January 2010 Archives

January 29, 2010

Driving While License Suspended or Revoked - a Return to Forever

In the previous article on this Blog, we examined the difference between Misdemeanor and Civil Infraction Traffic Offenses, and learned that Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses can NEVER be removed from a person's Criminal Record. In this article, we'll look at the consequences of that permanence, and see how it applies in the real world.

As a practicing Criminal Defense Lawyer, I spend a lot of time in the Metro-Detroit area Courts. A recent experience in a city outside the Suburban-Metro area (hereafter referred to as the "other place") serves as the inspiration for this installment. To be fair, I cannot say where this case was handled, other than to point out that it was not in Macomb, Oakland, or Wayne County. In fact, an experience like this tends to reinforce my general policy to limit my Practice to the Tri-County area, with certain, limited exceptions. And I got into this case as one of those exceptions.

arrest.jpgMy Client was charged with Driving While License Suspended, Revoked or Denied (DWLS/DWLR), 2nd Offense. His last DWLS/DWLR conviction occurred more than 10 years before this most recent charge. He has 4 total prior DWLS/DWLR convictions. His License was Revoked due to several DUI convictions, the last also occurring nearly 10 years before this arrest. To be clear, his last DUI did, in fact, occur after his last DWLS/DWLR case.

Somehow or other, my Client was able to get a License from another State right after his last DUI conviction (definitely an error on that State's part), and returned to Michigan for a visit a little over 5 years ago, when he held the then-valid, out of State License. He got pulled over in a local city, and because his Michigan License was revoked, was still cited for DWLS/DWLR. He returned to the other State without taking care of this Michigan matter, and all but forgot about it.

Until he got arrested for DWLS/DWLR in the "other place." When his LEIN record was run, it came up that he had an outstanding Bench Warrant for his failure to show up to Court for the local DWLS/DWLR case. The end result to all this was that he had to post a Bond for the Old, local case, as well as the new, "other place" case.

Continue reading "Driving While License Suspended or Revoked - a Return to Forever" »

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January 27, 2010

Misdemeanor Driving Offenses - On Your Record Forever

We've all heard the term "Traffic Offense." Usually, it's used to denote a legal problem of relatively minor significance. Sometimes the term "Traffic Offense" is improperly used as a synonym for "Traffic Ticket." While all Traffic Tickets, are, by their very nature, Traffic Offenses, not all Traffic Offenses are merely simple Traffic Tickets.

Traffic Offenses can be divided into 2 categories: Civil Infractions and Misdemeanors. Civil Infractions are Offenses which DO NOT carry any possible Jail term. Most, but not all, Civil Infractions carry Points, which are applied to a Driver's Record, plus fines. Think Speeding Ticket.

permanent-record-tattoo-victoria-bc.jpgTraffic Misdemeanors, on the other hand, DO carry a potential Jail Sentence. In addition, many, although not all, Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses carry Points, as well as fines and Court costs. Think DUI and Suspended License charges.

In my Criminal Practice, the general lack of clarity regarding a "Traffic Offense" comes up in many different ways. Let's look at a few examples.

When someone hires me because they've been charged with a crime, and I ask if they have any prior Criminal Convictions, I often get a response like "no, just some Traffic stuff." But as we've seen, some Traffic Offenses are Civil Infractions, and others are Misdemeanors. All Traffic Misdemeanors are, first and foremost, Misdemeanors, meaning they are Criminal Offenses. A person convicted of a DUI, or Driving While License Suspended charge does, in fact, have a "prior," or "priors." A person with 100 Speeding Tickets, but no prior Misdemeanor of Felony convictions, (Traffic or otherwise), despite being a lousy driver, does not have any "priors."

Here's where it gets tricky: Traffic Misdemeanors can NEVER be removed from a person's Criminal Record. While even a Delivery of Heroin Felony conviction can be set aside, by law, no Traffic Misdemeanor can ever "come off" a person's Record. Traffic Misdemeanor are worse than bad tattoos; at least a tattoo can be removed, even though the process is painful.

Continue reading "Misdemeanor Driving Offenses - On Your Record Forever" »

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January 25, 2010

How a Michigan Felony Case Works

This article is the companion piece to the last Blog installment about Misdemeanor Cases - From Start to Finish. To begin with, its scope is limited by my experience in the types of Felony cases that I handle (what I call "light-to-medium severity"), as well as the fact that I limit my practice to Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties (with the occasional exception of a trip to Lapeer, Livingston or St. Clair Counties). In other words, this article will describe the typical chain of events in a Metro-Detroit area Felony charge for crimes less severe than murder, armed-robbery, and the like.

Just as with Misdemeanors, most, but certainly not all Felony Cases begin with an Arrest. An example of a Felony that often begins without an arrest is the charge of Embezzlement. Usually, these crimes occur in an employer-employee relationship, or something similar, and the Victim goes to the Police. Often during the investigative phase, the Police will call the person suspected of Embezzling, and want to speak with them. Whatever does or doesn't happen, once the case gets to the point of Charging the Defendant (which means obtaining a Warrant, signed by the Prosecutor), the Police will often again contact the person named in the Warrant and try to make arrangements for them to voluntarily turn themselves in.

gears_Elsie_esq2.jpgWhether by Arrest or voluntary turn-in, the person to be charged is "booked" (mug shots and fingerprints) at the Police Station and then brought before a Judge or Magistrate in the District Court of the Municipality where the Offense is alleged to have occurred, to be Arraigned. The Arraignment is the first step in a case, and serves several purposes. It allows the person being charged to be told exactly what they are being charged with, what the maximum possible penalty is that can be imposed (as well as any mandatory minimum penalty) and to be informed of the Constitutional Rights. In addition, there is the setting of Bond, and the imposition of any Bond Condition (like a GPS tether, or a provision requiring the Defendant to have "no contact" with the alleged Victim).

By Law, within 14 days from the date of Arraignment, the next step, called a Preliminary Examination, must be held. This is unique to Felony Cases; there is no Preliminary Exam in Misdemeanor Cases. The Preliminary exam phase requires that the Prosecutor be able to come forward on that date and present enough evidence to the District Court Judge to prove 2 things:

  1. That there is "Probable Cause" to believe a Crime has been committed, and
  2. That there is "Probable Cause" to believe the Defendant (the person charged) committed it.

In practical terms, the Courts have interpreted this as meaning that the Prosecutor must be able to show the Judge that there is "Probable Cause" to believe a Crime has been committed, and that there is an honest, debatable "question of fact" that the Defendant committed it. This means that unless the Judge is satisfied that the case is so weak that Justice demands it's dismissal, the matter will be "Bound Over," or transferred to the County's Circuit Court.

Continue reading "How a Michigan Felony Case Works" »

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January 22, 2010

Misdemeanor Cases in Michigan from Start to Finish - Putting the Pieces Together

On both my website and in this Blog we have discussed the difference between Misdemeanor and Felony Cases, and examined various aspects of each in detail. This article will be more of an "overview" post, providing a look at how the various parts of a Misdemeanor case fit together. The next article will, in turn, examine How a Michigan Felony Case Works.

In my nearly 20 years as a Criminal Defense Lawyer, I have handled pretty much every kind of Misdemeanor there is, and even some I didn't know existed. What follows is an explanation of the procedure that is common to all Misdemeanor Cases, at least in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, where I practice.

jigsaw_puzzle3.jpgMost, but not all Misdemeanor Cases begin with an Arrest. Depending on the usual procedure of any given Court, and/or the type of Charge, a person can be taken to the Police Station, processed, and released without having posted any Bond, or after having posted a small, nominal Bond. In other cases, particularly DUI matters, the person may be held until they are sober enough to be released. Still other Courts require anyone arrested to be brought before a Judge or Magistrate (sometimes this is done by video from the Jail or Police Station) to be formally Arraigned on whatever charge or charges they face, and have the Bond, and it's attendant Conditions, set.

Sometimes, a person will not be arrested, but given a Citation (Ticket). The Citation will advise them as to when they should contact the Court. In other cases, a person will not even be given a Citation, but will be told that they'll receive something in the mail. This means that they will either be notified to appear directly, in Court, or to go to the Police Station to be "booked."

Whether by Arrest, or Court Notice or notification to first appear at the Police Station, there is usually no doubt when a person has been formally charged with a Misdemeanor.

A Pre-Trial is the first Substantive (i.e. important) proceeding in a Misdemeanor Case. Sometimes, certain Courts will combine the Arraignment and Pre-Trial proceedings on the same date.

Either way, the Pre-Trial is an opportunity for the Defense Lawyer to meet with the Prosecutor and discuss whether there might be a way to work the case out without having to go through a full-blown Jury Trial. The goal, or course, is for each side to compromise a little and hopefully come to an agreement that is fair to both sides, which usually means some kind of Plea Bargain.

Continue reading "Misdemeanor Cases in Michigan from Start to Finish - Putting the Pieces Together" »

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January 20, 2010

Winning a License Restoration Appeal in Michigan Means a Restricted License First

My Practice as a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer in Michigan is resoundingly successful in terms of the percentage of cases I win. While I'm not trying to sound boastful, I win well over 90-some percent of the cases I file. Much of this has to do with screening potential Clients and making sure they meet the State criteria in order to win their Appeal. In other words, it means not taking on Clients who aren't yet "ready," in every sense of the word, to prove their case by the required "Clear and Convincing Evidence."

Over the years, I have won a lot of cases. And in every one of those cases, the Client has been awarded, at first, a Restricted License. This article will focus on how and why a person who files a License Appeal can pretty much forget about getting a Full, Unrestricted License right out of the gate.

stop_dog-pulling_on_a_leash-300x267.jpgPerhaps one of the most common questions I'm asked, as I take on a Client for a License Appeal, is something to the effect of "What's the chance of my getting a Full License?"

My answer is always the same: Essentially zero.

There's a reason for this. When a Restricted License is granted, the Secretary of State must require that the person install an ignition interlock (breath-tester) in any vehicle they will be driving. This gives the Secretary of State an opportunity to monitor a person as they get back on the road, and really amounts to a probationary half-step in the process of eventually returning a Full License. It's kind of like being kept on a "short leash."

When a Full, Unrestricted License is granted, there is no legal way to order an ignition interlock. In a very real way, the granting of a Full License requires the Secretary of State to completely "sign off" on a person as being a totally safe bet to remain abstinent from alcohol. I've never met the Hearing Officer who doesn't want at least a little ongoing proof before that happens. And a year on a Restricted License, while being monitored with a breath-test unit, is exactly how they can get that.

Accordingly, a person filing a License Appeal must be ready to accept that this is the case, because, as the saying goes, "that's just the way it is."

Continue reading "Winning a License Restoration Appeal in Michigan Means a Restricted License First" »

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January 18, 2010

Getting a Copy of your Michigan Driving Record to Start a License Appeal

As a Driver's License Restoration Attorney, the most important part of what I must deal with in every case involving someone's License is their Driving Record. I need accurate and precise information about the actions taken by the Secretary of State. Sometimes, when I receive a call from a prospective Client, they are unable to give me the exact information I need to determine if they are eligible to file a License Appeal. The best way for me to make this determination is to read their Driving Record, especially the part at the very end under the heading "Administrative Action" which details exactly what Suspensions and/or Revocations have been imposed by the Secretary of State, as well as when and why they occurred.

A common question asked of either me or my staff is "Can you get a copy of my Driving Record?" This Blog article will explain exactly how a person can get a copy of their own Driving Record, and will have several links to the Secretary of State's website to help with those requests.

file_room2.jpgA significant share of my Practice includes helping people who've moved out-of-state clear up outstanding issues with their Michigan License. For these individuals, going to a Secretary of State Branch Office and making an in-person request for their Driving Record is impossible.

Other people are just too busy during regular business hours, and would prefer the convenience of being able to send away for their Record. The downside to mailed-in request is that it is not instant. In other words, the person walking into a Secretary of State Branch Office can pay $8 and walk out with their Record. Someone sending in for it must wait a bit, typically about 2 weeks.

Under no circumstances should a person use a 3rd party, or private information service which offers to sell you a copy of your Michigan Driving Record. Those records do not contain certain essential information (most don't even have and "Administrative Action" section at all!) that must be reviewed in order to determine a person's eligibility to Appeal, either to a Court, or to the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) for Restoration of Driving Privileges. Beyond costing more than an official Record from the Secretary of State, even if they're mostly accurate, they're never complete.

Continue reading "Getting a Copy of your Michigan Driving Record to Start a License Appeal" »

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January 15, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Problems for Those who have Moved out of State

As a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, a good chunk of the inquiries I receive comes from people who cannot be licensed in another state because of some hold on or problem with their Michigan Driver's License. Whatever other state they're currently living in, they discover that no License can be issued there until they "clear up" their Michigan License. This article will focus specifically on those cases where the reason for the Michigan hold or problem is multiple DUI's.

Under Michigan Law, 2 DUI's within 7 years results in the Revocation of the Driver's License for a minimum of 1 year. 3 or more DUI's within 10 years causes the Driver's License to be Revoked for a minimum of 5 years. When we say "for a minimum of" it means that the person cannot even file an Appeal for a License Restoration until that much time has passed, but will never be Licensed until such Appeal has been filed and won. In the real world, this means that many people, particularly those who are no longer living in Michigan, wait considerably longer than the minimum Revocation period to pursue their Appeal.

If a person is not completely clear about their eligibility to file a License Appeal, the first thing they should do is obtain a copy of their Michigan Driving Record. This link will help in that effort.

gm_headquarters_in_detroit.jpgOnce someone has moved out of Michigan, they are no longer eligible to Restore a Michigan Driver's License, and must instead obtain a "Clearance" from the Secretary of State in order to have a License issued in another state.

For the person who now has an address in a different state, there are 2 ways to go about the Appeal:

The first (and better way) is to file the traditional, Request-for-Hearing Appeal which requires them to reappear in Michigan for a reexamination. In my Practice, all such cases are scheduled for a Hearing at the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division's Livonia office.

The other method involves filing for an Administrative Review which allows the person to skip the Hearing and just submit the various and required documents and wait for a decision.

I am not a fan of the Administrative Review. In fact, I strongly discourage it.

It is my hope that in explaining this, the prospective Client will either see things my way, or at least trust my experience and judgment enough to be willing to come back to Michigan in order to properly handle (and win) their License Appeal.

What follows is an examination of why I favor in-person Hearings so strongly for those who have moved out of state and need to obtain a Michigan Clearance in order to have a Driver's License issued in another state:

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Problems for Those who have Moved out of State" »

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January 13, 2010

Michigan Traffic Offenses - Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Personal Injury)

In the previous Blog entry, we discussed the Misdemeanor Offense of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident (PD). This article will discuss the similar, but more serious Offense of Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident (PI).

Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident is typically spoken of as Leaving he Scene of a PI Accident. Like the related charge involving a Property Damage Accident, this Offense and its penalties are set forth in the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. Leaving the Scene of a PI Accident carries a much stiffer potential penalty, however, of up to 1 year in the County Jail.

car-accident.jpgAgain it would seem obvious why this is a Crime. There is a strong public interest in making sure anyone involved in an accident sticks around long enough to exchange information with anyone else involved and summon the Police, if necessary. The stakes are much higher if there is an injury, or even a potential injury. Doesn't everybody who ever gets a Driver's License learn that the first thing one should ask, after a collision, is if everyone is all right?

Imagine the potential consequences if a Driver leaves the scene of an accident after another person has been injured, and is unable to call for help. Given the stakes, making sure one person renders aid or contacts help for another who has been injured is, and ought to be, a matter of universal public policy.

In the real world, this charge comes up when someone collides with another vehicle, or pedestrian, and then panics and takes off. I think it's fair to say that most of the time this happens, the person who takes off truly believes that the other party is okay. In other words, most of the time, when one person knows they have really banged up another, they'll stick around and do the right thing.

As with PD accidents, there are two groups of people who Leave the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident:

1. Those who had been drinking and left the scene to avoid getting arrested for a DUI, and

2. Everybody else.

Continue reading "Michigan Traffic Offenses - Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Personal Injury)" »

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January 11, 2010

Michigan Traffic Offenses - Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Property Damage)

One kind of charge that comes up somewhat regularly in my Practice as a Criminal Defense Lawyer involves the Misdemeanor charge of Leaving the Scene of a Accident. Actually, there are two different kinds of Leaving the Scene charges: The one we'll discuss in this first article, is Leaving the Scene or a Property Damage Accident. In the next installment of this Blog, we'll examine the other, similar (but more serious) charge of Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident.

Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident is often referred to as Leaving the Scene of a PD Accident, and is a violation of what's known as Michigan's Motor Vehicle Code. The Motor Vehicle Code is the collection of all Michigan Traffic Laws. A violation of any provision of the Motor Vehicle Code is considered a Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in Jail, unless a different penalty is specified as part of a particular provision. Curiously, and somewhat redundantly, the specific provision of the Law concerning Leaving the Scene of a PD Accident includes a penalty of up to 90 days in jail for its violation.

Wreck.jpgThe purpose of these Laws is relatively clear; to make sure people don't take off after an accident. Someone who's property has been damaged as the result of an accident, whether it's a car parked somewhere, or a mailbox, or whatever else, shouldn't be left "holding the bag" for those damages if the other driver was able to take off and get away undetected. In the vast majority of collisions (where a person was not driving while drunk, or high on drugs, or recklessly) the worst thing an at-fault driver faces is a Traffic Ticket for a Civil Infraction. In other words, the penalty for leaving is much worse than any possible penalty for whatever happened to cause the collision. The law applies equally to any driver involved in an accident, meaning that even a person who was clearly not at fault can't just leave the scene.

In the real world, there are 2 kinds of people facing this offense:

1. Those who had been drinking and left the scene to avoid getting arrested for a DUI, and

2. Everybody else.

A fairly typical real-life example involves someone hitting a parked car as the drive down a street. If the driver is sober, then, at worst, they might get a Traffic Ticket for their actions. If the driver has been drinking, however, they know that they're facing a DUI arrest, further complicated by the accident, if they wait around for the Police to show up. While even the most law-abiding citizen can become panic-stricken and make a poor decision and drive off, it's far more likely to happen when a person knows contact with the Police will certainly lead to a Drunk Driving arrest, for starters.

Continue reading "Michigan Traffic Offenses - Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Property Damage)" »

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January 8, 2010

Probation in Michigan - Everyone Wants Non-Reporting

No one wants to go to Jail. In my Criminal Practice, I try everything possible to make sure my Client doesn't wind up there. In the overwhelming majority of Cases I handle, my Clients avoid any incarceration. In fact, it is, fortunately, a rare occurrence when my Client doesn't walk out of Court with me.

At the beginning of any Criminal Case, the person charged generally has one concern above all others; staying out of Jail. When a Client is told that Jail can be avoided, and they will, instead, likely be placed on Probation, they are usually very pleased. Really, would you doubt me when I say that pretty much everyone charged with a Crime says they'll do anything to stay out of Jail? I'd say the same thing if the situation was reversed.

probation-officers-1-320x240.jpgSomehow, though, as both time and the Case march on, some Clients become secure in the idea that they're not going to Jail, and then their thoughts turn to the details and Conditions of Probation. What will I have to do? Will I have to report? How often? When and where? What if my boss won't let me get that much time off?

To fast-forward a bit, all this thinking usually winds up with the Client asking me if we can get "Non-Reporting Probation." And although the final decision in any case is up to the Judge, there are certain generalizations we can make about whether or not Non-Reporting Probation is likely to be ordered in any particular case.

First, when a person pleads guilty to or is otherwise convicted of a Felony, Non-Reporting Probation is highly unlikely. Even someone with no prior Criminal Record, and who works out some kind of a deal in a non-violent type of case can pretty much bank on getting Reporting Probation. It's kind of like asking "why do we shake hands with our right hands, rather than our left?" And the short answer is "because that's the way it is."

Misdemeanor cases, by contrast, run the gamut of possibilities, from "absolutely not" to "perhaps." Geography plays a role in all this, as well. Because I only handle Criminal Cases in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, my observations are limited accordingly.

Continue reading "Probation in Michigan - Everyone Wants Non-Reporting" »

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January 6, 2010

DUI 2nd Offense in Michigan - Am I Going to Jail?

This installment will return to the subject of 2nd Offense Drunk Driving, or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charges. As a DUI Lawyer, my actual Practice is limited to handling cases in the District and Circuit Courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. I point that out because what I write here is the product of my experience in these Courts. I have no idea how things are handled elsewhere, and the outcome of any case pending beyond the Tri-County area might be very different from what I describe here.

I think it's fair to say that everyone knows that there are essentially 3 kinds of DUI cases: 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Offenses. And everyone pretty much likewise knows that a 1st Offense is generally not that bad, and a 3rd Offense is a Felony, and a nightmare to boot.

jail_cell.jpgWhat about 2nd Offenses?

The first thing to say about a 2nd Offense is that (if the case is not one of those few that are "beatable"), then how bad things will turn out for the Driver depends more than anything else, on where (what City) the case is pending. Certain Courts are just plain tougher on any DUI than others. In fact, a few Courts are WAY tougher on DUI's than all the others. In the interests of good Lawyer diplomacy, I'll say no more on that subject here.

Another very important thing about 2nd Offense cases, completely independent of where they're pending, is that they represent the crossroads between having a serious alcohol problem, or not. Statistically speaking, anyone facing a 2nd Offense DUI has a much-elevated likelihood of having an alcohol-problem compared with the general population. In fact, a 2nd Offense automatically causes a person to be categorized as a "Habitual Offender" under Michigan Law. Amongst the many implications of that categorization is the Mandatory Revocation of the Driver's License for at least 1 full year.

For anyone facing a 2nd Offense, beyond the relative leniency or toughness of the particular Court where their case is pending, the issue becomes whether or not this charge is the symptom of a much deeper alcohol problem, or is rather a case of repeat poor judgment. Try to imagine the Judge's perspective: Every single 3rd Offense Felony Drunk Driver was, before that, a 2nd Offense Drunk Driver who probably said something like "it won't happen again."

Continue reading "DUI 2nd Offense in Michigan - Am I Going to Jail?" »

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January 4, 2010

Driver's License Restoration in Michigan - Must wait until Probation is over

This installment will deal with why a person cannot win back their Driver's License in Michigan if they are still on Probation or Parole. The first part of my job as a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer is to "screen" a potential client. I want to know if they're eligible to file an Appeal, but even if they are, that doesn't mean that they're anywhere near being qualified, or able to win it. And one of the big obstacles to winning an Appeal is being on Probation (or Parole) at the time it's filed.

Let's be clear about it: If your License has been Revoked for 2 DUI's within 7 years (Mandatory 1-year Revocation), or 3 or more within 10 years (Mandatory 5-year Revocation), and you are on Probation (or Parole), you cannot win Restoration of your Driver's License from the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), Period.

-09AlcoHawk_Precision_BreathalyzerEL9-detail.jpgThe is the case because the DAAD knows that whenever a person is on Probation or Parole, they are required to refrain from consuming any alcohol or controlled substances (without a prescription). Inevitably, the person is subject to either regular, or at least random testing. And if they test positive, the consequences (i.e., a Probation Violation, or a Parole Violation) can involve going to Jail, or back to Prison. This is a pretty strong deterrent to using while on Probation or Parole.

The DAAD calls this "living in a controlled environment."

Of course, for those who truly embrace recovery, their sobriety has nothing to do with being monitored and tested. In other words, people who really are clean and sober don't abstain from drinking out of a fear of getting caught; they remain sober because, as the saying goes, they "are sick and tired of being sick and tired."

The question then becomes, how can the DAAD separate those who are truly sober from those who are not drinking because they're being monitored and tested? And the unfortunate answer is that they cannot. Even those truly committed to recovery, and still on Probation or Parole, will have to admit that there is no definitive way to tell one group from the other. It goes without saying that this rather "sucks" for those who are part of the "truly recovering" group, but that's the way it is.

Once a person has been released from Probation, or Parole, and when they are no longer subject to testing, or to punishment for drinking or using, and they continue to remain clean and sober, then there is no longer any issue about them "living in a controlled environment." Their sobriety is unquestionably voluntary. At that point, once they become eligible to file a License Appeal, they have at least eliminated one insurmountable obstacle to regaining the privilege to drive in Michigan.

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