer will make a determination at that time and make it known, however it is more likely we will receive written notice by mail within a couple of weeks.

Together we can get you back on the road legally.
Call my office at 586-979-6000 to schedule your consultation. I can also be reached by email at


Ernie Robinette Jr.,
Driver’s Licenses Restoration Attorney – Macomb County