Impact of Emergency Closure on Driver’s License Restoration in Michigan
Michigan Secretary of State offices have closed during the COVID-19 Emergency Order and may remain closed for the immediate future. This hits especially hard for those already in the process of driver’s license restoration in Michigan but cannot get a hearing scheduled. It hits equally hard for clients who allegedly refused a breath/blood test following an OWI arrest and are currently suspended because of it.
Let’s face it: The Michigan economy and job market has taken a huge nose-dive. Those people without the ability to drive are going to be left even further behind.
For the last 20+years, Attorney Daniel T. Geherin has dedicated his career to helping put drivers back on the road following a license revocation. Every day Dan and his team get calls from clients and others who are eligible for a hearing, pending relief, or even in limbo waiting for decisions from SOS.
“Will SOS let me conduct a license appeal hearing via Zoom or other technology?”
“Are my documents that I obtained before the shutdown going to be ‘stale’ now?”
“I’ve been on the Interlock for over a year. Do I have to keep it in my car pending a new hearing?”
“Are any courts open to handle a Circuit Court Appeal of my license suspension?”
The Michigan SOS is aiming to open again in early May. However, they may only open on a limited or by-appointment basis and it remains to be seen whether the AHS (Administrative Hearing Section, which handles license revocation/suspension appeals) will be ready to conduct hearings. Over the past several weeks, AHS has reached out to us and offered hearings to be conducted by Microsoft Teams technology. However, that procedure brings its own set of challenges, such as: the inability to bring/provide documents; the difficulty in attorney-client communication during the hearing; sound/visual problems; and the fact that many people don’t have access to the technology.
Courts are only hearing “essential” motions, typically those where a defendant is in jail/prison custody. Nearly all Circuit Court license appeals have been postponed indefinitely, but that will hopefully change in May. If it does not, we will be asking courts to consider conducting these Michigan driver’s license restoration appeals by Zoom technology, as more and more courts are opening their doors via that technology.
Clients who submitted a request for a hearing before the Emergency Shutdown have seen their hearings scheduled, then rescheduled, then postponed again. Because their documents were recent at the time of application, they generally will not have to obtain new documents once their hearing is scheduled—unless the Secretary of State Hearing Officer wants to see new or updated information. Most commonly, they may want to see a new drug/alcohol test and an updated Interlock compliance report.
Regarding interlock compliance: the law prevents people from removing an Ignition Interlock device without a valid order from SOS. In fact, removal without an order can form the basis of a Major Violation to reinstate the revocation. Clients stuck in limbo awaiting the SOS opening must continue to pay for their devices, do the downloads, and attend calibrations.
Rest assured: Dan and his team remain open, available and ready to help people restore their Michigan driver’s licenses despite this health crisis, just as they remain committed to answering questions and securing results for all of their existing license appeal clients. Dan is recognized as a license appeals specialist throughout Southeastern Michigan, with a 98% success rate and over 100 5-star reviews from Michigan driver’s license restoration clients.
For a dedicated, experienced, and successful license appeals attorney anywhere in Southeastern Michigan, please contact Dan Geherin and his team at the Geherin Law Group, PLLC at (734) 263-2780.