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Over 800 Michiganders have their drivers licenses restored thanks to nine in-person clinics in  Dearborn, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Muskegon, Pontiac, and Ypsilanti. 

The clinics are part of a dynamic partnership – named “Road to Restoration” – led by the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) and Attorney General’s (AG) office. 

Approximately 350,000 Michiganders whose drivers licenses were suspended for various infractions – more than 3% of Michigan’s population – qualify to restore their drivers’ licenses under recently passed laws that went into effect October 1, 2021. 

While most of these people can renew their licenses online with the MDOS Road to Restoration website or schedule an appointment to obtain a new license, a sizeable portion of those impacted have more complicated cases and need legal support to fully restore their licenses.  

To best serve this group, MDOS and the AG team partnered with DTE Energy and Miller Canfield to rally resources across Michigan’s government, legal, nonprofit, religious, and private sectors to host in-person clinics that provide safe spaces and one-on-one legal support for people who need it.   

“A suspended license impacts a person’s ability to lead their best life, much in the same way a criminal record impacts those who have long-since paid their debt to society,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “I am proud to see months of hard work advocating for this criminal justice reform culminate with these Road to Restoration clinics for eligible Michiganders. My office will continue to support these efforts and I look forward to participating in additional restoration opportunities down the road.” 

“I believe in making government work for the people, and that is why we’ve worked diligently to ensure not only that these new laws are implemented thoroughly, but that those who are impacted understand the effects on their driving records,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “We’re proud to help host clinics like these that allow us to work directly with drivers, so they understand their path to getting back on the road.” 

Through DTE Energy’s relationships with nonprofit organizations, we collaborated to identify locations for clinics across Michigan and staff events with DTE volunteers who have the legal expertise to effectively help people.  

DTE Energy identified licensing issues as a barrier to employment more than three years ago as we implemented our Parnall Correctional Facility Tree Trimming training program at the prison’s Vocational Village. At that time, we presented our findings to the Michigan Department of State and since then, have grown our partnership and support around this issue.  

“We saw a pattern of people being held back by having suspended drivers licenses,” said Terrell Lockhart, DTE Tree Trimming training manager. “Working directly with the MDOS and AG’s teams to remove this barrier to employment with the clinics is equity and inclusion in action.”  

Over 100 attorneys from corporate legal departments and private law firms across Michigan are lending their expertise at Road to Restoration clinics. DTE’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer JoAnn Chavez joined dozens of DTE volunteers at a clinic in Ypsilanti in May. 

“Having a license makes it so much easier for people to find high-paying jobs and pursue a career,” said Chavez. “I’m honored to help people get back on track.” 

Additional Road to Restoration partners include:   

  • Cities of Dearborn, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Pontiac Michigan Works!  
  • Detroit Justice Center, Detroit Legal Aid and Defender Association, Lakeshore Legal Aid, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Legal Services of South-Central Michigan, Michigan Advocacy Program, and Miller Canfield 
  • ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), Goodwill Industries of Detroit, and the Pontiac Community Foundation  
  • Brown Chapel AME Church, New Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, and Mt. Zion Church of God in Christ    

Beginning in mid-July and running through October, seven additional license restoration clinics will be hosted in Alpena, Benton Harbor, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw, Southwest Detroit, Traverse City, and Warren. 

Watch JoAnn Chavez and MDOS Deputy Legal Director Khyla Craine discuss the Road to Restoration partnership and clinics with Chuck Stokes during his weekly Sunday “Spotlight on the News” program. 

Learn more and register for upcoming clinics at MDOS’ Road to Restoration website or phone the United Way’s 211 line.