New Michigan Law Gives Circuit Court Judges More Discretion When Granting A Driver’s License, Attorney Todd Levitt,

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pexels-photoPrior to 1992 a circuit court judge had broad authority and discretion to issue restricted or full driving privileges.  After 1992, most circumstances involving reinstatement of driving privileges were placed in the hands of the secretary of state.  House Bill 4436, sponsored by Representative Peter J. Lucido, was signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder May 2016. The new bill amended the Michigan Vehicle Code 257.323 to do the following;
  • Expand the circuit court’s authority to review and set aside a Secretary of State (SOS) determination regarding a driver license suspension, revocation, or restriction.
  • Allow a court to determine that certain offenders were eligible for a restricted license.
  • Require a court that found a petitioner eligible for restricted driving privileges to issue an order that included particular restrictions, including the use of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that he or she operated.
  • Specify that the court order would have to require the SOS to revoke the petitioner’s restricted license under certain circumstances.
Appeal to Court

Under section 257.323 of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, a person may appeal to circuit court a final determination issued by the Secretary of state resulting in a driver license denial, suspension, revocation, or restriction.  Unless the sanction was issued on certain grounds or for certain offenses.

Sec. 323. (1) A person aggrieved by a final determination of the secretary of state denying the person an operator’s license, revoking, suspending, or restricting a license may petition for a review of the determination in the circuit court in the county where the person  was arrested if the denial or suspension was imposed under section 625f. A petition to circuit court must be filed within 63 days after the determination is made except that for good case shown the court may allow the person to file petition within 182 days after the determination is made.  A determination is what results after you appear before the secretary of state.

In the past a circuit court judge was limited to the following in considering to set aside the secretary of state's determination only if the petitioner's substantial rights have been prejudiced because the determination is any of the following:
  • In violation of the Constitution of the United States, the state constitution of 1963, or a statute.
  • In excess of the secretary of state's statutory authority or jurisdiction.
  • Made upon unlawful procedure resulting in material prejudice to the petitioner.
  • Not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record.
  • Arbitrary, capricious, or clearly an abuse or unwarranted exercise of discretion.
  • Affected by other substantial and material error of law.

The following Michigan laws will give you a clear interpretation of Michigan law both past current and the new act that amended 257.303 to include circuit court authority to grant driver license.

257.625 Operating motor vehicle while intoxicated; "operating while intoxicated" defined; operating motor vehicle when visibly impaired; penalties for causing death or serious impairment of a body function; operation of motor vehicle by person less than 21 years of age; requirements; controlled substance; costs; enhanced sentence; guilty plea or nolo contendere; establishment of prior conviction; special verdict; public record; burden of proving religious service or ceremony; ignition interlock device; definitions; prior conviction; violations arising out of same transaction.

257.303 Operator's or chauffeur's license; issuance; prohibitions; revocation; denial of license; multiple convictions or civil infractions; "felony in which a motor vehicle was used" defined.

257.323 Denial, revocation, suspension, or restriction of license vehicle group designation or indorsement; final determination; petition for review of determination; order setting cause for hearing; service of order, petition, and affidavits on secretary of state's office; testimony and examination; order affirming, modifying, or setting aside restriction, suspension, or denial.
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Law lawIf you or someone you know needs their Michigan driver's license back call attorney Todd L. Levitt for a free consultation at 989-772-6000. Also catch Todd's law show on iTunes, The Todd L. Levitt Law Show! 

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