Driver’s license restoration: what it takes to get back on the road

If you have applied or need to apply for license restoration, it surely means that it was taken away at one point. After staying off the road, sober, and out of jail for quite some time, you are now ready to request to get your driver’s license back. While you can apply on your own, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney, as the outcome will ultimately determine if you will get your license back or if you have to wait another year before applying again. Hiring an attorney is beneficial to your case because it also ensures that you correctly applied the first time, saving you time and money if you are not approved the first time around. 

  1. Am i eligible to apply to get my driver’s license back after being revoked?

The short answer is yes. You are eligible when you wait at least one calendar year since your license was initially revoked (though in some circumstances it’s five years, and in other circumstances your eligibility date is moved back because of other traffic violations you incur when you don’t have a license). Your very first step should be to contact the Secretary of State to obtain an official copy of your driver’s record. Better yet, if you schedule a consultation with us, we can get that record for you! Your driving record helps us define when you are eligible to begin the process of getting your license back. 

 2. What is required for a driver’s license restoration hearing?

The following must be completed to request a hearing:

  •  A request for hearing and a current substance abuse assessment (two separate documents, combined into a single one here)
  •  A laboratory report from a 12-panel drug screen, which you can get at a local drug-screening facility.
  • 3-6 Letters of support from family, friends or co-workers, or others who see you regularly that can attest to your sobriety.
  • While not required, other evidence that supports your abstinence is verified attendance in AA meetings or other substance abuse treatment.

3. What should I look out for?

Having letters of support from family and friends who can confirm your sobriety and sound decision-making is vital. However, you need to know what information should be included or excluded. Think quality over quantity.

Each letter of support must be notarized, dated, and have the address and phone number along with the person who wrote it. The letters should include:

  • How the person knows you and for how long.
  • The last time they say you used alcohol or drugs to their knowledge.
  • How long you have been alcohol or drug-free (and how they know that).
  • How your attitude and behavior have changed as a result of your sobriety.

The Hearing

Although you are not required to have a lawyer, it is definitely in your best interest, especially during the hearing.

The decision of whether you get your license back sits with a hearing officer for the Secretary of State who reviews the evidence provided before deciding whether to restore your license or not. It is important to note that these officers are all different and will handle things in their way. Many of them are looking for any little reason to toss out your application. You won’t be ready for their routine questions unless you have prior experience in front of that officer. At Coontz Law, we know what to expect and how to help present you in the best way possible.

If the hearing officer grants you your license, expect to have an interlock device installed on your car for at least a year before your full driving privileges are reinstated. It’s not necessarily required, but in practice, this is what happens almost every single time. You will be responsible for the device’s cost, as well as ensuring it is in working order. Any further violations on this device can cause your license to be revoked again.

If the hearing officer denies your license, you have two options:

  • Seek an appeal if you have an appealable issue to the circuit court of your county


  • Wait a year before you apply again. This is why it’s important to do this once and to do it right the first time. 

Hiring an attorney is the best chance to get your license back. The team at Coontz Law is here for you. Our lead practicing attorney, Charlotte Steffen, is especially good at these hearings: she’s done hundreds of them with a 99% success rate. We also have great systems to keep track of these cases, keeping ourselves, our clients, their letter-writers, and the substance-abuse assessors on track.

If the freedom of being on the road means something to you, it’s worth making sure it gets done right the first time. Call us today at (517) 940-8004 to schedule a consultation so we can get the ball rolling on getting you back in the driver’s seat.