Recently in Driver's License Restoration - Out of State Issues Category

May 2, 2014

Come back to win Clearance of a Michigan hold on your Driving Record - Part 2

In part 1 of this article, we began our discussion of why you should come back to Michigan if you want to clear a Michigan Secretary of State hold on your driving record. The process that will enable you to obtain, or, in some cases, renew a license in another state is called a clearance. The Michigan Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, or DAAD, will accept an appeal by mail that does not require a person to come back for a hearing, but only 1 out of 4 of those appeals ever wins. That's a 75% chance of losing, and being stuck without a license for another year. By contrast, if you're really sober, and have honestly quit drinking, I guarantee that I will win a clearance for you.

In this second installment, we'll pick up with our inquiry by looking at the letters of support that must be filed as part of the initial paperwork in order to begin a formal license appeal. This applies equally in cases of out-of-state, administrative appeals, or in-state, in-person appeals. The Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, or DAAD, requires that a minimum of at least 3 support letters accompany the substance abuse evaluation. Based upon my experience, I generally require at least 4 letters of support.

Try it Again Sam 2.1.jpgFor all of the information I provide on my website, and in the Driver's License Restoration section of this blog, I have to be careful about giving away too much here. I have to guard exactly how I edit the letters of support, and what I do in the editing and revising process as something of a proprietary secret. Almost as confirmation of this, and in a surprising way that felt like both a compliment and an a bit of a warning, within the several weeks before writing this article, I have spoken with at least 3 lawyers who have thanked me for the help they get from this blog in doing research about how to handle certain cases. I'm glad to help, to a point. One must never lose sight of the axiom that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." A thorough understanding of the context of proper letter editing can be more important than the words themselves.

Typically, letters of support come up short because the writer does something like trying to explain to the state how much a person needs a license. Rest assured, the DAAD already knows that everybody needs a license. To win a license appeal, you must prove by clear and convincing evidence that your alcohol problem is under control, and likely to remain under control; needing a license has nothing to do with it. The state does not care how hard it has been without a license, nor does it care what opportunities await if you win it back. It may sound cold, but the reality, from the DAAD's perspective, is that you should have thought about that before a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) DUI.

Another faux pas of many letters is trying to convince the DAAD that the person "deserves" a license. While the underlying sentiment there is understandable, that determination is exclusively for the hearing officer to make, and like anyone else with a job, they aren't especially anxious to have someone tell them how to do it. The only things that matter, in the determination that you "deserve" restoration of your license (or the issuance of a clearance), is that your alcohol problem is under control, and likely to remain under control. Accordingly, I often have to redirect the focus of support letters to that subject.

Letters written by friends who were part of the subject's drinking days don't fare particularly well, either. This might take a few seconds to "get," but when someone talks about having hung out with the person filing the license appeal back when his or her drinking was a problem, and then points out how he or she has changed, the person writing the letter can be perceived by the DAAD as part of that old, "bad" lifestyle, and certainly part of something that should be left in the past. Does that mean that we can't use a letter from such a person? Of course not, but it does mean that we really have to shift the letter writer's perspective quite a bit. For me, it means a pretty big editing job.

The truth is that I have to perform substantial editing on more 90% of the letters that cross my desk. When I meet with a client who has tried a "do-it-yourself" administrative appeal before (and obviously lost), and review the documents filed in that previous case, I always find the letters to be anywhere from inadequate to outright harmful. To be clear, this is not a clinic in letter writing or proper grammar, but rather about what the letters need to say, and what they shouldn't get into. I'd love to make it out like I'm just incredibly gifted and supremely intelligent, but the truth is that I've learned most of what I know the hard way. With more than 2 decades of experience dealing with both what does and does not work in the letters of support, my clients are paying for experience and skill honed by more than 23 years of hard-earned lessons.

Continue reading "Come back to win Clearance of a Michigan hold on your Driving Record - Part 2" »

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April 28, 2014

Come back to win Clearance of a Michigan hold on your Driving Record - Part 1

For anyone who now lives outside of the state with a Michigan hold for multiple DUI's on his or her driving record, it quickly becomes clear that your new DMV will not issue (or, in some cases, renew) a driver's license until the Michigan Secretary of State clears it. Almost without fail, the next thing a person does is to find out what it takes the clear that hold. As anyone reading this has probably already learned, a Michigan hold for multiple DUI's can only be cleared (thus, we use the term "clearance" when describing this kind of relief) after a formal driver's license restoration/clearance appeal has been filed with and decided by the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, or DAAD.

There are only 2 ways to do this: A person can file what's called an "administrative appeal," which is essentially an appeal by mail, or, he or she can come back to Michigan and do a formal, in-person appeal. There really isn't much of a choice, given that the 3 out of 4 administrative appeals are denied every year. If you really want to win a clearance, then you have to come back to Michigan. If you are really and truly sober, I will not only win your case, but will guarantee it. The question then becomes how serious you are about getting back on the road. This 2-part article will examine the reasons why you have to come back if you really want to win a clearance of the Michigan hold on your license.

Gator driver 1.2.pngBeyond the dire statistics, the reality of winning a clearance is that, as with just about everything, the cheap and easy way doesn't work very well. In writing this, I'm reminded of the contraption advertised on TV that is a little wheel with handles, designed to give a person great abs. The ad is filled with fit and trim models showing off their well-defined "six packs" using the roller. "Just 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week," promises the announcer, and you can look like this. Obviously, enough people fall for this to keep the ad running...

The fact, however, is that the first rule of abs is that you must lose the bodyfat covering them up. You can roll on that wheel for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and if you don't start dropping pounds, the only six pack you'll be seeing is in the soda isle. As an aside, anyone who belongs to a gym will note that you absolutely never see on of these contraptions there. Beyond being a waste of time, the 10 or 20 bucks you spend doesn't buy you a marvel of German engineering; it gets you another cheap, disposable piece of Chinese plastic junk, instead. The simple truth is that there just are no shortcuts to doing things properly. As the old saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing right.

A few years ago, I tried to find a way to incorporate administrative appeals into my Michigan driver's license restoration practice. It just didn't work. I wound up filing one case, and I won it, but as I had suspected, every step of the way was difficult, and, more importantly, not entirely within my control. That's a huge component of my license restoration practice - my ability to control every facet of the process. That element of control is an important part of how I win all my cases, and why I provide a guarantee in the first place.

In order to begin a Michigan license reinstatement or clearance appeal, a person must file, amongst other things, a substance abuse evaluation and at least 3 letters of support (n my office, I require at least 4). These documents are reviewed by a DAAD (sometimes mistakenly referred to by the former title of "DLAD") hearing officer, who must be satisfied that the person filing the appeal has proven, by "clear and convincing evidence," that his or her alcohol problem is "under control," and "likely to remain under control."

Right off the top, there are 3 variables here: The substance abuse evaluation, the letters of support, and the hearing officer. And that's not even scratching the surface. What this means, however, is that a person winging this on his or her own has essentially no clue about the relative quality of the evaluation, beyond having it completed, is left to his or her own devices for editing and revising the letters of support, and then sends this "pot-o-luck" package to some unknown hearing officer, essentially hoping for a win. No wonder that 74% of all administrative appeals lose. And of those that win, we can only wonder how many are third or even fourth tries...

Continue reading "Come back to win Clearance of a Michigan hold on your Driving Record - Part 1" »

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December 20, 2013

Michigan Hold on Your Driving Record - Out of State License Problems - Part 2

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.

Mich Space pic 1.3.jpgImplicit 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:

Continue reading "Michigan Hold on Your Driving Record - Out of State License Problems - Part 2" »

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December 16, 2013

Michigan Hold on Your Driving Record - Out of State License Problems - Part 1

The State of Michigan has put a hold on your driving record, and now you cannot obtain or renew a driver's license in another state. At first, you wonder if there is some administrative mistake, or if there is some number you can call, or fee you can pay to get it "taken care of," because you think that Michigan Secretary of State doesn't understand that you've moved away and don't want to come back. You do your research, and you come to learn that because you had 2 or more DUI convictions when you held a Michigan license, or, because your 2nd or subsequent DUI conviction occurred in Michigan (and even if you never held a Michigan license), the hold on your license cannot go away until you obtain what's called a "clearance."

By the time you get to my website, or this blog, you have most likely already discovered that removing the hold requires filing a formal appeal with the Michigan DAAD, or Driver Assessment and Appeal Division. You may have already tried (unsuccessfully), perhaps even more than once, and have finally accepted that you're going to need a driver's license restoration lawyer to get a driver's license. Now, your questions focus on how quickly this can be done, and how much it will cost. This article will answer those questions. Before we get to them, however, there are a few other inquiries we need to make and issues to clarify.

MichiganSpace 1.2.jpgThe first thing to clarify is that no matter how badly you need a license, or how much you want it, you have to be able to prove to the Michigan DAAD that you're sober. In order to prove you're sober, you really need to be sober. This is not a point upon which a person can "scam" or skimp. The crux of a DAAD license restoration or clearance appeal is that you have really quit drinking. And "quit" means truly have quit, as in for good, and forever.

This is a huge point. Almost every day, my office receives a call from someone who wants to redefine the meaning of "sober" to fit his or her life circumstances. Thus, when Ann, my senior assistant, asks if a person is "sober," she'll often get an answer like, "Oh yeah. I don't go the bars anymore; I'll only have a beer once in a while if I'm watching a football game with my friends." I can reel off examples like this all day long: "I've been sober for almost 4 years, and the only thing I had was a champagne toast at a wedding," or "I don't hardly drink at all except maybe a glass of wine with dinner here and there." That's not "sober," as far as the Secretary of State (and just about every clinician in the world) is concerned.

Sober, in the context of winning a Michigan license appeal, means alcohol-free, and committed to reaming that way.

There's an old saying that you sometimes can't see the forest through the trees. This issue about sobriety is critically important to the state, and is even more important to me because I provide a guarantee that if I take your license appeal, I'll win it. I charge $3000 (payable in 3 installments of $1000) to get your license back or obtain a clearance. You will only pay me one time to get your clearance. My guarantee, however, requires honest-to-goodness sobriety. Once I join forces with a client, I'm in it for the long haul. And while I am in business to make money, I make that money winning all my cases the first time, and not having to come back a second time to do "warranty work."

Continue reading "Michigan Hold on Your Driving Record - Out of State License Problems - Part 1" »

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November 22, 2013

Losing a Michigan Driver's License Restoration case for Being too Honest - Part 2

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.

Thumbnail image for Pinnochio 2.2.jpgGetting 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.

Continue reading "Losing a Michigan Driver's License Restoration case for Being too Honest - Part 2" »

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November 18, 2013

Losing a Michigan Driver's License Restoration case for Being too Honest - Part 1

Part of my passion for being a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer is that these cases are won by telling the truth. Even so, there are occasions in the context of a Michigan driver's license restoration appeal where just being honest will result in an almost automatic loss. This article, divided into 2 installments, will examine that situation where being honest will prevent you from getting back on the road, at least for a year.

For my part, I absolutely and steadfastly require that a person have quit drinking before I will take his or her case. In exchange for that, however, I do guarantee that I will win any license case I file. Apparently, I am rather unique amongst lawyers for my unwavering insistence upon sobriety, but that also explains why I am unique in guaranteeing I'll win. Whatever else, I want no part of "pretending" anything. I don't have any "secret" side, nor can anyone "buddy up" to me and confide that he or she is still drinking, or even thinks he or she can still drink. I win my cases fair and square, by telling the truth and playing by the rules.

Pinnochio 1.2.jpgThe license restoration process in Michigan is all about being sober. Unfortunately, in certain license appeal situations where a person has filed a previous appeal, there can sometimes be a price exacted for being too honest, and I call this the "truth tax." This article will examine the situation where a person has filed (and lost) a prior appeal with the Michigan Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) and in that prior appeal provided a date or gave testimony about the last time he or she used alcohol that wasn't true. In other words, we'll be looking at those circumstances where the date given for a persons last drink in a new license appeal means the date given in a prior appeal must have been untrue.

I firmly believe that when someone has rebuilt his or her life and made the extraordinary change from drinker to non-drinker, and ditched the drinking friends, and done all the other things that make the sober lifestyle so much different than the old, drinking lifestyle, there is an essence, or quality to their story that you can almost feel. In a very real way, when someone has gotten sober and begins to tell his or her story, they practically radiate truthfulness. There are certain experiences a person undergoes as he or she makes, and then sticks with the decision to change, that cannot be faked. Very often, these aren't intellectual things, but rather visceral experiences that are experienced every bit as much, if not more in the "gut" rather than the mind.

This isn't really unusual, because a necessary prerequisite to getting sober involves finally getting honest with one's self, and that can be a emotionally difficult process. It is conventional recovery wisdom that a person cannot be honest with anyone else until he first becomes honest with himself. Typically, once a person finally admits that his or her drinking is a problem, and finally decides to do something about it, there is a feeling like the floodgates have opened. Very often, in the recovery process, things are admitted, amends are made (sound familiar?) and the truly important relationships with family and real friends are patched up and strengthened. Part of getting better is starting with a clean slate, and there is a rather cathartic feeling that goes with "getting it all out."

Part of staying clean is not getting caught up in denial and lies. When a person moves past drinking, he or she learns to deal with life on life's terms. This means stepping up and taking care of business. It means no more BS'ing about everything. And when a person who is really in recovery is asked about his or her sobriety, he or she will almost always tell the unvarnished truth about it. That can be an obstacle to winning a Michigan License reinstatement in the situation we're discussing...

Continue reading "Losing a Michigan Driver's License Restoration case for Being too Honest - Part 1" »

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August 30, 2013

Michigan Driver's License Revocation hold - Getting a Clearance to Obtain or Renew a License in Another State

If you used to live in Michigan and left the state with a revoked license because of 2 or more DUI convictions, you have probably learned that in your new state (and in most states), you cannot get a new license until you clear up Michigan's hold on your driving record. Even in those few states that did, in the past, allow you to get a license despite a Michigan revocation (seen everywhere else as a "hold") on your record, it is now impossible to renew that license because of the Michigan hold. This means that cannot legally drive until you formally obtain what's called a "clearance."

Getting a "clearance" is exactly the same as having your Michigan driver's license restored, except that instead of giving you a license back, the Michigan Secretary of State will remove its hold on your driving record, thereby allowing you to obtain (or, in certain cases, renew) an out-of-state license. As a Michigan driver's license restoration attorney, I have to explain that winning a Michigan driver's license restoration case, at it's most basic, requires proving that you are sober. This means that even if you've moved out of Michigan, you'll have to prove to the Secretary of State that you've done a lot more than just change your address - you'll have to prove that you've changed your life, and that alcohol is no longer any part of it. There is no consideration or exception made just because you've left the state.

michigan-state 1.2.gifIt is at this point that you must honestly place yourself into one of two categories: Either you have really, truly quit drinking, or you have not. If you have quit, then exploring a clearance is a worthwhile investment of your time and money. If you haven't completely eliminated alcohol from your life, then you're not ready to move forward with the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, known as the DAAD. In a license restoration or clearance case, the whole focus of the DAAD is making sure that only those people who have given up alcohol and have the tools and commitment to remain alcohol free (forever, and not just for the next year or two) win their appeals. If you've previously tried your own "administrative review" and lost, particularly if you really have quit drinking, then you know the bar is set rather high to prove this.

I like to summarize the complexity of license appeal cases by simply observing that they are governed by a million little rules. Yet amidst all the details and technicalities, there are 2 key legal issues that control the process. In order to win a Michigan license appeal, you have to prove:

1. That your alcohol problem is under control, and
2. That your alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.
For the most part, it's the second issue that trips most people when they try an appeal on their own, or with some lawyer for whom license appeals is not the basis of his or her practice.

Beyond that, those 2 legal issues are governed by the written language of the rule that explicitly states that, "The hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves by clear and convincing evidence, all of the following..." (emphasis added). This means that not only do you have to prove your case by "clear and convincing evidence," but that the hearing officer is instructed to deny your appeal unless you do. We could spend pages explaining this, but a simple rule of thumb is this: If the hearing officer, in your case, has an unanswered question or an unresolved doubt about any part of it, your evidence isn't clear. And even if it's clear, if it doesn't absolutely convince him or her that you've not only remained alcohol-free for a given minimum period of time, but are also committed, from your very heart and soul, to remain alcohol-free for the rest of your life, and that you also have the resources and tools to do so, then your appeal must to be denied.

Many people think they understand all of this, and move ahead and file an administrative review without a lawyer. Not surprisingly, about 3 out of 4 administrative reviews are denied by the state. Flipping that around, only about 1 out of 4 win. While the "do it yourself" approach doesn't require paying any legal fees, the real cost is that once you lose, you're stuck with exactly the evidence you submitted and cannot file a new appeal, or any new evidence, for a whole year. With my help, that won't happen next time, and I guarantee it.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Revocation hold - Getting a Clearance to Obtain or Renew a License in Another State" »

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June 28, 2013

Michigan Driver's License Restoration - AA or no AA? - Part 2

In part 1 of this article, we began a review of how AA attendance can be helpful, but is absolutely not necessary to win a Michigan driver's license restoration appeal. As a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer, I work with both a clinical and legal knowledge of the principles of recovery every day. I have to make sure that we prove to the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), by "clear and convincing evidence," that your alcohol problem is "likely to remain under control." This means that we have to fit the clinical indications of your transition from drinker to non-drinker - meaning your recovery - into the legal confines of proving that you're a safe bet to never drink again. And we have to do it in a way that conforms with the understanding of the hearing officers that make the final license restoration decisions. To accomplish this, I have to know specifically what kind of proofs each hearing officer is looking for.

Put more simply, we need to prove your sobriety to a hearing officer's satisfaction. Not drinking is a start, but real sobriety also involves an understanding of the need for and a real commitment to stay alcohol-free. Nothing has come close to exploring and explaining the idea that a person simply cannot control or moderate his or her drinking, and therefore must stop completely, like AA's fist step. This cornerstone concept of AA really shapes and defines the whole idea of getting over a drinking problem, and is a familiar context in which to examine a person's commitment to sobriety, even if the person doesn't go to AA.

Groupies 1.3.pngThink of it this way: If I were to talk about a specific license appeal and say we've "hit a home run," or we've "struck out," don't those descriptors help define your understanding of what happened? You know, almost by instinct, that in the "home run" case, we won, and in the case where we "struck out," we lost. Using these familiar terms is helpful by way of description of our success or failure, but it doesn't mean that we're actually playing baseball. Thus, the concept of sobriety is at least described, often enough, in "first step" terms, even for those who don't know the first thing about AA. The bottom line is that future sobriety is directly correlated to an internalized belief that you cannot drink again.

Of all the gifts that AA has passed down into the world of recovery, nothing comes close to its first step. While the language itself ("We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable") is rather esoteric to the outsider, the translated meaning is simple, direct, and clear: You have to stop drinking. At some point, everyone in recovery learns this one basic fact - moderation does not work. Some people rack up an entire series of life problems, including multiple DUI's, trying to control or cut down or otherwise manage their drinking, but sooner or later, those who get better come to realize that the only way to control their drinking is to not drink at all. You can call that a recognition of your powerlessness over alcohol, or you can consider yourself completely empowered over alcohol, as long as you choose not to drink, but semantics aside, it's the same thing: Recovery begins when the drinking ends.

If you stick around AA long enough to learn some of the nuances of the first step, you'll hear all kinds of things. Many, if not most, of these "first step" idioms have little to do with the actual language of the first step, but have become so attached to the whole concept of the "first step" that they seem eternally bound together. Of particular help to the newcomer to abstinence is the whole "one day at a time" phenomenon. You don't have to go to AA to learn this. Should you find yourself sitting in front of a knowing counselor or therapist, or in the right rehab program, you may very well learn that early in a person's recovery, when the prospect of never drinking again seems incredibly hard to grasp and rather scary, it can be very helpful to just segment the commitment to not drink into 24 hour periods. You learn, in other words, to take it "one day at a time."

Therefore, if someone expresses to their counselor, or to a table of AA members that they don't know how they'll get through the rest of their lives, including every future holiday season, without so much as a glass of wine, they'll be taught about one day at a time. "Can you get through today without a drink?" will often be the reply, to which the person will respond "sure." "Then just focus on today. You can worry about tomorrow, tomorrow." This simple little trick has helped countless people string enough days together to add up to weeks, then months, and then years.

By contrast, some people come to the point of quitting drinking knowing that they need to quit forever. This gets to the larger point of this whole article; different things work for different people. The key to getting and staying sober is finding the one that actually works for you, not what someone else says will work for you.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration - AA or no AA? - Part 2" »

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June 24, 2013

Michigan Driver's License Restoration - AA or no AA? - Part 1

As a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer, I either win back your Michigan license or I win a clearance of Michigan's hold on your driving record that prevents you from getting a license in a different state. Specifically, I win an appeal of the Michigan Secretary of State's revocation of your driving privileges by challenging it at a hearing before the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, known as the DAAD, and sometimes (although mistakenly) still called the "DLAD," even though that name changed to the DAAD a number of years ago. One of the most common questions I am asked about the whole license appeal process is whether or not a person needs to be going to AA in order to win. The answer is no, and this 2-part article will explain why.

On both my website and in the license restoration articles on this blog, I have given separate treatment to how and why AA attendance is not necessary to win a license appeal, as well as how a person's current attendance can play a helpful role in a Michigan license restoration case. This time, I am going to squeeze both of those perspectives into a single article. Accordingly, and to keep this piece of readable length, I'll be summarizing, more than explaining, certain elements of the license appeal process in order to make the larger point.

sharing 2.1.jpgFirst and foremost, it would be disingenuous to deny that being involved in AA is anything less than helpful in a Michigan license appeal. Everybody knows about AA, even if they don't know the first thing about any of its 12 steps. Helpful is a far cry, however, from necessary. AA is definitely not necessary to win a license restoration case. More importantly, not going to AA does not pose any kind difficulty to succeeding with your appeal, if things are done right.

For as much as we can say that AA "helps" a license appeal, we should really ask why. The 2 main legal issues in a license restoration or clearance case are:

1. That your alcohol problem is under control, and
2. That your alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.

This means, more than anything else, that you have to prove that you're not likely to ever drink again. To put it another way, you have to prove (and the state requires all your proof to be by "clear and convincing evidence") that you have the commitment and ability to remain abstinent from alcohol for the rest of your life.

Beyond the fact that AA is about the first thing that comes to mind when someone says "drinking problem," what is it about AA that's so special, and why, then, if it is so helpful to a license appeal, can we honestly say that it is not necessary? As we survey the landscape of Michigan license restorations and where AA fits in, we'll look for answers to these questions.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration - AA or no AA? - Part 1" »

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February 4, 2013

Michigan Driver's License Clearance - Administrative Review Guaranteed Win

After years of looking for a way to handle out-of-state Driver's License Clearance Appeals without the return trips to Michigan and being able to still guarantee a win, as I do with regular License Appeals that require a person appear for an actual Hearing, I've finally found one. At first, this appears to contradict my strong position that these "Appeals by mail," called Administrative Reviews, are generally losing propositions. The challenge, then, was to find away around the odds, and be able to do that well enough to still guarantee a winning result. I've met the challenge and fixed that problem.

Nothing will ever convince me that there is a better way to handle an out-of-state License Clearance Appeal than coming back to Michigan. I have that process down to a science. But I have also come to understand that making 2 trips back to Michigan to do this can just be too much for many people. For some, it's cost prohibitive, while for others, it's a lack of time, rather than funds. Whatever the reasons, there are a lot of people who simply cannot or will not make the 2 trips back to Michigan. In recognition of that, I've struggled to find a way to help them and still be able to offer a win Guarantee.

cup 1.3.jpgIt would have been rather easy for me to offer some unguaranteed plan to handle an Administrative Review. In fact, most people "wing" these on their own, which no doubt accounts for the overwhelmingly unfavorable results (3 out of 4 lose). Yet my goal is always to win, and beyond just talking a good game, I wouldn't think of doing anything that I couldn't back up with a Guarantee.

A number of logistical challenges had to be put to rest before I could even get to the more substantive issues. I'll spare the reader the minutia of all that, and move on to the most important issue, and how I came to resolve that.

This was the problem of the Substance Abuse Evaluation. I have noted many times that most Substance Abuse Counselors in Michigan don't know how to do them properly. That's not a knock to them; unless an Evaluator has received careful and specific instruction as to how to properly fill out Michigan's form, emphasis on certain areas will be overlooked, and likely misplaced in others. The form itself only looks self-explanatory; it's not. In reality, it's more like a minefield.

I have to meet with a new Client for 3 hours just to prepare them to undergo this Evaluation. If you come to Michigan, we'll meet in my Office for 3 hours. From there, you'll go to a local Clinic to have your Evaluation completed. If you hire me for an Administrative Review, we still need to do the 3 hour thing, but we can do it by Skype or by phone. These first "meetings" will be done during regular business hours (eastern standard time) and will be just like a regular appointment in my Office. My staff will forward a folder of material to you before our first meeting. This way, when we undertake that "meeting," you'll have various forms in front of you so that we can go over them during our initial 3 hours together. When we're done, I'll instruct you to find an Evaluator, local to you, who will do the Michigan Evaluation under my direction and guidance.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Clearance - Administrative Review Guaranteed Win" »

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November 26, 2012

Michigan Clearance for Former Resident with Revoked License

Those who have moved out of state, but who had their Michigan Driver's License Revoked due to multiple DUI's discover soon enough that they cannot obtain a Driver's License in their new state until they "clear up" the outstanding Michigan Revocation. In the past, some people were able to get a License in another state at first, but then learned, at the time they tried to renew it, that the Michigan "hold" prevents them from doing so. I can fix that, Guaranteed.

In the last several years, I have observed a substantial growth in the number of out-of-state cases that I handle. About 1/2 of the License Appeals I handle are for out-of-state Clients seeking a Clearance of the Michigan "hold" or Revocation on their Driving Record. This is no doubt attributable to the fall of Michigan's economy, as people have left for better employment opportunities. Just this week, I received this following email from a former Michigander now living and working out-of-state:

Subject: Thank you thank you thank you

MI Seal 2.1.pngJeff and Ann ,

I will always remember you for helping me on this journey. If you didn't get the notification letter , we won back my driving privileges. I know you were confident but I wasn't gonna believe until I saw it. I will always be grateful.

So what's the next step? Hopefully I can do this from Arkansas.

Again, thank you so much , you are my heroes.

Mike G

For as much as I write, I probably couldn't say it better no matter how hard I tried. Being a Lawyer and a writer, however, I'll try anyway...

When they are turned away from the DMV (the equivalent of Michigan's Secretary of State) in their new state, many of these unhappy campers return home to their computers and immediately begin trying to find out what to do. Some of the people that call me want to do it right the first time, and get back on the road, while others have tried it on their own, lost and have found me either through the Driver's License Restoration articles on this blog, or on my website.

Whether they cannot get a License at all, or simply cannot renew a previous License, a the same procedure needs to followed: The person must obtain a "Clearance" from the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) in order to be able to obtain, or renew a License in another state. The "Clearance" process is the same procedure that a Michigan resident undertakes to Restore Michigan License that has been Revoked, except that for those who still live here, it is called a "License Restoration."

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November 12, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Restoration - Clearance for an Expired out of State License

About one-half of the License Appeals I file as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer are for people who no longer live in Michigan. I have established a rather efficient system for scheduling my out of state Clients to come and see me first, for about 3 hours, in order to begin the License Appeal process by preparing to undergo their Substance Abuse Evaluation completed, and then to go directly from my Office to a local Clinic a few blocks away in order to have it completed.

This is a convenient and Guaranteed way for someone whose License has been Revoked for multiple DUI's and who is Sober, but no longer lives in Michigan, to obtain a Clearance of the Michigan "hold" upon their Driving Record that prevents them from obtaining or renewing a License in another state. While the Michigan Secretary of State allows people who have moved out of state to file an "Appeal by mail," called an Administrative Review, the hard facts are discouraging: only 1 out of 4 succeed. In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, 74% of all Administrative Reviews mailed into the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) were Denied.

Expired 2.1.jpgOn the other hand, if a person really has quit drinking, I Guarantee that I will win their case the first time around. Even if the odds for winning an "Appeal by Mail" jumped up to 50-50, once you start doing the math about the real costs of losing and having to wait another year (or longer, in cases where an Appeal is really botched) to try again, a Guaranteed win the first time around is a lot less expensive, in terms of inconvenience, real money and stress.

That said, a growing segment of my Clientele are people who have, or did have, at least for while, a Driver's License issued by another state that cannot be renewed upon expiration. I have found that these Clients are least likely to take the 1 out of 4 odds of an "Appeal by mail." They want the ability to continue driving, or, if their License has already expired, they need to be able to renew it as soon as possible. I am often told that, beyond my obvious passion for License Restorations (as evidenced by the sheer number of articles I have written on the subject), it is my first-time win Guarantee that prompts people to hire me. Whatever else, the bottom line is that if a person has put their alcohol use behind them, I can get them back on the road.

Many people who ultimately do hire me have previously tried the "do-it-yourself" License Appeal route, whether they live in Michigan or not. For the most part, most of those who have tried, or will consider trying an Administrative Review, are people who have not had a valid License of any kind since Michigan issued its Revocation. In many cases, they have been without a License and have not driven for quite a while. Except for those who take their chances and drive without a License, most of these people have managed to put together some kind of "transportation network" or system so that they can get around. Sure, it's probably not their first choice, but the point I'm making is that once anyone gets their License back, they get used to the independence a Driver's License brings real fast.

It's only natural that once a person regains the ability to drive again, even for a while, it hurts even more to lose it a second time, when their License expires, and cannot be renewed because of a Michigan "hold." I'm sure that in many cases, the support network of rides they once had has long faded into a memory, and the thought of becoming a professional passenger all over again is thoroughly distasteful. Yet this is exactly the fate that awaits anyone who doesn't act quickly.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration - Clearance for an Expired out of State License " »

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October 1, 2012

Clearance of a Michigan DUI Hold on your Driving Record

If you used to have a Michigan Driver's License that was Revoked because you had several DUI's, and you've moved to another state, you either need, or will need a Clearance of the Michigan Revocation that's currently on your Driving Record. About one-half of the Clients I help in my role as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer now live outside of Michigan. Some of them have never been able to obtain a License in their new state. Others were able to get a License, but now learn that they are or will be unable to renew it once it expires.

I can get that Clearance for you so that you can drive again, or keep driving. If you're not drinking, I Guarantee that I'll win your case the first time. If you're eligible to start the proceedings to get a Michigan Clearance, the real cost of not doing it right the first time is losing your case and having to wait another year to try again. This can really hurt if you currently have a valid License from another state that's about to expire, and cannot be renewed because the Michigan "Hold" has caught up with it.

MIOUT 1.3.jpgIt is understandable that anyone needing a Clearance wants to know if they can do this without having to come back to Michigan, and even without having to hire a Lawyer. Theoretically, it can be done. Realistically, it's a bad idea. In the year 2010, the last year for which Official statistics are available, the Michigan Secretary of State DENIED 74% of all Appeals filed from out of state where a person did not come back to Michigan. 875 of these Appeals, called "Administrative Reviews," were filed, and 650 of them lost. On the bright side, about one out of four actually did win...

Within my Practice, a large number of my current out-of-state Clients are individuals who tried an Administrative Review the year before, and lost. Bolstered by my Guarantee to win their case the first time, they make the trip to meet with me and get the process underway. In turn, having made sure that they really are Sober, I know that they are just 2 trips back to Michigan away from being able to drive again, or keep a valid License in their wallet.

Those who have tried their luck on a "do-it-yourself" Administrative Review and lost very often call my Office right after they've learned they've been Denied, and want to talk about an appeal. I have to explain to them that an appeal from a loss is invariably a waste of time and money. An appeal from a lost Administrative Review is not a chance to try all over again; rather, it is a chance to argue, based solely on the evidence previously submitted, that the Hearing Officer was legally wrong. I don't take these cases, so I tell the caller they'll have to wait until next year, when they can file a new one.

An Administrative Appeal is not Denied because someone does everything right. There is precisely about a zero chance that hiring a Lawyer to appeal such a Denial is going to change anything except the balance in a person's bank account. This is what is meant by the phrase "throwing good money after bad." In that regard, all the money a person tried to save the first time will probably fall far short of the expense and hassle of not being able to drive for another year. I can't tell you how many times someone has said they wish they'd have found my site before they plowed into the License Clearance or Restoration process on their own.

Continue reading "Clearance of a Michigan DUI Hold on your Driving Record " »

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August 13, 2012

Michigan Driver's License Revocations and Holds and Clearances - You Should Come back if you Really Want to win

A person who has a Michigan "Hold" on their Driving Record because of multiple DUI convictions is not legally required to come back to Michigan to obtain a Clearance that will allow them to get a License in another state. In my role as Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, however, I would NEVER accept a case unless my Client is willing to come back. This is not about money, or convenience, or anything less than winning. I take these cases to win them. I Guarantee that I will win any case I accept. Consequently, I will not take a case that I'm not sure I can win.

It seems that not a week goes by without someone contacting my Office from out of state, asking if I can or will take their case and handle it administratively. While a Michigan resident must appear for a License Appeal Hearing, a non-resident may seek a Clearance of the Michigan Hold upon their Driving Record by filing what is called and "Administrative Review," which is essentially a Driver's License Restoration Appeal without the Hearing.

michigan greenie 1.2.pngThese people want hire me for my expertise, and have me manage their "Appeal by mail" so that they don't have to come back to Michigan. This can, at times, get frustrating, because with more than 140 Driver's License Restoration articles on my Blog, and a rather comprehensive website, you almost have to be blind to miss how many times I point out that I only accept Michigan Revoked License cases where a person will return to the state, first to meet with me and have their Substance Abuse Evaluation completed, followed by a second trip back for their actual License Appeal Hearing.

The good news for anyone trying an Administrative Review is that the only "travel" expense is postage.

The bad news is that 3 out of 4 Administrative Reviews lose.

In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division received 875 Administrative Review Appeals. It DENIED 650, or 75% of them. That means only 1 out of 4 "mail-in Appeals" were successful. There's really nothing more to say on that point.

By contrast, I Guarantee that I will win any case I accept. I have kept a win rate of near 98% for as long as I can recall. I can do this because I only take cases for people who are genuinely Sober. If you're still drinking, I cannot help you, and I won't touch your case. If, however, you've put drinking behind you, and plan on remaining alcohol-free, then we should talk.

I think that it is important that any reader stop for a moment and think about my method, because, in reality, it only costs me money. I am completely serious when I say that I receive weekly inquiries about doing someone's Administrative Appeal. The reader may not believe how many contacts I receive from people willing to give me their credit card information right then and there, but who do not want to return to Michigan. No matter what, I'm in business to make money, and turning away good money is not part of anyone's business plan, but I also have a higher standard than just the almighty dollar. My integrity is not for sale, nor is my reputation.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Revocations and Holds and Clearances - You Should Come back if you Really Want to win" »

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July 27, 2012

Michigan Driver's License DUI Revocation Clearance for out of State DMV

Within the more than 135 Michigan Driver's License Restoration articles on this blog, I have covered pretty much every step in the License Restoration process. Some of those articles are rather detailed examinations of very fine points of the procedures and requirements for an out of state resident to obtain a clearance of a Michigan Hold that prevents them from obtaining or renewing a Driver's License in another state. This article will be rather the opposite of that - a summary look at the general process of obtaining a Clearance of a Michigan Hold, or Revocation, and how it's done in my Office, so that a person can go to the DMV in their new state and get back on the road.

A Michigan "Hold" is really just a Michigan Driver's License Revocation. If someone living in Michigan whose License has been Revoked for multiple DUI's were to go into a Secretary of State Office to try to get a License, they'd be told that they cannot do so until they file (and win) a Driver's License Restoration Appeal Hearing. They would be told that they are "Revoked."

michigan-map 2.1.jpgIf that same person were to go into the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) of a state other than Michigan, and try to get a License there, they'd be told that Michigan has a "Hold" on their Driver's License, and that they cannot get one in the new state until that Hold is removed. Many of my Clients were able to get that out of state License in years past, only to find out that now, as technology makes the transfer of information more complete and much faster, that old Michigan Revocation has caught up with them, and they are unable to renew their License in whatever state they now reside.

The only difference between a License Restoration and a Clearance is that if a person wins a Restoration Appeal, they win back their Michigan Driver's License. If a person who lives out of State wins a Clearance, they win a removal of Michigan's "Hold" (meaning the Revocation), which in turn will allow them to get a Full License in another State. To be clear, if a person wins a Clearance, they DO NOT win any kind of Michigan License. They can only use their Clearance to get a License in another state. It cannot be used to get a Michigan License.

The process for removing a "Hold," meaning obtaining a Clearance, is identical to having a Michigan Driver's License Restored. However, anyone who lives out of state can try to file a License Appeal by mail, called an "Administrative Review," whereas a Michigan resident must actually appear for a Driver's License Restoration Appeal Hearing. It is a statistical fact that 3 out of 4 Administrative Reviews are Denied, meaning that anyone who tries an "Appeal by Mail" has about a 25% chance of winning. While I would never recommend that anyone try this route, I would never actively discourage anyone from giving it a go, either, should they be so inclined. I will be here the next year for anyone who needs me.

The better route, of course, is to go for a full License Appeal Hearing. This is not just some sales pitch I use to reel in out-of-staters. I so strongly believe in live, in-person Hearings that I schedule ALL of my cases to be heard live, at the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) Office in Livonia. As it turns out, I have the option of scheduling any of my cases for a Video Hearing at a local Secretary of State Branch Office about 4 minutes down the road from my Office. I would NEVER even consider making that mistake. Instead, I happily make the one-hour drive to Livonia for each and every case I accept, because I know that a live Hearing is incredibly superior to a second-rate, grainy video sort of web cam deal.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License DUI Revocation Clearance for out of State DMV" »

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June 15, 2012

Michigan Driver's License and Driving Record Holds - Fixing or Clearing the way for an out of State License

As a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, my Office is contacted almost daily by someone who now lives outside of Michigan, in another state, and discovers that they cannot get a Driver's License because of a Michigan "Hold" on their Driving Record as a result of multiple DUI convictions. About one-half of the Clients for whom I win back the privilege to drive again live outside of Michigan. I work with and resolve these issues more in any given month than most Lawyers will ever see in their lifetime. Not only do I have loads of experience fixing these DUI Driving Record problems, I have a first time win Guarantee that assures the Client that, if I accept their case, they'll only have to pay me once to get back on the road.

Out-of-State/Michigan Driver's License cases often start the counter of another State's DMV, the equivalent of Michigan's Secretary of State. A person will go there to apply for a License, only to learn that a License cannot be issued because of a Michigan "Hold," or Revocation for multiple DUI's. Most of the time, the person will have lived in Michigan, at least for a time, and held a Michigan Driver's License. It does not matter if all (or even any) of their DUI's took place in Michigan. What matters is that they held a Michigan License at the time they received a 2nd DUI within 7 years, or a 3rd within 10 years, regardless of where those DUI's occurred.

Mi Map copy1.3.jpgI've handled cases where a person NEVER held a Michigan Driver's License, but picked up 2 DUI's here within 7 years. As a result, the Secretary of State created a Michigan Driver's License number for them, then immediately "Revoked" their Michigan License, even though they never really had one issued here. The upshot of all this is that when their out of state License was due for renewal, they could not renew because of the Michigan "Hold."

Once a Michigan Driver's License is Revoked for multiple DUI's, it almost always prevents a person from obtaining a License in another state. In years past, some people were able to slip past this and get an out-of-state License. That was then, this is now...

As the reporting procedures for the NDR (National Driving Register) started to improve, those people who once held out-of-state Licenses began finding themselves unable to renew them. Amongst those calling my Office, a significant number have had an out-of-state License that they are unable to renew because of DUI convictions from years ago.

In either case, the reality is that the State of Michigan has Revoked a person's Michigan Driver's License for multiple DUI's, and the person will never be able to get another License, anywhere, until they fix or "clear" the Michigan Revocation (which amounts to a "Hold" to an out of State DMV). A "Clearance" is identical in every single respect to a regular Michigan Driver's License Restoration except for one thing:

If a person still lives in Michigan, they can only have their Driver's License "Restored," meaning Michigan will grant them a Restricted License at first. If a person no longer resides in Michigan, the State cannot grant them any kind of License. Instead, it can only "clear" its Revocation on their Driving Record, which, in turn, will allow them to obtain a Driver's License in their new home state.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License and Driving Record Holds - Fixing or Clearing the way for an out of State License " »

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February 20, 2012

Michigan License Appeals and Clearances for Out-of-State Residents - the Residency Issue

As a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer with a busy Practice, about half, and maybe even more of my License Appeal cases involve Representing Clients who now live outside of Michigan. I've had Clients from just over the border in Ohio, to all corners of the US, lots from Florida, and some from as far away as Japan.

This article will be about how the different Michigan Secretary of Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) Hearing Officers in Livonia, where I have all my cases heard, require proof (or not) of such out-of state residency, and why such proof is so important. Unlike just about every other article in this section, and on this blog, this one will be reasonably short. Our subject today is important, yet refreshingly simple.

FLDRL1.1.jpgThe reason this is important in the first place has to do with the very fundamental difference between a License Appeal for someone who still lives in Michigan, and someone who does not. Michigan residents are ONLY eligible to win a Restricted License. In other words, the ONLY thing a Michigan resident can win in A Driver's License Restoration Appeal is a Restricted Driver's License that requires the installation of an ignition interlock (breathalyzer) system on their car for at least 1 year. There is no option to win a "full" License, and no way around the ignition interlock. These requirements are set in stone.

Non-residents are not eligible for ANY kind of Michigan License. Think about it for a moment, if a person lives in Florida, for example, and is a resident there, how can Michigan, or any state (except Florida), for that matter, give them any kind of Driver's License? It would be no different if a person wanted a Concealed Weapons Permit. They have to obtain that in the state in which they live. A Florida resident could not come to Michigan and apply for and be granted a CCW (actually, such a permit, at least in Michigan, is called a "CPL," meaning Concealed Pistol License), or vice-versa.

Instead, anyone who is a non-resident with multiple DUI's (sometimes, these can be spread across different states) and a Michigan "hold" upon their Driving Record learns they cannot obtain, or, in other cases, cannot renew an out-of-state Driver's License because of that Michigan "hold." In order to obtain the Driver's License in another State, they need to "clear" Michigan's hold. "Clear" is a very important word here.

That's because a non-resident with a Michigan hold on their Driving Record will apply for what is called a "Clearance." Quite logically, this means that the relief they seek from the DAAD is a Clearance (or voiding out) of the Michigan hold on their Driving Record.

Continue reading "Michigan License Appeals and Clearances for Out-of-State Residents - the Residency Issue" »

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December 30, 2011

Michigan Driver's License Holds - Unable to Renew a License From Another State

About half of my Driver's License Restoration Clients reside out-of-state. These people can be divided into 2 categories:

  1. Those who left Michigan with a Revoked License due to multiple DUI's, and who have been unable to obtain a License outside of Michigan, and
  2. Those who were able to obtain an out-of-state License but are then unable to renew it due to a subsequently discovered Michigan "hold" on their Driving Record.
MI Seal2.jpgThe majority of people fall into the first category: those who are unable, right out the gate, to obtain an out-of-state License. This article will focus on that smaller group in the second category: those who were first able to obtain, but were thereafter unable to renew, an out-of-state License.

When someone who has left Michigan, and thereafter obtained a License in a different state contacts me, they often express a sense of frustration, as if there has been some mistake. After all, they had a License in their new state, and they haven't had any Arrests or problems. How can this be? Is there some mistake? Isn't' there something that can quickly be done so that they can renew?

Usually, the source of their difficulty is what's called the National Driving Register. While the details and nuances of it's operation are rather involved, and go beyond the scope of this article, what matters is that it exists, and means a person who has obtained a License in another state, and who has had their driving privileges Revoked in Michigan, will, at some point, be unable to renew that License until they clear Michigan's "hold" on their driving Record. This is like a big, comprehensive national driving Record. To be clear, most people will simply be unable to obtain a License in another state because Michigan's Revocation (seen by that other state as a "hold") will show up right away. Yet in any number of cases, it does not, for some reason, and only catches up with the person later, when they go to renew their out-of-state License.

In terms of how it works, the inability to renew an out-of-state License requires the same "Clearance" that must be obtained before the usual, Revoked because-of-multiple-DUI's driver can obtain a License anywhere. Except for the fact that an out-of-state resident will seek the ability to obtain a License in a state other than Michigan, whereas a Michigan resident will seek Restoration of his or her Michigan Driver's License, the proof required to win such an Appeal is identical.

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October 24, 2011

How to Clear up a Michigan Hold on Your Driver's License and Get a License in Another State - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we began examining the process by which someone who has moved out of Michigan, but has a Michigan "hold" on their Driving Record goes about obtaining a "Clearance," which releases that hold. We observed that in the year 2010, the Secretary of State received 875 Administrative Appeals, and DENIED 650 of them, meaning that 3 out of 4 such Appeals Lost. By contrast, I pointed out that in that same year, I conducted over 70 live License Hearings, and won each and every one, meaning that 100% of my Clients got back on the road.

In this second part, we will examine my Office protocol for accepting and handling out-of-state Driver's License Appeals. We left off at the end of the first part of this article by noting that in an Administrative Appeals, (and 3 out of 4 cases being Denied proves this), it is quite likely that the Hearing Officer reviewing the case will have a question, or questions, but with no way to ask them, will be left with no choice but to Deny it. We noted that the State, will say, in essence, "See you next year..."

michiganC44.gifThe benefit to me, as a License Restoration Lawyer, is that once someone tries an Administrative Appeal and loses, they are almost always "all ears" when the chance for next year's Appeal rolls around. About the only question they have of me is how soon they can come in and start the process.

And it is a process. It is a labor-intensive, important process for which there are no shortcuts. My first meeting with a new Client is scheduled for 3 hours, and is pretty much solely dedicated to preparing them to undergo the mandatory Substance Abuse Evaluation. And that's just the first step.

Having handled hundreds of cases for people who live out of state, and for hundreds who still live here, in Michigan, but rather far away from my Office, I have developed a pretty efficient system for having them come in the day of their Substance Abuse Evaluation, meeting with them for about 3 hours, then sending them around the block to have the Evaluation completed.

Normally, I like my Clients to have their Substance Abuse Evaluation completed at a local Clinic a few blocks from my Office. I prefer this Clinic because they do a top-notch job of completing the Evaluation. By "top-notch job," I DO NOT mean that they simply take someone's money and crank out a favorable report. The State can smell that kind of quackery a mile away. The Clinic I like does not rent or sell its integrity, and instead conducts a thorough Evaluation which results in a Clinically accurate diagnosis and prognosis of and for a person's alcohol problem and Recovery. This means that a person must, in fact, be both Sober, and committed to remaining Sober, in order to pass muster. Fakers and scammers need not apply.

Normally, a person will have their Evaluation scheduled about 4 hours after our meeting time, so that we can spend 3 hours together preparing for that first step, then they can go and spend another hour getting it done. After that, they can go home, wherever that may be. We can do the rest of our work via phone and fax and email.

Continue reading "How to Clear up a Michigan Hold on Your Driver's License and Get a License in Another State - Part 2" »

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October 21, 2011

How to Clear up a Michigan Hold on Your Driver's License and Get a License in Another State - Part 1

As a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I file (and win) over 100 License Appeals each year. More than half of those Appeals are for people who now live outside of Michigan, but are still unable to get a License in another state because of a Michigan "hold" on their driving Record. Most of these cases involve a person having multiple DUI convictions. It is not necessary that all, or even any of those DUI's took place in Michigan. What matters (as anyone reading this has no doubt already discovered) is that the person had a Michigan Driver's License that was Revoked for 2 or more DUI's within 7 years, or 3 or more within 10 years, wherever they may have occurred.

While I have written rather extensively on this topic within the Driver's License Restoration section of my blog, it seems that unless I regularly keep writing about this particularly important topic, finding those articles about "out-of-state" Michigan Drivers' License Restoration issues requires some digging. As always, I will try to do more than just re-state what I've already said in previous articles. Accordingly, this will be a long, 2-part article that will not only explore the options for out-of-state residents who are being held back by a Michigan "hold" on their Driving Record, but will also examine how I handle these cases and get my out-of-state Clients back on the road.

michiganB55.gifWhen a person has left Michigan without having had their Driver's License Restored, meaning they have left with their License still Revoked, they often don't understand that this Revocation will prevent them from obtaining a License in another state. Sometimes, because they intend to live outside of Michigan and have no intention of ever returning (except, perhaps, for a visit), they have ideas of beginning afresh in a new place.

As they soon discover, however, the Michigan "hold" on their Driver's License follows them everywhere.

In fact, most people who find me do so as a consequence of learning that they must "clear" the hold on their Michigan Driving Record. Very few people research this issue before they go to the DMV of their new state. Instead, they come home from that DMV and start trying to figure out how to clear up this mess.

In that regard, it does not matter if a person now lives out of State, lives around the block from my Office in Mt. Clemens, or lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, because in each and every one of those cases, there are 2, and only 2, procedures available to clear up a Michigan Driver's License Revocation. We'll get to those shortly. What's different for those who live out of state is the relief sought by whichever procedure a person uses to try and move forward. Let me explain:

A person who lives in Michigan, and wants their License Restored will file for a "Restoration" of their Michigan Driver's License. In other words, they want their Michigan License back. A person who no longer lives in Michigan, and who wants a License in another state, will seek what is called a "Clearance" of their Michigan Driving Record, which means a release of Michigan's hold, or, to put it another way, a "voiding out" of the previous Revocation that prevents them from obtaining a License in their new state.

Continue reading "How to Clear up a Michigan Hold on Your Driver's License and Get a License in Another State - Part 1" »

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September 26, 2011

Michigan Driver's License Appeals and the Geographic Cure for an Alcohol Problem

Within my Driver's License Restoration Practice, about ½ of my Clients have either moved out of state, or live pretty far from the southeast Detroit-area where my Office is located. Wherever they now live, many of my Clients have moved away from where they lived at the time of their last DUI. Sometimes they move for work, other times for different reasons, but the point is that they no longer live in what could be considered their "old stomping ground."

This is important, because very often, the move to somewhere different helps support what's known as a "Sober lifestyle." As I have noted in other articles in the Driver's License Restoration section of this blog, Sobriety is a first requirement in order to win a License Appeal. The whole process of getting and staying Sober is really at the heart of a Driver's License Appeal.

Moving Van1.pngYet it is also well known that there is no such thing as a "geographic cure" for an alcohol or substance abuse problem.

In this article, we'll examine how, in a License Appeal, a move to somewhere new, while not any kind of "cure," in and of itself, can be helpful and persuasive evidence of a person's establishing and maintaining a Sober lifestyle.

Anyone who has been through any kind of IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) Counseling, or who has attended AA for any length of time has heard the general proposition that there is no such thing as "geographic cure" for an alcohol problem. This really means that a person cannot just move away from where they drink, or from their drinking friends, and do nothing more than expect to get better. The urge to drink will soon be too strong to resist, and without any other kind of plan, that person will, sooner or later, wind up back in the saddle, only somewhere different.

And while this generalization may be true, it tends to be at odds with the way the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Appeal and Assessment Division (DAAD) sees a person's Recovery behavior. The State does, in a very real way, look at all of the changes a person has made as part of their commitment to not drink again, and moving away from bad influences, or, as the AA people say, from "wet faces and wet places," can be a helpful part of that.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Appeals and the Geographic Cure for an Alcohol Problem" »

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September 9, 2011

Driver's License Restoration - Michigan Issues only, Please...

Almost all of the articles in the Driver's License Restoration section of my blog examine some aspect or aspects of the License Appeal process. It seems that lately, however, and perhaps because of the sheer number of those articles, some people are less inclined to read through enough of them before calling my Office with any License-related problem. As a result, I thought that perhaps I should outline the kind of cases that fall within the scope of what I do, and those fall outside.

To begin with, ALL of the cases I handle in my License Restoration Practice involve a person having had their MICHIGAN Driver's License Revoked for multiple DUI's, or some combination of DUI's and/or Substance Abuse-related convictions. Many of my Clients now live outside of Michigan, but the central difficulty they have is that their MICHIGAN License has been Revoked. In some cases, they may have, for a time, been able to get a valid License elsewhere, but at some point, they butt up against the Michigan Revocation while trying to renew or get a License in another state. They are told, quite correctly, that they'll need to clear up Michigan's "hold" on their License in order to get a valid License in that other state.

Michigan Red1.jpgI point this out because any number of people call my Office about a License problem NOT related to Michigan. As a duly licensed Michigan Lawyer, I can only advise, much less represent anyone, as it relates to matters of Michigan Law. This means the core issue in any License case I handle will be a Michigan Driver's License Revocation, even if the person no longer lives here, and simply wants to obtain a Driver's License in another state. I've had people call from other states who have never had a Michigan License and whose legal issues are entirely governed by the laws of another state. I cannot help in those cases. I can only help when there is a Michigan License issue involved.

Another question that comes up frequently is whether or not I can advise someone on how to go about the License Appeal process on their own. Under Michigan Law, a person can file for what's called an Administrative Appeal, which is basically a request for a Michigan License or Clearance by mail. I DO NOT handle such cases, nor do I advise anyone regarding them. There are two reasons for this:

First, and perhaps most importantly, Administrative Appeals are sure losers. According to the Michigan Secretary of State, in the fiscal year 2010, it received 875 Administrative License Appeals. Of those, 650 (74%) were DENIED. That's a 3 out of 4 chance of LOSING!

By contrast, in the year 2010, I handled over 70 live, in-person Hearings, and won each and every one, giving me a 100% win rate. Beyond that, I guarantee that I will win any Appeal I accept, or the next is free.

Continue reading "Driver's License Restoration - Michigan Issues only, Please..." »

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July 25, 2011

Michigan Driver's License "Holds" for Former Residents with Multiple DUI's

Within my Driver's License Restoration Practice, a significant percentage of all the Driver's License Restoration cases I handle are for Clients who live outside of the Detroit area. I have Clients from all corners of Michigan, and from all corners of the continental U.S., as well. No matter where they live now, all these Clients have one thing in common: They formerly held a Michigan Driver's License which was Revoked because of multiple DUI's. For those that no longer live in Michigan, the implications of a Michigan Revocation can be frustrating, to say the least.

There are lots of reasons people leave Michigan, but it's safe to say that in all cases, it wasn't because things here were going too good. In some cases, people move to some place where transportation isn't a problem. In others, the prospect of good paying work entices them to leave, figuring that being somewhere warmer and making money, even without having a License, beats being cold, unemployed, and still having no License.

MI Road Sign2.pngAt some point, however, a person who formerly held, and then lost, a Michigan Driver's License tries to get one in their new State. And no matter how much time has passed, they find that Michigan has a "hold" on their License, and that they cannot do anything until they clear that "hold."

So they start researching. And they soon learn that in order to get that "hold" released, they need what's called a "Clearance" from Michigan.

A "Clearance" is basically the same thing as getting one's Michigan License Restored, without getting an actual Michigan License. It is as simple as this: If a person still lives in Michigan, then the only action the State can take is to Restore their License. If a person has moved out of state, then Michigan can only release its "hold" by granting a Clearance. No state can give a License to a non-resident. Think about it for a moment; if you were traveling to Texas, as a resident of any other state, and when to their DMV and said "Hi. I'd like to get a Texas Driver's License." What do you think they'd say? It's not like this is "collect all 50, and win a prize...."

Perhaps the critical difference between those who still have a Michigan residency and those who do not is that any resident can and will ONLY win back a Restricted License. A Michigan resident CANNOT win a full, unrestricted License. By law, a Michigan resident will have to serve at least 1 year on a Restricted License with an ignition interlock system in whatever car they drive, None of this, however, applies to people who have moved out-of-state.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License "Holds" for Former Residents with Multiple DUI's" »

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April 18, 2011

Michigan Driver's License Restoration - "Holds" for Multiple DUI's for Former Residents

A large part of my Practice, as a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, involves helping people who now live out-of-state "clear" their Michigan Revocation so that they can be Licensed in the state in which they now live. This article will explain the difference between the License relief typically given to a Michigan resident and that available for someone who now lives out-of-state.

Usually, I am contacted by someone now in another state who has tried to obtain a License in that state, only to be informed that they are not eligible to do so until they take care of an outstanding Michigan "hold." Almost everyone who contacts me has done enough investigation (often having read the Driver's License Restoration section of this blog) to discover that the "hold" on their License stems from 2 or more DUI's that have resulted in the Revocation of their (former) Michigan Driver's License.

leaving_Michigan1.jpgSometimes, these individuals had a License in another state for a while, and this previously undisclosed "hold" comes up when they try to renew. Most of the time, however, and in large part due to what is know as the National Driving Register, the Michigan "hold," which is actually a Michigan Revocation, turns up before any License is issued.

In many cases, I am contacted after a person has filed for an Administrative review and lost. It's then that I almost always have to tell the caller that they'll have wait a year in order to correct the errors that caused them to lose their first, do-it-yourself Appeal, and then try again, this time with a Lawyer (like me) who specializes in License Appeals.

It is not uncommon for me to hear a familiar desperation in the caller's voice, telling me that they'll settle for any kind of relief, and would do anything just to get some kind of Restricted License.

And that is the whole point of this article. There is no "Restricted License" option for out-of-State residents. Instead, those who now live out-of-state but have a Revoked Michigan Driver's License can only obtain a "Clearance," which is essentially the same thing as a full, un-Restricted License.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration - "Holds" for Multiple DUI's for Former Residents" »

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March 28, 2011

Michigan Driver's License Restoration for Those who Live Anywhere

In my Practice as a full-time Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I have attempted to put out as much information as possible about this subject. The Driver's License Restoration section of my Blog, which you're in right now, has well over 50 highly detailed, informational articles covering the whole panorama of License Appeals. This article will be about License Appeals for those who live beyond the Metro-Detroit area, and how I handle those cases.

I'm motivated to write this article because it seems that not a day goes by without my Office being contacted by people from all around the State of Michigan (and, of course, from those who have moved outside of the State) asking if I can do their License Appeal.

USA.jpgSo I want to be clear:

I CAN DO YOUR MICHIGAN LICENSE APPEAL NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE.

All you have to do is come and see me in my Office, located in Downtown Mt. Clemens, right across from the County Building. I'm located about a minute off of I-94, at the North River Road exit.

Many people with whom I speak have already read many, if not most of my Blog articles about License Appeals. Those who have know that I prefer to have the Substance Abuse Evaluation completed at a Clinic just a few blocks from my Office. I have pointed out that I have no connection with this Clinic aside from liking the fact that they do an excellent, honest job in completing this ultra-important part of the License Appeal process. As it turns out, I'm going there myself in the next week or so to update the staff as to the ever-evolving requirements of the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).

For anyone coming in from anyplace other than the local area, we'll schedule the initial Client meeting with me (which lasts about 3 hours) right before the Client has their appointment with the Clinic, if that's where they choose to do their Substance Abuse Evaluation. This means the Client can come see me, then go and have the Evaluation completed, and then go home, wherever that may be. As I have noted, I have no problem with someone going elsewhere for this Evaluation, but it has been my rather considerable experience that, more often than not, Evaluations from other sources fall short of what I feel is necessary to begin a successful License Appeal.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Restoration for Those who Live Anywhere" »

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March 11, 2011

Michigan Driver's License Clearance - Can't Renew in Another State

As a Driver's License Restoration Attorney, I get questions about every part of the License Appeal process. In this blog, I have tried to answer as many of those as possible, and anyone interested in learning about this Process should read through the whole Driver's License Restoration category.

Since a good part of my Practice involves handling License Appeals for people who have moved out of State, I've run across pretty much every situation imaginable as it relates to having a Michigan License that has been Revoked for 2 or more DUI's. One such circumstance has come up several times recently. This article will focus on those situations where a person whose Driver's License has been Revoked in Michigan has been able to obtain a License in another State, only to find that they cannot renew it and must clear up the Michigan Revocation before they can be re-licensed elsewhere.

michigan3.jpgAs a general rule, once a person's License has been Revoked in Michigan, they will be unable to secure a License in any other State. This is because the National Driving Register ( NOT the "National Driving Registry," which is a for-profit site trying to cash in on the similarity of the names), maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, keeps a record of all state actions against a person's License. Thus, when a person goes into a Department of Motor Vehicles in a state other than Michigan (where we call such a bureau the "Secretary of State"), a check is run both through that state's records, and the NDR. Once a person comes back as Revoked in Michigan, the state in which the Person is trying to get a License will inform them that they are ineligible for a License until they clear up the Michigan Revocation.

This wasn't always the case. In fact, although I have no specific data regarding when any particular state started using the NDR, what's clear is that any number of years ago, some states clearly did not. I have 2 License Appeal cases right now, one for a person who was able to get a License in Florida, and another in Oregon, some years ago. In each case, they were told that they would be unable to renew those Licenses until the Revocations from Michigan are cleared. Obviously, since the time each of those Clients first obtained their out-of-state License, both Florida and Oregon began checking the National Driving Register.

To the best of my knowledge, every state in the Country now runs a check of the NDR before issuing a License. Of course, I know that anyone contacting me about a Michigan Clearance has already been denied in another State.

To clear the way for being Licensed in another state, a person must obtain a "Clearance" of their Michigan Driver's License. In other words, a person who has moved out of state is not eligible to have a Michigan Driver's License "Restored," unless they're moving back to Michigan.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Clearance - Can't Renew in Another State" »

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July 26, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Appeals for Non-Residents

A large share of my Practice involves License Restoration Appeals for people who have moved out of Michigan. In previous blog articles, I have mentioned that any Lawyer who practices long enough will begin to see "patterns" in terms of how things work. This is particularly true with my out-of-state License Appeals.

Most often, my Office receives a call from someone who has been searching the internet and comes across my website, or some of my License Restoration articles on this blog, usually after unsuccessfully having tried to win their License Back on their own. I can't tell you how many times per week I hear something to the effect that "I wish I had found you BEFORE I sent in all my paperwork!"

Michigan1.jpgIn fact, chances are, if you're an outside-of-Michigan reader, you may be checking out your options after receiving a Denial.

It may sound smart-alecky, but it is nevertheless true that the best, and easiest Clients are those that have already tried on their own, or have tried with an Attorney who is not a bona-fide License Restoration Practitioner, and lost. They will listen intently, follow directions, and otherwise just do what is necessary to win a License Appeal, no questions asked.

That isn't always the same for those who have not previously tried and lost.

There are some callers who cannot understand why I require a new License Restoration Client to come to Michigan and meet with me in order to begin this process. I have had plenty of offers to pay my whole fee (or any portion I'd name) for just phone time and guidance. I could easily offer that service, whether at a discount, or not. It seems there would be any number of takers, and beyond earning money I otherwise would not make, it would take less time to do it. So why do I turn down those offers and make it seemingly more difficult?

The truth is that I feel that I have the perfect, or as close to a perfect system, as one can develop, to win License Appeals. I also truly and honestly believe that there are no shortcuts to this process, and that winning Restoration of a Driver's License takes a lot of work. For me, that work begins with an initial Client meeting that typically lasts from between 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This meeting takes place PRIOR to the Client going in to have a Substance Abuse Evaluation performed, so that I can make sure the Client is well-prepared for it.

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Appeals for Non-Residents" »

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March 24, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Holds - Getting a License in Another State

In my Practice as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, I am often called to help people who've moved away and find that they cannot get licensed in their new state because of a "hold" from Michigan. I have written several articles on this Blog relating to applying for an out-of-state License, the types of Appeals that can be filed, and why I don't believe in Appealing "by mail." Anyone interested in clearing up a "hold" on a Michigan License should read those articles, as well as the "Quick Start" guide to License Restoration on my website.

Recently, I have represented some Drivers who were willing to move back to Michigan in order to at least get a Restricted License. In many cases, however, moving back here is not an option, so the relocated Driver must file for what's called a "Clearance" which is basically a release of any and all "holds" on their Michigan Record, which in turn will allow them to get the out-of-state License.

Man-and-Suitcase2.jpgFor those Driver's whose License has been Revoked for multiple DUI's, then the series of articles on this Blog regarding the Driver's License Restoration process is a necessary starting point. In that series, I go over how a person files for a License Appeal, and cover all the ins and outs of both the process and the mindset needed to successfully go through it.

In one of the article previously mentioned about Administrative Reviews, I pointed out why I do not believe in them, and why I think the best way to get a License Restored (or get a Clearance) involves coming back here, to Michigan, to clean things up. Let's be clear about one thing: a person, wherever they may be, does not need to go through the License Restoration, or "Clearance" process if their License is merely Suspended. Those individuals can pay off what they owe, or set up some kind of payment plan, and get a "Clearance" that shows the outstanding matter is, or is being, cleared up.

The formal "Clearance" process only applies to Driver's whose Licenses have been Revoked, and the vast majority of those cases stem from multiple DUI's. Anyone in this boat has 2 options (3, if you count not doing anything and never being able to drive legally as an option):

1. File for the "Appeal by Mail," meaning sending in for an Administrative Review, or

2. Apply for an In-Person Hearing before the Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD).

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Holds - Getting a License in Another State" »

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January 15, 2010

Michigan Driver's License Problems for Those who have Moved out of State

As a Driver's License Restoration Lawyer, a good chunk of the inquiries I receive comes from people who cannot be licensed in another state because of some hold on or problem with their Michigan Driver's License. Whatever other state they're currently living in, they discover that no License can be issued there until they "clear up" their Michigan License. This article will focus specifically on those cases where the reason for the Michigan hold or problem is multiple DUI's.

Under Michigan Law, 2 DUI's within 7 years results in the Revocation of the Driver's License for a minimum of 1 year. 3 or more DUI's within 10 years causes the Driver's License to be Revoked for a minimum of 5 years. When we say "for a minimum of" it means that the person cannot even file an Appeal for a License Restoration until that much time has passed, but will never be Licensed until such Appeal has been filed and won. In the real world, this means that many people, particularly those who are no longer living in Michigan, wait considerably longer than the minimum Revocation period to pursue their Appeal.

If a person is not completely clear about their eligibility to file a License Appeal, the first thing they should do is obtain a copy of their Michigan Driving Record. This link will help in that effort.

gm_headquarters_in_detroit.jpgOnce someone has moved out of Michigan, they are no longer eligible to Restore a Michigan Driver's License, and must instead obtain a "Clearance" from the Secretary of State in order to have a License issued in another state.

For the person who now has an address in a different state, there are 2 ways to go about the Appeal:

The first (and better way) is to file the traditional, Request-for-Hearing Appeal which requires them to reappear in Michigan for a reexamination. In my Practice, all such cases are scheduled for a Hearing at the Michigan Secretary of State's Driver Assessment and Appeal Division's Livonia office.

The other method involves filing for an Administrative Review which allows the person to skip the Hearing and just submit the various and required documents and wait for a decision.

I am not a fan of the Administrative Review. In fact, I strongly discourage it.

It is my hope that in explaining this, the prospective Client will either see things my way, or at least trust my experience and judgment enough to be willing to come back to Michigan in order to properly handle (and win) their License Appeal.

What follows is an examination of why I favor in-person Hearings so strongly for those who have moved out of state and need to obtain a Michigan Clearance in order to have a Driver's License issued in another state:

Continue reading "Michigan Driver's License Problems for Those who have Moved out of State" »

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August 24, 2009

License Restoration - Out of State Licenses and what if I've moved out of Michigan?

In recent years, the number of Michigan residents who are moving out of state has been growing. Given the current downturn in the economy, and the huge manufacturing job losses here, especially in the Tri-County Area, that number will likely continue to grow.

Among all those people leaving Michigan, any number have had their Driver's License Suspended or Revoked. Let's speak candidly for a moment; If I wasn't a Driver's License Restoration Attorney, and I didn't have a valid Michigan Driver's License, and I was moving out of state, the first thing I'd wonder is "can I just go and get a license in the state to which I'm moving?" As it turns out, the across-the-board answer to that question is "no."

Driver Lady.jpgMany years ago, it was possible to obtain a license in certain, different states, even if you had a Suspended or Revoked License in your former home state. Those days are long over, however. Part of that has to do with the reason you're reading this - the computer revolution.

The law basically boils down to this: If your license is suspended or revoked in Michigan, you must clear whatever underlying suspension(s) or revocation(s) you have here before any other state will issue a Driver's License. In a previous blog post, I discussed the differences between Suspended and Revoked Licenses.

Depending on the status of your Michigan License, the problems on your Michigan Driving Record can be "cleared" in order to make way for the out of state license. The best way to determine that status, if you're not completely clear about it, is to obtain a copy of your Michigan Driving Record. This link will help you do that.

Continue reading "License Restoration - Out of State Licenses and what if I've moved out of Michigan?" »

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