In Part 1 of this series, we outlined what it takes to be eligible to file a License Appeal, and in Part 2, we examined the Substance Abuse Evaluation that must be filed as part of the documentary package that has to be submitted to the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) to begin a Michigan Driver's License Restoration or Clearance Appeal. Here, in Part 3, we'll talk about the Letters of Support that must also be filed, along with the Substance Abuse Evaluation, as part of that documentary package to begin a formal License Appeal.
The Letters of Support are really the hardest component of a License Appeal to describe, much less summarize. To simplify things, it is one of my primary responsibilities, as the Lawyer, to read, edit, revise (and perhaps even re-edit) the letters until they're perfect. This means that I take what my Client gives me, and go from there. I am far less interested in someone handing me a letter that they think is "good to go" than I am that they just hand me something I can get to work on. I spend a lot of time working on the Letters of Support, so it's just better that I begin with something, however imperfect, rather than wait for some "better effort." I tell my Clients that their job is to get me some words on a sheet of paper, and I'll take it from there.
There's a reason for that. The Letters of Support play a vital role in a Michigan Driver's License Appeal. In fact, problems with the Letters of Support are about the second most common reason a License Appeal is Denied. Frequently, someone who provides a Letter of Support lapses into writing a "good guy" letter about how good and kind the person for whom they're writing it really is. Sometimes, the writer will point out how difficult it has been for the person to get around, or go to school, or keep a job, or whatever else they do, without the ability to drive.
None of this matters at all. To be blunt about it, no description of how nice you are, or how hard it's been on you without a License matters a bit to the Secretary of State in a License Appeal case. Being a nice person, or having a tough time because you can't drive could not matter less...
The Letters of Support have a very specific purpose, and that's to provide verification of the legal requirement that the person prove, "by clear and convincing evidence," that their "alcohol problem...is under control." In other words, the Letters of Support have to help prove that a person has quit drinking. That's it. Anything more is a waste of ink, and anything less is a waste of paper.
Another mistake I see rather often comes from the "helpful" letter writer. This kind of writer thinks they're helping by describing the person as NOT having been a big drinker. Often, they deny having seen the person out of control with their drinking. Sometimes, they express surprise that the person had multiple DUI's. In their minds, they think they're creating a positive impression. In reality, they're doing just the opposite.