How to Submit a Hardship Appeal After Refusing the Alcohol Breath Test

It’s a major inconvenience to be without a driver license and one our clients often encounter as a result of operating while intoxicated (OWI), also known as driving under the influence (DUI). If you get arrested for OWI, you will be asked to take a breath test at the police station called a datamaster. The datamaster records the alcohol concentration in your breath sample, or a blood or urine test. If you refuse the tests, your license will be suspended for one year by the Secretary of State (SOS).

When your driver license is suspended, that means you don’t have your driving privileges from a period of time. For example, if your license gets suspended on June 8, 2019 you won’t be able to drive again until June 9, 2020. Fortunately, there is a way to get a restricted license during that suspension period so you at least aren’t completely without a license. This is done by submitting a hardship appeal.

What is a hardship appeal?

A hardship appeal is a process which addresses a driver license suspension under the idea that being without a license creates a “hardship.” A circuit court can order the SOS to issue a restricted license.

Michigan law recognizes the following as hardships:

  • Not being able to drive to:
    - work (or drive if your job requires you to do so)
    - school
    - drug or alcohol treatment programs ordered by a court
    - the court’s probation department
    - court-ordered community service

The hours a person can drive are restricted as well. For instance, the license might only allow for driving between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

How does the hardship appeal process work?

You will need to submit a claim of appeal to the circuit court of the county your incident took place in. For instance, if you are arrested in Hazel Park, your hearing will take place at the Oakland County Circuit Court since Hazel Park is in Oakland County.

You need to comply with the court rules (MCR 7.120) and the statute (MCL 257.323) when filing your appeal which is why it is important to hire an attorney. You must pay $175 to open a case in the court and a $20 motion fee to have your case heard in front of a judge.

If you are successful at your hearing, the judge will sign an order stating you are granted a restricted license. Your restrictions will be listed on the order so the SOS knows what restrictions to place on the restricted license you are given.

When can I order a hardship appeal?

It is your responsibility to get your order to the SOS within seven days of the order being signed by the judge. You must wait for the SOS to process your order before you can drive, even though the judge has already signed the order. The SOS has an online system called the Driver Appeal Integrated System (DAIS) which allows people to file their orders online and track the progress of their order. Click here to create a log in.

By law, the SOS has21 days to process your order or appeal the judge’s decision. If you are caught driving before your order is process, you will get in trouble. Therefore, it is vital for you to remain patient and wait for the order to be processed.

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