Losing a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Appeal Because of a "Questionable/Insufficient" Substance Abuse Evaluation - Part 2
In Part 1 of this article, we began examining the role of the Substance Abuse Evaluation in a License Appeal. I defined that role as "foundational." From there, we examined why so many Evaluators feel qualified to "do" a Driver's License Appeal Substance Abuse Evaluation, and what it means for the final product to be a disappointment and waste of money if the State declares to be "questionable/insufficient."
In this 2nd Part, we will continue by examining how the very term "Substance Abuse Evaluation" can be part of the problem in finding an Evaluator who knows what the Secretary of State is looking for within that form, and then we will begin doing a section-by-section analysis of the form itself.
Part of my success in License Appeals is no doubt due the fact that once I found a Clinic that did a consistently good job completing Substance Abuse Evaluations, I began communicating with them. I have actually gone in and met with their Counselors and explained what the State is looking for, and answered their questions about doing a proper job on the Substance Abuse Evaluation form. As a result, they have a detailed knowledge of what is important to the DAAD, as well as what is not. Ironically, this Clinic charges less ($199) than almost any other Clinic I have heard about, while managing to do a better job.
We can take from this that the term "Substance Abuse Evaluation" within the context of a License Appeal has a very specific, and different meaning than it does in other contexts.
Recently, I met a Client who has been seeing a Substance Abuse Counselor for a number of years. This Client expressed a preference to have the Evaluation completed by that Counselor, despite my stated reservations, based upon my experience with so many individuals who assure their Clients/Patients that "I can do that." The Evaluation came back last week, and it needs to be fixed. While not an outright disaster, it is clear to me that whoever did it does not have a clear picture of what the DAAD is looking for. As it stands, it is not good enough.
One of the requirements, clearly stated (although in very small print) on the Evaluation itself is that the actual Substance Abuse diagnostic test, along with the actual answer sheet the Client filled out be attached. In the case I just mentioned, it wasn't. This is a common, but potentially fatal error. On top of that, the State form has various "dialogue boxes" where the Evaluator's reasoning must be stated for reaching any particular conclusion, be it a Diagnosis or a Prognosis, or whatever else is being asked. This Evaluation came with an attachment sheet containing further explanations in a number of those areas. While that may, at first, appear helpful, in reality, it is not. Instead, it means the person doing the Evaluation does not quite understand exactly what is being asked, and cannot confine their responses to the space provided. There is simply no need, in ANY case, to "go outside the lines" of the State's form.