Licensing & State Laws

Are you legally allowed to drive without supervision now? Learn more about Michigan’s multi-stage licensing process.

Level 1 License

When you turn 14 years 9 months old, you may apply for a learner’s license once your parent or legal guardian has signed a Level 1 application. Teens must then enroll in a Segment 1 driver education course that includes a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and four hours of observation as a passenger. Upon submitting a Segment 1 Certificate of Completion and passing a state exam, vision test and health-screening test, you’ll be issued a learner’s license.

With a level 1 license, teens must drive under the supervision of a licensed parent or adult age 21 or older a minimum of 30 daytime hours and two hours at night. After 90 days, you may then enroll in a Segment 2 driver education course that includes six hours of classroom instruction. During and after the course completion, you’re required to log at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving, including at least 10 hours at night, before moving on to the intermediate licensing phase. You are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m.  Drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 license are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Level 2 License

When you turn 16 and have driven on a learner’s license for at least six months and driven conviction- and crash-free for at least 90 days, you can apply for an intermediate license. Your parent or legal guardian must certify that you’ve completed the minimum requirements for practice driving, plus submit a Segment 2 Certificate of Completion and a Driving Skills Test Certificate. Upon passing a state exam, a vision test and health-screening test, you’ll be issued an intermediate license.

With your level 2 license, teen drivers are allowed to drive alone, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult when driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. (certain exclusions apply).  Drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 license are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Level 3 License

At age 17, you’ll automatically be issued a full license if you’ve driven under an intermediate license for at least six months and have been conviction- and crash-free (at-fault) for at least 12 consecutive months (exclusions apply). All nighttime driving restrictions are lifted once you receive your full license. Keep in mind that until you reach the age of 18, Michigan law authorizes your parents or legal guardian to withdraw their consent for you to drive. Listen to their direction and respect their knowledge.

At age 18, you will have completed the probationary period of the Graduated Driver License law and may drive without restrictions.  In all instances, you and all of your passengers must wear seat belts. Additionally, AAA recommends that drivers of all ages should refrain from using a cell phone while driving, except for emergency purposes, such as a call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department or other emergency services agency or entity. Michigan law prohibits drivers of any age from reading, composing or sending electronic text messages while operating a vehicle.

For more information, visit the Michigan Secretary of State.

Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.

Police enforce life-saving traffic laws related to seat belt use, drinking and driving, teen licensure and speeding, among others. If you violate those laws, you will be punished. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.

  • Expect to present your driver’s license, the vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • Always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
  • Talk to your parent about what happened.

If you get a ticket or are in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and many unpleasant consequences.

  • Fines
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • Driver’s license points
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Insurance rate increases

The Michigan Secretary of State is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Michigan. To enroll in Level 1 and Level 2 of the Graduated Driver Licensing program, you must apply in person and be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Be sure to check in advance for locations, hours, fees, plus acceptable forms or identification you’ll need to present when applying for each stage of licensing. Study materials to help you get ready for the exams are also available.

Please note that all driving skills tests required for licensing are provided through an independent network of approved third-party organizations. A list of authorized organizations is available through the Michigan Secretary of State.