Restoring your Driver’s License
by Guest Blogger Tyler Knapp
A major obstacle that people battling with addiction face is a suspended or revoked driver’s license. While it is technically considered a privilege, it can be very hard to live in America without personal transportation.
Unable to commute, a suspension not only severely limits your choice of employers, but can also make it very difficult to buy and transport basic necessities. For these reasons, it is very much worth it to appeal a suspension, and even a revocation, and get your license back. It isn’t entirely effortless, but if you are dependent on it, very much worth the trouble.
There is a division in your state government that is responsible for driver’s license restoration, the name of which varies from state to state.
Here in Michigan it is called the Driver’s Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD). You can find yours with a simple Google search.
These people are not here to judge your past. They are here to decide if you can now, in the present and future, be trusted to drive without being a threat to other drivers. Everything you do in your appeal should be geared toward showing this.
Get a lawyer
Yes, it isn’t free, but it’s not as expensive as you would imagine, and it helps a lot. Some lawyers will guarantee you success on your first hearing and represent you free of charge for any future hearings if the first one fails. It is worth it, especially if your job depends on it.
File a Petition
Fill out the form for an appeal, which can usually be found on the .gov webpage of your state’s version of the DAAD. In some states you can only petition the government for an assessment once per year, so look up your regulations and try to do it right the first time. The success of your petition will rely largely on not making simple mistakes here, and having good letters of reference.
You need a few good letters of reference. Quality is far more important than quantity here. A well written, enthusiastic, and well-organized endorsement from your boss will count for a hundred friends.
Any letter of reference should be from someone who has direct knowledge of your sobriety and can attest to your recovery. This can include friends and family, but may be more compelling if it is from a recovery counselor or someone with an authoritative opinion. They should include that your drug or alcohol problem is now under control, and that the risk of you driving while intoxicated is now low.
Filing for Administrative Review (Out of State)
If you need to file for a driver’s license reinstatement from out of state, you have the option of an administrative review, specifics on that in the link. This way you could avoid a hearing. It is a more complicated process, and you have to prove your sobriety entirely on paper, but it can be less terrifying for some people.
Preparing for your hearing
Everything you do here is paperwork that should also be included in an administrative review. The main goal here is to find every convincing reason you can scratch together for you to be allowed back onto the streets and make it presentable.
You will need:
The 10 Panel Drug Screen
A Substance Abuse Evaluation
A history of treatment and relapse
Witnesses to testify to your recovery
Lifestyle changes that show that you are unlikely to re-offend
Show why you need to drive.
Your needs can be taken into consideration. Sometimes, holding down a job requires the ability to commute. If you are successful, you can be granted a restricted license that will allow you to drive a specific route to work and back.
A lawyer will know all of the details of how to best go about this in your state. Facing the hearing officer by yourself is an intimidating experience, and it is very helpful to have someone who does it every day next to you, speaking on your behalf so you don’t have to.
Don’t try to minimize your past or make excuses. Show that you are not as you were and are responsible adult who can be trusted with the lives of others on the road.
If you prepare properly, and are in fact recovered, you have a good chance of success at your hearing. This driver’s license lawyer claims a success rate over 95%, so don’t be too intimidated to get back to living. The lawyers and the hearing officer are here specifically to get you and others like you back on the road as soon as is safely possible. They are on your side. It’s just that they want to do it in a way that will prevent you or anyone else getting killed.
Tyler Knapp is a freelance writer on behalf of Grabel & Associates who specialize in driver’s license restoration. He enjoys learning and writing about the rights we have as Americans and spreading his knowledge around.