Recent changes in Michigan's DUI Laws have impacted the way the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) handles alleged violations while a person in driving on an ignition interlock. This article will skip the long, detailed explanation that is the hallmark of so many of my other articles, and get right into what you should do if you receive a notice of an interlock violation.
First, most violations now involve a person being notified that their License has been Revoked again. Once in a while, a person will receive what's called a "show cause," where they're told to come in on a certain date and attend a Hearing where they will have to show "cause," or proof, why they are not responsible for the alleged violation, and explain why their License shouldn't be taken away. The majority of people, however, open the mail to find that their License already has been pulled, and learn that the only thing they can do about it is file an Appeal. When such a letter is received, the person needs to swing into action.
The best course of action is to hire me. I know that sounds rather self-serving, but let me explain. In the spirit of being upfront, I'll get right to the cost factor: I charge $1500 to handle one of these cases. Unlike almost everything else I do, where a "consultation" can turn into a half-hour phone call, when a person calls about an interlock violation, I can't go into much detail until and unless they come in to hire me. This is because beyond my telling someone that I can help, and that I have more experience with these matters than I can count, pretty much anything else I can say amounts to "legal advice," and I am on the line (as in liable) for it.
Consider what else is on the line: Your Driver's License. At the point a person has won it back, and is under the state's supervision with an interlock, a violation is a huge deal. Here is the simple truth: The vast majority of the people I speak with have NOT really drank any alcohol (despite a "positive" test) or tampered with the ignition interlock unit. To be brutally honest, most people facing one these violations could probably go in on their own, without me, and successfully handle an Appeal of an interlock violation. But not everyone.
Violation Appeal Hearings are legal proceedings, and evidence counts. I have seen cases wherein I truly believed that the person had not consumed alcohol, or did not intentionally tamper with the device, but because they came up short on the evidence, they lost their License. These, of course, are NOT cases that I have handled. I'm sure every one of these people went in and swore up and down that they didn't drink, or screw around with the device, but cases are decided on the basis of hard evidence. A common example occurs when a person has "work" done on their vehicle, and the interlock company reports that they disconnected or tampered with the unit. In these cases, a general "we worked on Dan the Driver's car on this date" kind of letter is far from good enough.
The interlock companies don't do a very good job on their end, either. I have seen numerous cases where people have called them, in advance, to tell them they were having work done on their cars, and then had the repair facility call afterward, to confirm the work, only to later discover that some utter bonehead from the interlock company didn't follow up and turned them in for a violation. What's worse, once the violation has been submitted, it's too late. In many of these cases, the Clients tried to have the interlock company "undo" or recall the violation, only to find out that even if the company admits it screwed up, the person will still have to file an Appeal and then appear in front of the DAAD.