August 2012 Archives

August 31, 2012

Michigan License Restoration - The joy of Getting back on the road Legally

I am a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, and I love my job. I love what I do, and the end product of my work brings great joy to my Clients, and, by extension, to me, as well. Helping someone get back on the road, especially someone who has earned the right to be there, is a rewarding occupation. I get the pleasure of dealing with Clients who have, in essence, turned their lives around. But the path by which they get there can sometimes be trying.

Anyone who has had their Michigan Driver's License Revoked because of multiple DUI's knows that if they get behind the wheel and drive and get caught, the consequences are severe. As a Michigan License Restoration Lawyer, I deal with this from all angles. I am hired to represent people charged with Driving While License Suspended and Revoked (DWLS and DWLR) charges all the time. Amongst that group of Clients are people who were either eligible, or close to becoming eligible to have their Michigan License Reinstated (Restored), or to obtain a "Clearance" of the Michigan "Hold" upon their Driving Record.

Happiness jump 1.2.jpgWhether they have not driven at all, or have taken that chance and been lucky enough to not get caught, there is a palpable excitement that charges the atmosphere when I meet with someone to help them get their License back. They look forward to being able to legally get back on the road. Sometimes, when I first meet with a new Client, they are a bit nervous, wondering if the end goal of regaining the privilege to drive is just too good to be true. There are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding License Appeals, and most of them are negative.

Often, I hear someone relate that they "heard" that a person cannot win a License Restoration Appeal the first time. While the statistics are rather bleak for anyone trying it without me, as a Lawyer, my win rate hovers around 98%, and I Guarantee that I will win any License Appeal I accept the first time, or I will continue to represent my Client before the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) without further Attorney Fees until he or she does, in fact, get back on the road. The prerequisite to my accepting a License Appeal case is that a potential Client must be really and truly Sober.

If a person is Sober, and legally eligible to file a Driver's License Restoration Appeal, I can get them back on the road, legally. For a Michigan resident, this means that they MUST (as in, there is no way around it) drive on a Restricted License for at least one year, and do so with an ignition interlock device installed on whatever car they drive. If a person has relocated outside of Michigan, and lives in another state, they can seek a "Clearance," which is a complete removal of Michigan's "Hold" on their Driving Record. This will allow them to get a License (usually a "Full" License) in another state. Either way, when I win someone's License back, or get them a Clearance, it's an awesome feeling...

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August 27, 2012

Michigan 2nd Offense DUI and Driver's License Restoration

As a full time Michigan Driver's License Restoration and DUI Lawyer, I deal with the implications of a Second Offense Drunk Driving charge daily, and in different contexts, as well. As a Michigan DUI Lawyer, I am involved, nearly from the beginning of a 2nd Offense case, to guide my Client through the Court process. In that role, my job is to take a case and put it under the microscope and look for those flaws in the evidence that can be used to get the charge dismissed, or at least reduced. As a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I help explain how that 2nd DUI was often the catalyst for my Client to recognize that they had a drinking problem.

Attitude is important. A DUI Lawyer must go in to a case expecting to find some problem with the evidence, or how it was gathered, and not just wait for the obvious to jump out of the file. I often point out that DUI cases don't dismiss themselves. If you want to find a defect in the case, you have to look for it.

2nd 2.2.jpgThat said, by the time anyone is out of Jail and looking for a Lawyer, the facts of the case have been set in stone. What happened that resulted in the DUI Arrest happened; now, we're looking backwards in time to see if the legality of what happened holds up under the law.

The same thing holds true a few years later, after a person becomes eligible and ready to file a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Appeal. A person who has lost their License for multiple DUI's has, in the meantime, either gotten Sober, or not. When someone calls my Office about a License Appeal, and I ask about their Sobriety, they either have it, or they don't. These facts are also set in stone.

My differing roles as a Michigan DUI and Driver's License Restoration Lawyer requires me to have certain differences of personality, as well. As a DUI Lawyer, I am the Lawyer, first and foremost. In a certain sense, I am a hired gun. My first mission, once hired in a DUI case, is to find some way to beat the case, or at least do serous damage control. When I can exploit a flaw in the evidence, or the way it was gathered, and manage to get the case "knocked out," I do just that. I am hired, really, to make as much of a DUI go away as I can.

Yet there is a whole other side to this, and to me, as well. If a person picks up a 2nd DUI within 7 years, Michigan Law concludes that they are what's called a "habitual offender," and presumes that they have an alcohol problem. When that same person comes forward a year to two (or three of four, or even more) years later, to have their License Reinstated, the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) will require that the person prove, by "clear and convincing evidence," that their alcohol problem is "under control, and likely to remain under control." This means that I also have to work under the legal presumption that a person with a 2nd (or subsequent) DUI has an alcohol problem.

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August 24, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Appeals - Clearances, Restorations, Denials, and Appeals from Appeals

As a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I handle Michigan Driver's License Restoration Appeals. But I don't do appeals to Court. More specifically, I do Driver's License Appeals, but I don't appeal Appeals.

Confused yet? The idea for this article, clarifying what a "Michigan License Appeal" really is, and what it means to "Appeal" a loss came about earlier this week after Ann, my Senior Assistant, had a call from a lady who wanted to "appeal" a License Restoration case that someone else had handled, and, obviously, lost.

Scales 2.1.jpgAnn explained to me that it was confusing for some callers how the word "Appeal" is used all over the place in the context of a License Restoration. Once I stopped to think about it for a moment, it kind of became obvious that this confusion is rather well founded because of the imprecise use of the word "Appeal." Worse yet, a Lawyer, like me, who handles "License Appeals" is as guilty as anyone for helping to proliferate the imprecise word use that only serves to muddy the water.

This article will be my attempt to clear things up and clarify what is meant by the term "License Appeal," although I will no doubt continue use the word "Appeal" imprecisely and indiscriminately.

A Michigan Driver's License that has been Revoked because of multiple DUI's will remain Revoked until it is either "Restored" by the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), or until a person who now lives out of state obtains a "Clearance," which is for all intents and purposes the same as a Restoration, except a person gets their License in a state other than Michigan. Once in a blue moon, a person who never even held a Michigan License can have their Driving privileges Revoked here if they pick up more than 2 DUI's inside the state.

Most of the time, however, either a Michigan resident wants his or her Driving privileges Reinstated (Restored), or a former resident needs a Clearance to be able to obtain a License in another state.

Whatever the story, a person wants to clear things up. To do that, they must file for a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance. Almost everyone calls this a "License Appeal." And it is, but it's not the only kind of "Appeal" that can be filed, and that's where the confusion starts. This is a clear example of how imprecise word use confuses a situation.

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August 20, 2012

Michigan DUI - Winning in a Detroit-area Court even when the Evidence is Solid

As a Michigan DUI Lawyer, I am in Court every day, often multiple times each day, handling DUI cases. Within the more than 90 Drunk Driving articles on this blog, I examine and explain the various aspects of the Michigan DUI process, and seldom waste space trumpeting my own successes. A recent case, however, gives me an opportunity to provide a very specific example of how some of the rather specialized and unique knowledge I possess (which I believe sets me apart from the general herd of other "DUI Lawyers") was used to produce a much better, real-life result in Court than would have been the case had a Lawyer other than me been standing next to my Client. The cold, hard truth is that if you want better results, you'll have to step up and hire better, and that applies to everything from Doctors and Lawyers to Carpenters and Painters.

Here's the basic setup to this story: I study alcohol problems and alcoholism. As part of that, I have an extensive background in the methods used to diagnose an alcohol problem. The established criteria for determining if someone is either an alcohol abuser or is alcohol dependent is set forth in what is known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Most commonly referred to as the DSM, the current edition is the fourth iteration, and is usually cited as the DSM-IV. I know this stuff. I study it, and use it everyday. Beyond just being a DUI Lawyer, I am a full time Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, and in that part of my Practice, the nuances of whether a Client is diagnosed as an alcohol abuser, or as alcohol dependent, is critical to my day-to-day work.

Win 1.4.gifWhile this is certainly not typical for a Lawyer, it has proven to be immensely helpful to me, and it sure helps my Clients.

The Client in the case at hand was facing a DUI charge in a local, Detroit-area Court. Unfortunately, he came into Police contact because he had lost control of his car while driving on the freeway, and had rolled his car over. He had to be pulled out of an upside-down car while oncoming traffic was diverted. Accordingly, there wasn't much to contest about the reason for the initial Police contact, considering that the Police are rather obligated to stop and help out when a car is upside down and blocking traffic on the freeway.

Nor was there much else to fight over. My Client, while (thankfully) very cooperative, had obviously been drinking (he was double the legal limit, as it turned out) and consented to a blood test on the way to the hospital to get stitched up. With no real evidentiary issues to challenge, I worked out a deal to make sure there would be no Jail, and then prepared my Client for the all-important alcohol assessment test that is part and parcel of any DUI case that is not dismissed or "knocked out" somehow.

After we had worked out a deal, but before the Sentencing date, as the Law requires, my Client appeared at the Court's Probation Department for his Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) interview and to take the mandatory alcohol assessment test. On the day we returned to Court for Sentencing, we reviewed the Pre-Sentence Report completed by the Probation Officer and forwarded to the Judge. I should point out that each of these things, from the return date to Court for Sentencing, to the writing of a Pre-Sentence Report, to the fact that it is forwarded to the Judge, is required by Law in a DUI case, so anyone dealing with a Michigan DUI charge, no matter what Court their case is in, will go through this.

Continue reading "Michigan DUI - Winning in a Detroit-area Court even when the Evidence is Solid" »

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August 17, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Restoration and DUI cases - Knowing when Drinking has Become a Problem

Part and parcel of my Practice as Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer is helping people frame their Recovery stories, and put them into words. Anyone who hopes to win a Driver's License Restoration case in Michigan will have to show that they are Sober. Legally speaking, they'll have to show that their alcohol problem is "under control, and likely to remain under control." And they can't just waltz in and say so; the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) requires that a person prove these things by "clear and convincing evidence." This means a person must essentially present an airtight case.

If I accept a Michigan License Appeal or Clearance case, I Guarantee that I will win it. A first and necessary requirement for me to accept anyone's case is that the Client be genuinely Sober. In this article, I am going to explore what it means to bring an alcohol problem under control, and how that same thought process paves the way for a person to keep their alcohol problem under control. Much of this also applies to anyone who facing a DUI, particularly a 2nd, 3rd, or even subsequent Drunk Driving charge.

Lightbulb 1.2.jpgI should point out just over half of the people for whom I win License Appeals are not active in AA, while the rest (probably about 40%) attend regularly, or least somewhat regularly. AA is not necessary to win a Michigan License Restoration or Clearance, but it certainly is helpful. Even if a person has never been to an AA meeting in their life, if they are Sober, they can probably thank AA for blazing the trail from which the concepts of Recovery and Sobriety came.

One of the many cliché's that is part of the AA legacy goes like this: "I didn't get in trouble every time I drank, but every time I got in trouble, I had been drinking." I think that this is one of the best ways to summarize what goes through a person's head when they experience that "a-ha" moment and first acknowledge that their drinking has become a problem.

Much of the time, this "light bulb" moment occurs when a person gets their last DUI. Yet in any number of cases, a person will continue to drink after their final DUI, and will get their wake-up call another way. How or whenever it occurs, most people will agree that, prior to finally "seeing the light," they had a pretty good idea that something was wrong, or that at least something had to change about their drinking. In fact, most people try to deal with this by controlling or limiting or managing their drinking in some way, only to discover that, in the long run, such plans don't work out. AA people point to this as the very definition of insanity, describing it as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

From my perspective, whether it's a last DUI, a fight with a spouse or significant other, or some other negative event, the moment that precedes a person fully accepting that their drinking is a problem is what I call a "final humiliation." It is never part of anything good, even though I've had plenty of Clients who, after a time of abstinence, broke down for something as small as a toast, and, after just a sip, felt an overwhelming sense of regret. The realization that alcohol still held such power over them, or their thoughts, forced that final instance of humiliation, and led them to think "enough is enough." People in the Recovery world call this "hitting bottom."

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration and DUI cases - Knowing when Drinking has Become a Problem" »

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August 13, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Revocations and Holds and Clearances - You Should Come back if you Really Want to win

A person who has a Michigan "Hold" on their Driving Record because of multiple DUI convictions is not legally required to come back to Michigan to obtain a Clearance that will allow them to get a License in another state. In my role as Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, however, I would NEVER accept a case unless my Client is willing to come back. This is not about money, or convenience, or anything less than winning. I take these cases to win them. I Guarantee that I will win any case I accept. Consequently, I will not take a case that I'm not sure I can win.

It seems that not a week goes by without someone contacting my Office from out of state, asking if I can or will take their case and handle it administratively. While a Michigan resident must appear for a License Appeal Hearing, a non-resident may seek a Clearance of the Michigan Hold upon their Driving Record by filing what is called and "Administrative Review," which is essentially a Driver's License Restoration Appeal without the Hearing.

michigan greenie 1.2.pngThese people want hire me for my expertise, and have me manage their "Appeal by mail" so that they don't have to come back to Michigan. This can, at times, get frustrating, because with more than 140 Driver's License Restoration articles on my Blog, and a rather comprehensive website, you almost have to be blind to miss how many times I point out that I only accept Michigan Revoked License cases where a person will return to the state, first to meet with me and have their Substance Abuse Evaluation completed, followed by a second trip back for their actual License Appeal Hearing.

The good news for anyone trying an Administrative Review is that the only "travel" expense is postage.

The bad news is that 3 out of 4 Administrative Reviews lose.

In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division received 875 Administrative Review Appeals. It DENIED 650, or 75% of them. That means only 1 out of 4 "mail-in Appeals" were successful. There's really nothing more to say on that point.

By contrast, I Guarantee that I will win any case I accept. I have kept a win rate of near 98% for as long as I can recall. I can do this because I only take cases for people who are genuinely Sober. If you're still drinking, I cannot help you, and I won't touch your case. If, however, you've put drinking behind you, and plan on remaining alcohol-free, then we should talk.

I think that it is important that any reader stop for a moment and think about my method, because, in reality, it only costs me money. I am completely serious when I say that I receive weekly inquiries about doing someone's Administrative Appeal. The reader may not believe how many contacts I receive from people willing to give me their credit card information right then and there, but who do not want to return to Michigan. No matter what, I'm in business to make money, and turning away good money is not part of anyone's business plan, but I also have a higher standard than just the almighty dollar. My integrity is not for sale, nor is my reputation.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Revocations and Holds and Clearances - You Should Come back if you Really Want to win" »

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August 10, 2012

Michigan DUI Cases - BIg Money for Everyone

In my role as a Detroit-area DUI Lawyer, I meet with someone facing a DUI charge almost every day. What leads to a person getting charged with a DUI is something I have examined rather closely within the Drunk Driving section of my website and within the numerous Drunk Driving articles on this blog. Why so many people find themselves facing a DUI charge is something a bit different. In this article, we are going to take a look at how DUI means BIG MONEY for the cities and townships where they occur.

In this article, I am going to be rather candid. I'll begin by pointing out that I'm far from a cut-rate DUI Lawyer. My Fee in a 1st Offense DUI, for example, is $2800. At this price point, a person can expect to receive the benefit of a much higher level of service that takes into account not only their Legal needs, but their personal and emotional needs, as well. Because I'm not looking for Clients on a "low bidder" basis, I'm not pressured to move cases through quickly (higher volume/lower cost), and instead can take the time to carefully and properly handle a DUI charge and address each Client's unique concerns. Typically, my Clients that are rather well mannered, to the point, sometimes, of perhaps being a bit too polite to ask some direct, tough questions about the big picture in DUI cases. Yet I think these questions need to be asked...

Bag-of-money1.2.jpgOne of those questions they sometimes hint at (but may be too afraid to outright ask) is whether or not the Police could find better things to do than patrol for Drunk Drivers. Sure, the idea of keeping the roads safe sounds great, in principal, but keeping crooks from robbing people and breaking into cars and houses and garages is important, as well.

To fully answer that question, you need to understand that a person caught driving over the limit almost always represents a financial profit to the city or township where the Arrest took place. Let's put this in perspective...

Imagine you were out chatting with a neighbor, and that person told you that another neighbor, a few doors down, had his garage broken into and some of his belongings stolen. Wouldn't you almost feel a sense of violation and even vulnerability about your neighborhood? If he said that the bad guys broke in around midnight, and if, one night, a few days later, you were up around that time, and thought you heard a noise in the backyard, wouldn't you run to the back door and turn the light on, wondering if your garage was being burglarized?

It's this kind of crime that really scares people. No one wants to become a victim. Everyone feels better when they see the Police driving down their block. Yet it seems like the Police are out looking for Drunk Drivers a lot more than they're patrolling the neighborhoods and dark places, where a lot of crimes take place.

According to a recent Michigan State Police report, there were 283 alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2010. In that same year, the city of Detroit had 307 murders, its lowest number in over 40 years. Still, more people were murdered in the city of Detroit than died in all of the alcohol-related traffic accidents in the entire state of Michigan in 2010. Those 283 deaths are certainly 283 too many, but they come as part of over 41, 800 DUI convictions in that same year. That figures out to .675%, meaning that less than 1% of all DUI convictions involve a fatal accident. In fact, it's about two-thirds of one percent. And that's not the half of it...

Continue reading "Michigan DUI Cases - BIg Money for Everyone" »

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August 6, 2012

The Bottom Line in a Michigan DUI Case - Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

In this article, I'm going to follow suit from the last installment on this blog about the bottom line in a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Appeal, and take a step back in order to answer the question "what is the bottom line in a Michigan DUI case?" Having authored over 90 rather detailed articles about every step in a Drunk Driving case, and giving the subject an unusually honest and in-depth treatment on my website, it occurred to me that sometimes, as I noted in the previous article about Driver's License Restorations, we can get so caught up in all the rules and technicalities that we lose sight of the big picture, and, as the saying goes, "can't see the forest through the trees."

Here, we'll set out to uncover and really highlight what, after everything is said and done, a DUI case is really all about.

NightCop 1.2.jpgAs we approach this topic, we begin to see the problem with imposing a simple question upon such a complex topic. Legal definitions cannot be escaped. In the real world, "driving" a car, or "operating a motor vehicle" means, well, driving it.

Not so in the world of DUI, where the Courts continually refine and redefine things in what almost always seems like the wrong direction. According to Michigan Law, as made clear by our Courts, "operating" a motor vehicle extends to merely sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition, even if the car is not running. While I generally avoid interjecting anything remotely like political opinion into my blog articles, this is an example of how far afield the whole judicial system has gone. This is but one of many examples, just within the DUI field, where logic has been twisted and bent beyond common sense.

Hardly anyone, if they trusted their 10 year old child enough (as many parents would) to run out to the car while it's in the driveway, and put the keys in it and sit for a minute behind the wheel while mom or dad comes out, would answer, if asked "where's little Timmy" by saying, "oh, he's out driving the car."

Thus, as I try pull out a "bottom line" to DUI cases, I cannot completely ignore, precisely because I'm a DUI Lawyer, things that a regular person would take for granted, like what it means to be "driving" a car.

The same thing goes for a person's BAC, or Bodily Alcohol Content, as measured by a breath or blood test. There seem to be a million little rules and issues involved in determining what that number really is, and what it really means. In a sense, there is no clear agreement on what an accurate BAC score really is, or how it's obtained, or what it means. Consider an example (this is also an example of how DUI Lawyers challenge breath or blood evidence):

Continue reading "The Bottom Line in a Michigan DUI Case - Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)" »

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August 3, 2012

The Bottom Line in a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance Appeal

In my role as Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I regularly publish articles on this blog examining every aspect of the License Appeal and Clearance process. I have published more informative, useful information about Michigan License Restorations than anyone. In the last few years alone, I've won well over 200 License Restoration cases precisely because I am honest, play by the rules, and require a person to really be Sober before I will take their case.

As a result, I Guarantee that if I do accept a License Appeal case, I will win it.

Stang 1.2.jpgYet within that body of over 140 Michigan Driver's License Restoration articles, many, if not most, are extremely detailed. This article will be different; instead of looking at the legal issues or procedures involved in a License Appeal case, I am going to try and shift the focus to the most basic, practical requirement to win a License Restoration.

Here, we'll ask, "what is Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance case really all about?" What is the "bottom line?" Rather than explore the nuances about how a certain issue is addressed, or proven, we're going to try to uncover what the central, real concern is in a License Appeal case, and we're going to put it in terms that people mean when they say things like, "at the end of the day," or "the bottom line is," or, "here's the thing."

So what is the bottom line in a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance case? What does need to be proven, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, in order to win a License Restoration Appeal?

To really focus on the "bottom line" answer to this question, we have to consciously try to steer away from a discussion of the finer points of the issues and rules governing a License Appeal. This is difficult, because License Appeal cases involve what seems like a million little rules. If there ever was an example of the saying "you can't see the forest through the trees," this is it.

Accordingly, we cannot completely avoid this inquiry. We at least to need to back up a bit, and look at why a person's Driver's License has been Revoked in the first place, and how these cases are decided. Remember we're talking about License Appeals for Revocations that are the result of multiple DUI convictions.

Continue reading "The Bottom Line in a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance Appeal" »

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