Michigan Criminal Law: Conviction/Post Conviction DLAAD Hearings/Driver’s License Restoration

If a person is charged and convicted of a “traffic” criminal offense in Michigan, they may face sanctions administered by courts and Department of State. Driver Responsibility fees, for example, may persist well after a person finishes up their obligations to the court.

The Department of State has been delegated with substantial authority to regulate and control driver’s licenses and license-related procedures by statute. They have their own system of administrative hearing officers, reviews, and standards. While their authority is somewhat limited in comparison to a court, they have a lot of control over whether a person is able to legally drive in Michigan. For example, they may impose additional sanctions in conjunction with penalties imposed by the court because of a conviction for a traffic offense.

While there are two separate processes, the courts and Department of State are also significantly intertwined. In Michigan, the court will send an abstract of the plea or conviction, depending on the offense, to the Department of State. It’s up to the Department of State to pursue the appropriate sanction. These sanctions are then subject to a series of administrative reviews and appeals if the driver wishes to challenge their actions. Ultimately, unless the laws state otherwise, there should be judicial review.

Through the Department of State, there may be relief available even if a person is facing a possible license suspension because of a conviction through the courts. With certain types of traffic offenses, depending upon a person’s prior history, they may be eligible for a restricted license. Ultimately, there are procedures which lead to judicial review, but that ‘s not available usually until the Secretary of State has issued their “final determination” and the various internal administrative appeals have been exhausted. Notably, a person may appeal a ruling after a hearing administered through the Driver’s License Assessment and Appeals Division (DLAAD) through their applicable Circuit Court. (Hardship appeals, to get a restricted license, for example, may be pursued in certain situations.)

Things get even more complicated when residents of one state have license-related offenses in other states. The Michigan Department of State’s Office, generally speaking, will pursue the appropriate sanction once they are notified that a Michigan resident has a conviction or, depending on the charge, a guilty plea, to a traffic offense, from another state. However, they won’t know automatically. Occasionally, there are delays in the reporting processes between the various states. Occasionally, the state that issued the original license might not be aware that one of their residents picked up a conviction or suspension in another state. While there are uniform compacts that have streamlined a lot of these procedures, there is no federal, nationalized system for driver’s licenses and ultimately it depends on the respective states.

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

In contrast to many criminal “traffic offenses” administered through the court-system; with Department of State proceedings, you are not entitled to a lawyer payable at the public’s expense if you cannot afford to retain a lawyer. You may bring your own lawyer if you wish to do so. However, you must obtain your own counsel. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.