In part 1 of this article about a Michigan drivers license hold that prevents you from obtaining or renewing a driver's license in another state, we began our discussion by highlighting that being really and truly sober is a necessary prerequisite to winning. I pointed out that, as a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer, I provide a guarantee that if I accept your case, I'll win it. I also made clear that I require a person to be genuinely sober before I'll take his or her case, but once I do, the client will have the assurance and satisfaction of knowing that they'll only pay me once to get back on the road legally.
In this second part, we'll conclude our discussion about the empowerment real world evidentiary value that being able to tell the truth in a license appeal brings to the whole cause, and then we'll move on to examine the license appeal process, both in my office and at the state level, as well as why you'll have to come back to Michigan if you want to do this right, and how long the process takes.
Implicit in our discussion of really being sober and why being able to be honest about that is that there is a certain but very real power in being able to stand strong and know you're telling the truth. I will stand by my client with every fiber of my heart and soul when I know he or she is really sober. By contrast, there is just no way I could ever feel that person who still drinks is somehow getting "screwed" by the system, when the first thing that system requires to return a license is that he or she has truly quit drinking.
Beyond that, part of getting sober is becoming honest, first with yourself, then with those around you. Here again, if you "get it," you understand this. If you don't, then this discussion seems like a lot of hot air, anyway. Whatever else, I thrive off of that empowering feeling when a license appeal is all about a person having really made the change from drinker to non-drinker and we're going in to tell the truth. And as anyone who has made that change knows, giving up drinking really involves a whole panorama of changes, from who you hang around with, to what you do with your time, how you think, where you go, and how you relate to the world around you and the people in it. In fact, the transition to recovery is really the culmination of countless other changes in your life. You can't fake that stuff. Ironically, if you've actually gone through the process of getting sober, you fundamentally understand that, whereas if you merely think you understand the process of getting sober, you really don't.
Proving that you're sober is best done at an in-person hearing. Administrative appeals (meaning appeals by mail) are losers. About half of my out-of-state clients are people who have tried an administrative appeal before, often more than once, and lost. The numbers are frightening: 74% (about 3 out of 4) administrative appeals are denied each year by the Michigan Driver Assessment and Appeal Division. This means your chances are 1 out of 4 to get back on the road, and 3 out of 4 that you'll be unable to drive for another year if you try the appeal by mail. It may be a headache to come back to Michigan, but it beats having to arrange rides for another year, or hold off on a job where having a license is necessary.
This means that if you're really serious about winning a clearance, coming back to Michigan to get it done is important. I require it. Nearly ½ of my clients come from out of state, and each week I meet with someone who now lives elsewhere. I have refined this part of the process nearly down to a science: