Winning your Michigan driver's license back after 2 or more DUI convictions requires that you file the proper documents and presenting evidence to the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division. To succeed in a driver's license restoration hearing, you must show, by what is called "clear and convincing evidence," that your alcohol problem is under control, and, even more important, that it is likely to remain under control. As a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer, my file cabinets are full of cases for people that have hired me after having tried to do this before, without my help, and then lost. Whatever the reason or reasons given for those denials, in each and every case it amounts to having failed to prove one or more of them by clear and convincing evidence.
This article will be about "clear and convincing evidence." If you've tried a license appeal before and lost, this will help you understand why. If you haven't tried yet, then this will enable you to really size up the level of proof it takes to win. To be precise, "clear and convincing" means the standard of proof that your evidence has to reach in order for you to prevail. A standard of proof is, to a large extent, an arbitrary thing. The hearing officer will judge whether or not your evidence is "clear and convincing." In a perfect world, this would be a consistent and measurable standard, like 12 inches, or 16 ounces, but "clear and convincing" is, to a certain degree, inherently subjective, like "beautiful" or "delicious."
Thus, as we try and explain a concept that eludes a precise definition, we should first clarify its application. In other words, if we ditch the overly academic and legal baloney for a minute, we can cut to the heart of the matter and talk about how things work in the real world. There are really two things you have to prove in a license appeal: First, that your alcohol problem is under control, and second (and really more important), that your alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.
I could write a whole book about proving that your alcohol problem is under control, but the bottom line here is if you lost an appeal because you failed on this point, you should blame your lawyer. If you didn't have a lawyer, then you should blame yourself for that poor choice, and think about it every time you have to bum a ride. This is basic, foundational stuff for a license restoration lawyer, and, at least in my office, something that is my responsibility to get right, and then double check before a case is ever filed. Failing to prove that your alcohol problem "is under control" really means that a critical error was made in the preparation of your case, and the same error was made all over again in not catching it before it was filed. As mistakes go, this is equivalent to a surgeon amputating the wrong leg on a patient, and then shrugging before he lops off the other.
The main task in a Michigan driver's license restoration case is to prove that your alcohol problem is likely to remain under control. Here too, we could spend eternity analyzing and explaining things, but for purposes of this article, we can just say that you to prove that you're a safe bet to never drink again. That simple definition, however, belies the complexity of having to convince a hearing officer that you yourself truly believe you can never again consume alcohol, and that you have the commitment and tools to follow through with that. Let's talk about how that's done...