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When can you get a restricted license after an OWI conviction?

| Feb 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

When people get behind the wheel after drinking, they may have longer reaction times and worse driving skills than usual. A legal limit on the level of alcohol in drivers’ bodies helps to protect the public from the consequences of drunk driving collisions. It can also mean that people face serious penalties for getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.

If someone gets arrested for an alleged operating while intoxicated (OWI) violation, Michigan’s policies lead to a day in court rather quickly. Those who plead guilty or get convicted will face the mandatory suspension of their license. Even first-time offenders will lose their driver’s license for at least six months after an OWI conviction.

If you need your vehicle to travel to work and manage your household, you may be able to ask for a restricted license. Some people call this a hardship license. When can you qualify for a restricted license after an OWI?

Do you need your vehicle to support yourself?

Securing a restricted license requires that you need your vehicle for practical or safety purposes.

If you are a stay-at-home parent with a child who has a medical condition, a restricted license can ensure that you can safely take your child to medical appointments and seek emergency care if necessary. If you work to support yourself and your family, you can use a restricted license to drive to and from your place of employment.

A vehicle can also be important if you have probation meetings, community service requirements or substance abuse treatment ordered by the courts that you have to attend. Even if you qualify for a restricted license, you will have to wait at least 30 days after your initial suspension to apply for it.

How does restricted licensing work in Michigan?

Your restricted license allows you to drive to work, to court-ordered interventions, to school and to the hospital or other medical facilities. Generally speaking, those on a restricted license have to carry documentation about their licensing status with them in their vehicle. If they get pulled over, they can face consequences for violating the terms of the restricted license.

While limitations on when and where you can drive may frustrate you, it is a better alternative to losing your right to drive entirely. Getting a restricted license after a conviction can help you bounce back. Avoiding a conviction can help you avoid the suspension of your license, but it’s important to remember that you still have options even after a conviction.