In part 1 of this article, we started looking at what happens in a Michigan driver's license restoration case when someone has lost a prior appeal and provided a date he or she last used alcohol that was untrue. This usually comes to light when the person gives a different last use of alcohol date in a new Michigan license restoration appeal that proves the date given in the first appeal to have been untrue. As a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer, I have had to deal with this situation before. Unfortunately, it is not as rare as one might hope. To some, it can seem that the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, or DAAD, isn't punishing him or her, because telling the truth in the new case means a person was not truthful in the prior case, and that almost certainly assures a denial in the new case, as well.
We left off in part 1 at the point where a person will have given an untrue date in his or her prior, and obviously unsuccessful attempt to win a license appeal. Thereafter, of course, the person will have actually and really quit drinking, and as part of getting sober, decide to file another license appeal. Of course, now that he or she is sober, the person wants to be truthful about everything.
Getting sober is often described in terms of getting clean, and part of that getting clean is coming clean. It is rather inconsistent with getting sober to misrepresent when and how it happened. Many sober people will recall having lied about their drinking so often that it was done without thought. And to the people supporting the recovery of a family member or friend, it's not the past that matters; like the person in recovery, their focus is on the future. Forgiveness is forward-looking.
Some of these family members and friends, if they remember, or are otherwise reminded, will have to forgive that the now-sober person had them write a letter to the DAAD in the prior license appeal vouching for their sobriety that turns out not to have really been sobriety at all. Of course, happy and convinced that the loved one is really doing it this time, there will be no grudges or hard feelings. In fact, many of these supporters would be happy to write a letter again if that would help.
It won't. In fact, it would hurt.
In all fairness to the DAAD, you can imagine how that looks. Even if you give the letter writer every benefit of the doubt, he or she still turns out to be a person who vouched for something that was completely untrue. At a minimum, that person is unreliable as any kind of witness. It's best to forget about ever using him or her again to write a letter of support. For some people, this can present a real conundrum because if they had previously submitted support letters from a spouse or partner, parent or parents, and a best friend, all those close witnesses are now burned, and useless. Now, a person will have to reach beyond his or her "inner circle" for support letters in the next appeal.
Still, at some point, a sober person has to have completed the act of quitting drinking and beginning the recovery process. Part of that process involves taking an account of the damage done while drinking. Things like DUI arrests or divorces or job losses are obvious, and unforgettable. Other things are just lost in the mix. When someone loses a license appeal, there will be a record. In the best case, the person will have hung on to his or her old substance abuse evaluation, letters of support and the DAAD's order denying the appeal. In any case, if that information isn't available, it should be ordered from the state. I do this when a client with a prior loss comes to hire me for a new appeal.