In my Michigan driver's license restoration practice, I handle a lot of out-of-state clearance cases. In fact, so many of my clients come from outside of Michigan that I'd like to identify myself as a Michigan clearance and driver's license restoration lawyer, but that sounds so cumbersome, and, with a little digging, most people learn that "driver's license restoration" encompasses clearances anyway, that I just take the opportunity here and there to mention clearances as an integral part of what I do. In this article, we are going to focus on clearances for those who no longer (or never did) live in Michigan. In particular, I want to address those folks who previously tried and lost a "do it yourself" appeal by mail, known as an administrative review. Given that 3 out of 4 administrative review appeals are denied, it's no wonder that so many of my out of state clients have tried this route, at least once, before hiring me. Because my services come with a guarantee, anyone hiring me can take comfort in knowing that he or she will only pay me once to finally get that long-awaited clearance. And to be blunt about it, I make my money winning these cases the first time, so I am every bit as invested as my client in a prompt and successful outcome.
First, in terms of the evidence that is submitted, there is absolutely no difference between a driver's license restoration appeal for someone who lives in Michigan and an out of state administrative review. Second, license appeals are simply hard. They are designed to be hard because, as far as the numbers go, only a minority of people who try to win their license back will actually remain sober for good. The point of the law is to keep everyone off the road who presents as a risk to ever drink again, so that means only a select few will ever prove a low enough risk to put back behind the wheel. Think about that; how many people do you think are going to present sufficient evidence to the Michigan Secretary of State's Administrative Hearing Section (AHS, and not that long ago known as the "DAAD") that shows, by "clear and convincing evidence," that they are a safe bet to remain alcohol-free for life? Skipping over all the relevant science for a moment, it's actually incredible that only 3 out of 4 administrative appeals lose. And for your part, how anxious are you to place a bet that gives you a 75% chance of losing?
The big problem here is that if you lose your administrative review with the Secretary of State, you can't file a new one for at least another year, and even then, you're stuck having to fix, if possible, whatever you screwed up the first time. Like all good things, winning a clearance doesn't come easy. My clients have to come back to Michigan twice; the first time to meet with me for about 3 hours and then go a few blocks from my office to the clinic I use to have their substance abuse evaluation completed. The next (and last) required trip back is for the actual license appeal hearing, and that's usually months later (it takes about 12 weeks from the time a hearing is requested until you even get notice of it). In the meantime, I'll be at work on the letters of support and the rest of the case. Sure, in an appeal by mail you can skip having to come back for the hearing, but as the numbers show, you pretty much skip any chance of winning your clearance, as well. I have this process down to a science, but there are 2 things that are absolutes in my practice: First, you must be genuinely sober to win your license back (I won't take a case for anyone who has not truly quit drinking), and second, you have to come back to Michigan to do this. With those 2 things in hand, I will win your license back, guaranteed.