Michigan Driver’s License Appeal – The most important key to winning your license hearing

Michigan driver's license appeal
When you work toward and maintain your sobriety you lay the foundation for the facts needed to win your Michigan driver’s license appeal hearing. Sobriety then, is the key factor in winning your license back.

Author – James E. Czarnecki

In a Michigan Driver’s License Appeal there is one key that is the most important path to winning the license restoration hearing – your sobriety.

The Administrative Rules require absolute sobriety.  Please take note of the requirements of Administrative Rule 13:

“(a) The hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence, all of the following: (i) That the petitioner’s alcohol or substance abuse problems, if any, are under control and likely to remain under control. (ii) That the risk of the petitioner repeating his or her past abusive behavior is a low or minimal risk.”


“Before ordering that a license be issued to the petitioner, the hearing officer shall require that the petitioner prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she has completely abstained from the use of alcohol and controlled substances, except for controlled substances prescribed by a licensed health care professional, for a period of not less than 6 consecutive months or has abstained for a period of not less than 12 consecutive months if the evidence considered at the hearing establishes that a longer period of abstinence is necessary.”

Administrative Rule 13

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Cold medications and testing for alcoholAs an experienced Michigan Driver’s license restoration attorney I can state with certainty that medications can cause a positive test for alcohol with an ignition interlock device.  One of the most used excuses is the Nyquil defense.  Yes, Nyquil can cause a positive test for alcohol.  The Nyquil defense rarely works.  It does not hold up to scrutiny.

The following is a very basic explanation as to why the Nyquil defense does not work.  A person’s BAC (blood alcohol content) reduces about 0.02 an hour once a person has stopped drinking.  Nyquil contains 10% (perhaps up to 25% in some reports) alcohol.  Even if you drank a whole bottle of Nyquil, your BAC would barely get to 0.02, especially the next morning.  However, it could if you drank several bottles of the medication.  If you admitted that you did drink several bottles of Nyquil, the hearing officer would believe that you were abusing the substance.  After all, if you have an interlock device in your car, it is because you have lost your license due to drinking and driving offenses.

In any event, considering that the body eliminates alcohol at a rate of .02 per hour, you would not test .02 in the morning several hours later, let alone test any higher than .02, that is, unless you drank many bottles.  Your body would eliminate the Nyquil by the time you would have to test. As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, you should trust me when I say that the courts and Secretary of State hearing officers do not accept the defense based upon the body’s elimination rate of alcohol.

I do agree that you could get a high alcohol reading if you just consumed Nyquil and immediately tested with the interlock device.  But, why put yourself on the defensive having to prove that you did not drink liquor. Since, Nyquil does contain a high amount of alcohol you should not use Nyquil when you are alcohol testing.  It is much better to avoid the problem altogether.  There are alternatives on the market that do not contain alcohol.