Should I Bring a Lawyer to My Driver’s License Reexamination?
In Michigan, the Secretary of State’s Traffic Safety Division conducts driver reexaminations as authorized by Michigan’s Motor Vehicle Code. The purpose of a driver’s license reexamination is to determine your ability to drive safely and whether or not a suspension of your license or some other licensing control should be imposed.
The reasons for a driver’s license reexamination include the following:
- Receiving tickets while on probationary status;
- A mental or physical condition that prevents you from operating a vehicle safely;
- Involvement in a fatal crash;
- Involvement in three or more traffic crashes in a three year period where the crash reports indicate that you are the at-fault driver;
- Accumulation of 12 or more points in a two year period;
- Violations of a restricted license.
The driver assessment reexamination will consist of multiple parts. You will take a vision test, a written knowledge test, and an on-road performance test. You will not be permitted to have an attorney assist you with any of the testing.
If you are being brought in due to a concern regarding your mental or physical condition, you may be required to provide a medical statement for review.
In addition to the testing, you will have a recorded hearing where the driver’s license re-examiner from the Secretary of State office will ask you questions. If you are being brought in for a reexamination due to your involvement in a fatal crash, the police officer who investigated the crash will also be called to the reexamination to testify against you. You, or your attorney, will have an opportunity to cross-examine the police officer about the crash.
Whether or not you should have an attorney at your driver’s license reexamination hearing depends on the reason why you are being called in for a reexamination, and your comfort-level in representing yourself at the hearing portion of the reexamination.
If you have been given notice of a reexamination following your involvement in a fatal crash, you should absolutely have an attorney present at the reexamination hearing. The likelihood of you being charged with a crime related to an accident involving a death is extremely high. Michigan has a crime called “Moving Violation Causing Death,” which allows you to be charged with a crime if commission of a moving violation (following too close, speeding, running a stop sign, failure to yield, etc.) results in an accident causing death. Your intent doesn’t matter. The fact that it was an accident doesn’t matter. You can still be charged with a crime that is punishable by up to one year in jail. Further, if the police believe that you were driving recklessly during the accident that caused a death, you could be charged with Reckless Driving Causing Death, a 15-year felony. At the driver’s license reexamination, you do not want to make a recorded statement that can be used against you. You also want an attorney to be able to cross-examine the investigating officer about the crash, to try to get a recorded statement from the officer that is favorable to you in any criminal case that is brought against you.
If you have been given notice of a reexamination due to a concern about your mental or physical condition, it also might be helpful to have an attorney assist you. The Secretary of State frequently suspends the driver’s licenses of those who are suspected to have a medical issue, even if their doctors provide a statement to the contrary. This decision can be appealed to the Circuit Court of the county where you reside. In order to ensure that the record of the reexamination hearing is complete and will allow you to successfully appeal your suspension to the Circuit Court, it is probably wise to bring an attorney to the hearing to assist you.
If you have been given notice that you will be required to attend a driver’s license reexamination hearing, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney prior to attending the hearing, and then make a decision whether or not you should hire someone to attend the hearing with you. The attorneys at Blanchard Law have experience in handling Driver’s License Reexamination hearings throughout the State of Michigan. If you have a driver’s license reexamination hearing, contact Blanchard Law today.