In my world of driver’s license restoration, criminal and DUI cases, the word “sobriety” really takes a beating. It is chronically overused, while seldom fully understood. In the context of a Michigan driver’s license appeal case, for example, the key inquiry is whether or not a person has really quit drinking and is a safe bet to never drink again; this hints at the deeper, truer meaning of the word. The concern that a person will drink and drive again is pretty well obviated when it’s clear that he or she has both the commitment and the tools to remain alcohol-free for life. As often used, however, the word “sober” is simply intended to mean “not drunk.” Real “sobriety,” however, is qualitatively different from merely “sober,” as in not drunk. It is this deeper notion of sobriety, which involves a person having quit drinking for good, that is fundamental to winning a driver’s license appeal. It can also be important in criminal and DUI cases, as well. I’ve had 1st offense DUI clients who are exhausted by their drinking and are ready to quit, while, by contrast, I’ve had people with 4 or more DUI’s who insist that no matter how things might look, they don’t have any kind of problem with alcohol. Sobriety, or a lack of it, always plays a central role in all driver’s license restoration and DUI cases, while playing anything from a leading to a supporting role in many criminal cases, as well. In this short article, I want to take a closer look at the true meaning of the term “sobriety.”

Acceptance1.2.jpg“Sober” can mean that a person is either “not drunk” or he or she has moved past drinking to an alcohol-free lifestyle. When we hear that a person has been “sober” for a certain number of years, the term essentially means the same thing as the notion of “sobriety” that I want to explore here. As the defining point of this article, the reader will either “get” this, or not. If you or someone you know well has gone through the life-changing process of getting sober, then you understand the profound transition involved, and how completely one must abandon (i.e., surrender) any notion of “controlling” his or her drinking to get well. This kind of personal metamorphosis is a fundamental requirement to winning back a driver’s license that has been revoked for multiple DUI’s. Because I only do license appeals for people who have genuinely embraced sobriety, I can and do guarantee a win in every case I take. A client of mine really defined this in the clearest way when he observed that you can admit you have a problem with drinking, and you can even “admit” that you’re powerless over alcohol all day long; what matters is truly accepting it. This is an interesting take on AA’s 1st step, “Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives became unmanageable.” In the way that the AA people mean it, acceptance is implicit in the admission, but what my client was trying to say is that many people “know” they have a problem with drinking even while they are still struggling with trying to control it, whereas once someone fully “accepts” his or her powerlessness over alcohol, there are no more attempts at control. Instead, there is a simple surrender, and the fight just ends. By the time most people hit this point, drinking is no longer fun anymore, and usually hasn’t been for a while.

As anyone who has done this knows, the very moment you surrender and give up the battle with the bottle, you actually win. This applies whether you’ve ever been to an AA meeting or not. I like AA, but only when it is accurately seen as just one of many ways to help people get sober. It frustrates me that some Judges are all too quick to force people to go to meetings without any real understanding of larger recovery principles or the potential efficacy of AA for any particular person. AA is a great program for some individuals, but certainly not for everyone, or, indeed, even for most people. If you’re facing a DUI, the last thing you need is to be forced into getting the “wrong” kind of help. Research proves that this can have the opposite of the desired effect. Yet whether AA is right or not for someone, many of its lessons are universal…
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I bet you just can’t wait for another Christmas wish, right? Well, let’s get that out of the way first: Merry Christmas. And Happy Hanukkah, as well. We celebrate both holidays at my house. When you celebrate, don’t over-indulge. Most of my DUI cases happen by accident. No one plans on getting pulled over for drunk driving, but somehow, it happens. Plan specifically to NOT let this happen to you. Uber is everywhere, and whatever inconvenience you might have to endure to stay somewhere or get a ride home, it will be thousands of time worse if you get popped for a drunk driving offense.

Beautiful-White-Christmas-Tree-Artificial-Christmas-Trees-Idea.jpgTo anyone who is planning an appeal to win back a Michigan driver’ license, or to remove a Michigan hold on their driving record, know that you must be genuinely sober to start the process with any chance of success. If you are, then you have a much deeper understanding of what it means to celebrate the season. You also almost certainly have more to celebrate. Sobriety is a gift that can be tested at this time of year. No matter what, remember that it has never worked out for anyone to go back and try to drink moderately. Never. It won’t work for you, either, but all the trouble you remember will be back in your lap in no time. If you even have to think about controlling or limiting your drinking, that alone proves you’re not a normal drinker. Just don’t pick up.

Criminal charges
sometimes seem to come out of the blue at this time of year. From drug possession, including possession of marijuana, and embezzlement charges, all the way to indecent exposure offenses, sometimes people just act out because the holidays can be every bit as stressful as they can be fun. So you get it; take care of yourself, and if you need help, my office is here to do just that. Now, in the true spirit of the season, let’s chuckle at a good Christmas joke…
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As a Michigan DUI lawyer, it can be easy for me to get all caught up in the legal and procedural things involved in a drunk driving case. It recently occurred to me that so much of what a person will find as he or she searches for information after a drinking and driving arrest is focused on all that technical stuff, and all of that misses the target in more than 98% of OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) and impaired driving cases. Lawyers, on their various websites, detail what they think they can do, what they have done, and what they think ought to be done in DUI cases. Spend enough time online, and you might wonder if you should hire a lawyer or a trained Datamaster breathalyzer operator, instead. This can get so involved that you lose sight of the big picture and start thinking about trials and juries and verdicts and all kinds of things that are unlikely, at best, and which only succeed in less than 2% of all OWI and impaired driving cases. The purpose of this article is to bring the discussion back home and focus on what a DUI is really all about. As with so many things, when you cut to the heart of the matter, it’s really quite simple.

Lie 1.3.jpgAt the end of the day, a DUI case is about drunk driving. The sole question comes down to whether a person was operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater, or was otherwise “impaired” by the alcohol he or she consumed. We can get so caught up in all the details about things like the traffic stop and what constitutes “operating” a vehicle that, as the saying goes, we “Can’t see the forest through the trees.” In a very real sense the way we think and talk about DUI cases parallels the way we think and talk about losing weight. The idea of fat loss is really quite simple; you knock off some pounds. For all the gimmicks and gizmos on which people waste their time and money, it all comes down to burning more calories than you consume, which means some combination of cutting back on what you eat and ramping up your activity to create a caloric deficit, rather than a caloric surplus.

In the same way, the focus of the court system is to determine if a person was driving (or “operating”) a motor vehicle either with a BAC of .08 or more, or was otherwise “impaired” when he or she did so. All the questions about evidence and legalities are like diet plans and exercise equipment in that they relate to, or, in a way, grow out of the one central issue. In a DUI case, that central issue is whether or not a person drove with a BAC of .08 or above. In the world of weight loss, all the diet plans and ab wheels and other exercise contraptions go to the central issue of taking in less calories than you burn, or, to flip it around, burn more calories than you take in. In the DUI world, there is a danger to getting caught up in everything except the big picture, and it is good and necessary to be reminded to keep your eye on the ball, or else risk getting hit by it. As we’ll see, the real numbers, compiled by the Michigan State Police as part of its legally mandated Annual Drunk Driving Audit of every case in every court in the state tell a story very different than you’ll get from all the slick legal marketing, which probably explains why it is never mentioned.
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As a Michigan criminal, driver’s license restoration and DUI lawyer, the whole concept of addiction is pervasive in my work. Each and every day, I deal with people across the substance abuse spectrum, including those who have alcohol and or drug problems and don’t know it, some who won’t admit it yet, but may be in the midst of struggling and/or coming to grips with their problem, and others who are in recovery. In addition, I deal with plenty of people who do not have any kind of problem, no matter how things may look in the context of any particular circumstance or case. Not very long ago, I wrote an article about how the whole court system has a pretty strong bias in DUI cases that tends assume that everyone charged with a drunk driving has a drinking problem, or at least a significantly increased risk of having one. In a very real way, this is a little more than an extension of this whole new focus on “addiction.” Addiction has become the new buzzword in criminal and DUI cases, and one of the newest marketing focuses just about everywhere. I have seen a growing number of ads on TV offering to help people break the cycle of alcohol and/or drugs. On this subject, I can speak with some real authority because I have an extensive, post-graduate University education in the field of addiction studies. Thankfully, my studies in this field predates its recent popularization.

Thumbnail image for 606e84581ee0736db8b3783711efd385.jpgThis matriculation enables me to understand substance abuse problems from the clinical side of things as well as the legal. To me, it’s kind of like having both sides of a Q-tip. It goes without saying that, for example, in a DUI or drug possession case, any lawyer smart enough to boil water wants to avoid having her client seen as having an alcohol or drug problem in order avoid as many negative consequences as possible. On the flip side, it doesn’t take a legal scholar to understand the value of shielding the client in the cloak of having a “disease” or problem when doing that will make things better in ways like avoiding jail. To put this another way, in situations like a 1st offense DUI, the goal is to avoid having the client look like he or she has any kind of problem (or even potential problem) with alcohol. In that situation, the word “addiction” is bad, because no one wants to be loaded up with otherwise avoidable classes, counseling or treatment. By contrast, in a 3rd offense DUI, the word “addiction” is useful, and will almost certainly be invoked to deflect anger from the fact that a person is a repeat offender. Instead, the idea is to have such a client perceived as more like the victim of a problem who needs (and wants) help, rather than a “criminal.” In the context of a winning Michigan driver’s license restoration case, it is essential that the person be able to prove genuine sobriety. Accordingly, anyone who wants to win back his or her driver’s license must begin the process with a solid understanding of his or her addiction, as well as recovery from it.

It doesn’t take any real degree finesse for a lawyer to take a 2nd DUI offender, for example, and tell him or her to get into counseling, and then just show up in court and try and play the “recovery” card. Unfortunately, the word “addiction” has been thrown around so much recently that it has practically lost any subtlety it used to have. The same thing happened over the years with the use of precious metal terms. At one time, having any kind of “gold” credit card (or membership or other privileges) was the best you could do. Then, gold wasn’t good enough, and we were introduced to platinum. Not long after that, when gold was forgotten and platinum has lost its luster, things went to titanium. Now, the world is focusing on addiction, and it seems like the word is being used in endless situations. The setting we’re concerned about in this article is how we can use “addiction” (including a lack of it) to make things better for people facing a criminal or DUI charge, as well as the role it plays in a successful driver’s license appeal. Let’s see how this all works in some real world situations:
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As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer who writes about every aspect of driver’s license reinstatement appeals, I have published plenty of articles that separately detail how you can win your license back without going to AA, and, on the flip side, how AA can play a helpful role in a successful appeal. The straightforward reality is that you can win your license back either with, or without AA. When you dig a little deeper, though, it becomes clear that it’s what a person has learned about his or her drinking that matters, and not really where he or she learned it. A lot of people who go through the Michigan Secretary of State’s license appeal process have spent at least a little time in AA, but there are also plenty who have never been to a single meeting in their lives. The key to winning a Michigan license restoration or clearance case has everything to do with a person learning, whether through AA, counseling, education, self-study, or any combination of the above, that his or her relationship to alcohol has moved to a stage where drinking again is never an option.

1.948193themenutoday.jpgThe most important part of my job is to help my client “prove sobriety” within the framework of the license appeal process and its “million little rules.” This is where things can become very frustrating, especially for someone who has genuinely and honestly quit drinking yet still loses his or her driver’s license restoration or clearance case. It’s natural to think, “What more do they want? This isn’t fair!” And while I understand those feelings, if you want to get your license back, you have to accept the way the system works and either present a winning appeal within it, following all those that govern these cases, or fight that system and continue to lose year after year. It would take more space than I have here, and certainly way more time than the reader would likely care to spend, for me to explain how and why the driver’s license restoration process is actually not unfair, but the bottom line is that there are numerous, specific steps you need to follow to win your license back. If you have really quit drinking, then I can get you back on the road because I know exactly what to do and essentially have this down to a science. As I hinted before, the choice is rather simple: Do it the way the Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS, the body that decides these cases) requires, and win your appeal, or do it your way, and lose.

In a sense, winning a license appeal is a lot like building a watch. First, you need all the right parts. Watch parts have to be made very precisely. You can’t just jam “good enough” pieces into the mechanism, or else the movement won’t work. In that way, a license appeal requires real sobriety. There is no “good enough” kind of sobriety. Either you’ve gotten sober and changed your life, or not. Even with all the right parts, however, building a watch requires putting each component in the right place, and in the right order. The same thing holds true in a license restoration appeal. Even if you have real sobriety, not putting your case together exactly as it needs to go will result in a frustrating lack of success. With that said, let’s circle back to the most important element or “part” of a license appeal case, sobriety…
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One of the most common questions I am asked in my role as a Michigan DUI lawyer (especially one who also concentrates in driver’s license restoration cases after multiple DUI’s) is “What will happen to my driver’s license?” This is usually followed by some explanation about how the person needs to drive to get to work (or school, or both, or to take the kids to school, etc.). It goes without saying that everyone needs their driver’s license, but it also goes without saying that when you are caught up in a Michigan DUI, something will absolutely happen to it. In this article, I want to look at the very real world situation where a person is facing his or her 1st DUI offense, including a High BAC charge. In an upcoming installment, we’ll look at the very different situation and results that take place when a person is facing his or her 2nd DUI charge within 7 years, or 3rd within 10 years. For now, however, we’ll limit our examination to 1st offense charges.

MSPP 1.2.jpgObviously, if you’ve never been convicted of OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) before and you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, you can only face a 1st offense charge. Given that I sometimes handle more than 12 drinking and driving cases in a single week, I see just about every situation you can imagine, and one of them that isn’t as uncommon as you’d think involves a person with a prior DUI conviction that occurred more than 7 years ago who winds up facing yet another. In many of these cases, the person will conclude that because he or she had a prior conviction, this new one is automatically a 2nd offense. This is where legal technicalities matter: In Michigan, a “2nd offense” means that a person was convicted of (meaning pled guilty to or found guilty of) a prior OWI offense within 7 years of the date of the arrest for the current charge. The implication here is that your second offense may not actually be a “2nd offense.”

Here’s the good news: If you don’t have a prior DUI conviction within 7 years (and don’t have 2 within the preceding 10 years), you will NOT lose your driver’s license. You may have to deal with a short suspension, and you will certainly have to drive with some restrictions for a while, but your license will not be “yanked” (revoked) by the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS). And this is perhaps the most important point of all: The driver’s license sanctions for each and every drinking and driving offense are set by law, imposed by the SOS, and cannot be modified in any way, or for any reason. The court has nothing to do with what happens to your license, nor can any Judge make a restriction or suspension shorter or longer. The license penalties are set in stone, and no matter what your circumstances, you will receive the exact license sanction for the specific DUI conviction you wind up getting. This means, however, that in many, if not most cases, the charge first made against you after your arrest is more serious than what can and will ultimately be worked out by a Michigan DUI lawyer, like me. Thus, it does little good to run and look up the penalties for your initial charge when I can usually get that charge reduced to something less serious and that carries less of a penalty to your license. Let’s see what this means in the real world of 1st offense DUI cases:
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In a recent article, I looked at how the court system has an inherent bias regarding alcohol in criminal and DUI cases. The examination in that piece was, of course, from my perspective as a Michigan DUI lawyer. A few weeks ago, I received a nice, descriptive email from a past client in which he detailed his experience of having gone through the DUI process. What a gift! Of course, I was glad to hear from my client (he is a really nice guy, and when you read his email, you’ll quickly get a sense of that), but I was even more thrilled at the unexpected gift of a long email that I could use to show what it’s like to go through the DUI probation process from the client’s perspective, especially in light of how my client related it directly to my recent article about “The Alcohol Bias,” where I looked at how the court system is naturally inclined to suspect a drinking problem in just about every OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) case that goes through it. The set up here is important: My client had provided a High BAC breath test result in a drunk driving case that took place in THE undisputed toughest court in the Detroit area, located, of course, in Oakland County.

Thumbnail image for Insiderer 1.2.jpgAs you’ll see from the email itself, my client didn’t feel like he had been treated too harshly, or in any way treated unfairly. Instead, he felt the full weight of the court system’s built-in tendency to “over-diagnose” the existence and/or extent of a person’s alcohol problem. The term “over diagnosis” is not some crafty phrase I came up with as a DUI lawyer, but rather something I formally learned about doing post-graduate work in addiction studies. This is a very real concept, well understood in the clinical community, yet virtually unknown in that judicial system that suffers from it. It is relevant here because the facts of this client’s case were somewhat unique, and he was very much at risk to be ordered into an expensive and time consuming IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program), and all kinds of other counseling, education, rehab, testing and treatment. We worked hard and intelligently to minimize that, and, as you’ll see, my client was able to carry away enough from our time together to help himself from being stuck in AA that didn’t “click” with him during his time on probation. AA is great for some people, but certainly not everyone. Unfortunately, the court system is just not in a position to analyze and then act with such clinical precision, so many people find themselves in the cross-hairs of the kind of “over treatment” caused by over diagnosis.

To be clear, I have no dislike for or problem with AA in general, but I believe it is best for those who really need and want it, and will fit well with it. You may go to a particular church and find lots of comfort and inspiration from your Pastor. Good for you. That does not mean, however, that it’s the place for everyone. You may hate my favorite restaurant. Some people thrive in AA, while others hate it; some like it, some tolerate it, and some just don’t connect with it. As the saying goes, “Different strokes for different folks.” The court system, unfortunately, often sees AA as a kind of universal, super-cure-all, even though it is certainly not. If there’s one lesson that seems to go perpetually (and curiously) unlearned, it’s that sending someone to AA who does not belong there, or who is turned off by it, will almost certainly never produce the desired outcome. In other words, if someone is forced into AA who doesn’t like or need AA, then they’re not going to get any help from it. That’s like sending a skinny person to Weight Watchers. Likewise, even if someone needs help, forcing him or her to get it from AA alone is rather short-sighted, given that modern research has and continues to validate an ever-widening panorama of helpful treatment options, including things like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), brief interventions, individual counseling, group therapy and other support groups besides AA (Smart Recovery, Women for Sobriety, ect.). With that as our background, let’s move on to my client’s email (reprinted exactly as written, including typos, with the exception of the removal of his Probation Officer’s name), and get his take on all this:
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As a Michigan DUI lawyer, I am very conscious of the fear someone experiences as he or she deals with a DUI charge. I was reminded of how profound those feelings can be a few days before this article was written during a phone conversation with a potential new client. At least in the local courts of the Detroit area, meaning Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, I pretty well know how a case is going to play out (meaning a case that is not likely to be thrown out of court due to faulty evidence) based upon the answers I get to a few questions. I know, but the person doesn’t. He or she can often feel awash in a sea of unknowns. As in the call yesterday, where it was the person’s 1st drinking and driving charge, I know all things that aren’t going to happen, but the person on the other end of the phone does not, and is understandably afraid. It therefore becomes important for me to help someone understand that most of the things freaking them out are not going to happen. This allows us shift the focus to those things that really are “on the menu,” so that we can direct our efforts to dealing with what’s likely to happen, rather than wasting time on those things that, however scary, will not.

Fear BlackSign.jpgAs I told the caller yesterday, I am put off by anything with even the faintest hint of making money off of another person’s fear. I don’t want that trick played on me, and I certainly wouldn’t do that to anyone else. In this very sense, many DUI lawyers and drug companies take the opposite approach to marketing. Whenever you see an ad for some drug on TV you’ll hear the disclaimer at the end, usually read at about 100 mile an hour, where you’re warned “Side effects are rare, but include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and, in rare cases, heart failure and death. Tell your doctor if you take nitrates for chest pain, or are pregnant.” By contrast, fear-based legal marketing often first points to the worst possible penalty an offense carries, along with a laundry list of every bad thing that can happen. Thus, you’ll learn that a 1st offense OWI (operating while intoxicated) charge technically carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail along with various other consequences. You won’t hear that although the charge “technically” carries a maximum penalty of up to 93 days in jail, and almost without exception, no one is at the slightest risk to do even a single day in jail, much less anywhere near all 93. Instead, the predatory marketers will offer to help you “avoid jail” and “save your freedom,” or your life or job or whatever. The ugly truth is that It is not nearly as profitable to tell people that they don’t need to be afraid of all kinds punishment as it is to promise them that you can protect them from it.

And so I’m beginning this article in my living room the day before Thanksgiving because this incredibly burdensome thing I have, called a conscience, nags at me to do the right thing and dispel unfounded fears about a DUI rather than cash in on them. Even so, I still do rather well for myself because there are enough cerebral people in this world who will go the extra step and look a little deeper. These are the people I’d prefer as clients anyway. The point, however, is that in a DUI case, things probably aren’t nearly as bad as you fear. That’s not to say a drunk driving charge is a good thing, but rather that intense fears about getting thrown in jail and losing your job, while very real when you have them, are also very much exaggerated and misplaced. Let’s unravel this a bit…
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In part 1 of this article, we began our backwards look at the Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance process, starting from the moment you actually win your license to the point where I correct and edit the letters of support. As I noted, the letters of support and the substance abuse evaluation, which we’ll pick up with in this installment, need to be cross-checked with each other, and with all the other evidence in your case in order to make sure everything is cohesive and consistent.

Time blur.jpgThe substance abuse evaluation is, without a doubt, the real foundation of a Michigan license appeal. There are loads of things that need to be managed in order to get this part right. To start, I can HONESTLY count on 1 hand the number of evaluations I have seen in my 25-plus years, done by evaluators other than the few I use, that are good enough to win a license reinstatement case. The overwhelming majority of evaluations I have seen that were done outside of my circle of evaluators are sure losers. This has nothing to do with how good a substance abuse counselor the person may be, but rather how much direct experience AND specific instruction he or she has had in completing this form so that it provides the hearing officer with the information he or she has been trained to consider. That kind of information is not obvious from just looking at the form, despite the fact that almost every substance abuse counselor would probably think so.

A good substance abuse evaluation, in terms of your license appeal, will have 2 defining characteristics: First, it will be clinically accurate and sound, and second, it will be favorable to your case. These 2 things are quite independent of each other, but both are needed if you are to have any chance to win your license back. An evaluation can be as clinically accurate and sound as can be, but may be unfavorable to you. By contrast, the state has seen countless favorable evaluations that were based on fiction, rather than fact. The idea that you can somehow “buy” a favorable evaluation is a misconception; the hearing officers can see right through that, and that’s one of the first things they look at. One of my favorite examples of this is when an evaluation gives a person an “excellent” prognosis. If someone has been sober for 24 years, has outlived his or her first AA sponsor, has 2 or 3 sponsees, is the longtime treasurer for his or her home group and runs its annual 4th step retreat, he or she probably has an “excellent” prognosis for continued abstinence from alcohol. When someone has 3 or 4 years, however, the state will be reticent to agree that his or her long-term prognosis is “excellent,” based upon the real life cases it sees, and will feel most comfortable with a prognosis of “good.” The irony here is that “good” is always good enough; “excellent” creates more trouble than it’s worth. This is a lesson that’s only learned through hard-won experience…
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In my role as a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I have written hundreds of articles with detailed information about the license appeal process. Presumably, that’s why you’re here. I want to make this article interesting, and the idea recently occurred to me to look at the steps of a license restoration case in reverse, from last to first, rather that sequentially, from first to last. After all it’s the end result of a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal that you’re interested in, right? In my practice, I guarantee that when I take a license clearance or restoration case, I will win it, so I figured, why not look back from the moment you slip that valid license back into your wallet to the time, like now, when you wonder if and how you can you win it back, and what’s all involved? We’ll break this article into 2 parts in order to keep each manageable.

Thumbnail image for Clocker 1.2.jpgYou find out you’ve won your license appeal when you get a letter from the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) indicating that the hearing officer assigned to your case from the Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) has granted your appeal. Congratulations, you’ve won your license back! In addition to formal order granting your appeal, if you’re a Michigan resident, you will receive information about the restrictions that apply your new license and instructions about what you need to do to get the ignition interlock unit installed. You’ll be given a list of companies for this (I include a discount coupon in the folder I give a client at our first meeting for Nationwide Interlock, one of my favorite providers), and informed that you must go and have the unit installed on whatever vehicle you’ll be driving (it does NOT have to be registered to you) and bring proof of that installation back to an SOS branch office in order for your license to be issued. Those who no longer live in Michigan will receive a “clearance” allowing them to go to the DMV in their home state and finally get (or, in some cases, renew) that license.

The notice that you won your appeal usually arrives within 2 to 4 weeks after your actual appeal hearing. I am a strong believer in holding a live (as opposed to a video) hearing. There are 3 AHS hearing locations in Michigan (Livonia, Lansing and Grand Rapids) where live hearings are conducted. Video hearings can be scheduled at most SOS branch offices, but I will only present my cases live, and in person. No matter the convenience, I will not allow any of my cases to be presented over a grainy, poor sounding webcam-like feed. Because my office is here in the Detroit area (Mt. Clemens), all of my cases are scheduled locally, at the Livonia (Metropolitan Detroit) branch. Hearings are scheduled on the hour (9,10 and 11 am, and 1, 2, 3 and sometimes 4 pm) and always conclude well within that hour, meaning that the hearing starts promptly at the scheduled time.
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