Michigan Hardship Licenses
MCL 257.323(3) governs the issuance of hardship licenses, which are issued by the Michigan Department of State. It allows for the issuance of a limited license in the case of first offense breathalyzer refusal suspensions (which carry a 1 year suspension,) driver assessment suspensions or restrictions imposed pursuant to MCL 257.320 & MCL 257.310d, or a license denial imposed under MCL 257.303(1)(d).
To obtain a hardship license, the applicant must show that the license suspension has caused an extreme hardship, such that the applicant is at risk for the loss of a job due to the suspension, and that the applicant is the sole wage earner in his or her immediate family. Michigan hardship licenses are valid only for specific purposes, such as driving to school, medical appointments or work. In Michigan, the Driver’s License Appeal Division (DLAD) handles hardship license cases and there are waiting periods in certain cases. For example, if you have 3 DUI convictions within 10 years, you must serve at least 5 years of the suspension prior to seeking a hardship licenses. There are no exceptions to this rule.
No hardship license is available for habitual offenders in Michigan and hardship licenses are available only for suspensions and not license revocations. It is unlikely that you will receive a Michigan hardship license for vehicular homicide, manslaughter, operating after suspension, or operating under the influence of alcohol. Also, you cannot get a hardship license if your right to drive was suspended for a breathalyzer refusal within the previous 7 years or if you have accumulated over 24 points within 2 years prior to your suspension.
In a very limited number of cases, the circuit court has ordered the Michigan Department of State to issue a restricted license. The Secretary of State has the ability to seek judicial review of these circuit court orders by appealing them to the Court of Appeals.