In our roles as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we handle a lot of ignition interlock violation cases. We regularly save people from having their licenses permanently revoked. Many interlock violations seem unnecessary, and indeed, some really are unfair. However, there are also others that arise because a person does, in fact, test positive after having consumed beverage alcohol. In other words, they get caught drinking. Those situations are, by far, the worst. In this article, we’ll explore how to best handle an interlock violation.

Follow the rules to avoid and know what to do if you get an ignition interlock violation.First, it’s important to understand that when our firm is hired to get someone out of an ignition interlock violation, we have to do a lot more than just show how or why it’s wrong. In fact, that’s often the easiest part of handling a violation case. A notice of ignition interlock violation provides, among other things, the date when the person’s license will be revoked again. Before a hearing date arrives, the person’s license will already be gone. The point of a violation hearing is about getting it back, but the whole process involves a lot more than just that.

Rather than grumble about how much this whole situation sucks, we’re going to focus on fixing it. To be sure, the Secretary of State’s entire interlock system could be revamped so that simple interlock mistakes could be more easily rectified. As we acknowledged in the opening paragraph, having to go through this can be unfair. However, and as the old saying goes, “it is what it is.” All the complaining in the world isn’t going to overturn a pending ignition interlock violation. Instead, we have to do what’s necessary to win.

Most people who pick up a 1st offense DUI do NOT have a drinking problem. That’s a simple fact. However, getting arrested for drunk driving can be a wake-up call for some individuals, and an opportunity for them to revaluate their relationship to alcohol. Plenty of people ask us about getting into counseling or therapy just to “look good,” for their DUI case. That misses the point entirely. In this article, we’re going to try and sort out when a DUI is just an episode of poor judgment versus when it may be a symptom of some kind of troubled relationship with alcohol.

A 1st offense DUI should have you examining your drinking behaviorFor all the clinical considerations involved in figuring out whether one has a drinking problem or not, many people have a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right. To be sure, there are those who are able to block out or mentally over-talk that little voice inside their head that says “something ain’t right here.” That kind of reasoning against the facts is called “denial,” and some people squander years, and even entire lifetimes, trying to convince themselves that things are okay when, in fact, they’re really not.

It’s actually rather common for those around someone whose drinking has become troublesome to recognize a problem long before the person him or herself does (if he or she ever does). On the flip side, it is unusual for outsiders to “see” a problem that’s not there. In other words, if the people around someone think his or her drinking has grown problematic, it’s quite likely that they’re right. This is especially true for anyone who is currently facing or who has previously had a 1st offense DUI. There’s a good reason for that, and it’s really important in the context of DUI cases.

This blog is full of articles examining every aspect of the Michigan license appeal process. It is difficult enough to boil down a discussion of any one part of driver’s license restoration cases into a single article. In this article, we’re going to be even more ambitious, and try to do a short but complete overview of the entire Michigan license appeal process in one shot. In other words, we’re going to skip the detailed analysis and take a step back and look at the whole, big picture.

A lawyer explains the Michigan license appeal processOf course, a person must first be eligible to file a license restoration or clearance appeal case. To be clear, we’re talking about people who’ve been revoked for 2 or more DUI’s and/or drugged driving convictions. As a starting point, it is important to understand that these revocations are for life. This means that no matter how long a person waits, his or her driving privileges will stay revoked until he or she files – and wins – a formal driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal.

Technically, a person who racks up 2 DUI’s in 7 years can file a license appeal after 1 year. In practice, however, anyone with 2 DUI convictions in 7 years is going to have to wait much closer to 3 or more years to have any realistic chance of winning his or her case. Someone who racks up 3 DUI’s within 10 years must wait until 5 years have passed before he or she can file. Thus, if Dave the drinker gets a DUI in 2007, another in 2009, another in 2010, and then another in 2018, his “3 within 10” will make him ineligible to file until sometime in 2023.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I answer a lot of questions. Not surprisingly, many of them are the same: Am I going to jail? Will I lose my license? Will my work find out? These are typically the most pressing concerns people have right after a DUI arrest. However, there is a lot more to a DUI than the “big” worries people have early on. In fact, some of the most important aspects of a DUI case are things that will seldom cross someone’s mind. Those things make up the rest of the story, and that’s what we’ll focus on in this piece.

The big picture of a DUI arrest involves more than just staying out of jail.It is assumed that a good doctor or dentist will alway look out for his or her patient’s long-term interests, even if the patient doesn’t know what those are. A good lawyer will do the same, as well. The key difference, however, is that lawyers will always be asked the “big issue” questions like those mentioned above. Once those have been satisfactorily answered, most people will be content, even if they’re not entirely happy with what they hear. A lazy lawyer can, of course, just leave it there, but that’s entirely unfair to his or her client.

There’s always a story behind every DUI arrest. This is true whether a person was over-served at a bar, overdid it at a ballgame, or concert, or just consumed one too many somewhere else and then got behind the wheel. Thus, when someone calls us all freaked out about jail, and we tell him or her that’s not going to happen, many are happy enough, having heard what they want. The story, however, doesn’t end with that, or even when the court case concludes, either. In fact, it only ends when ALL the consequences of a DUI no longer matter, whenever that may be.

A lot of our clients hire us after having first tried – and then lost – a “do-it-yourself” driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal case. When they call our office, they’re biggest concern is when they can get started on a new appeal. They already know, from experience, how complicated the Michigan license appeal process can be. In many cases it’s actually easier for us to deal with people after they’ve tried and lost, rather than attempting to dissuade them beforehand by warning of all the risks of a DIY license appeal.

The DIY Michigan license appeal case is a disaster in the makingIn truth, this is a key reason why we never discourage anyone from handling their own case. Over the last 30-plus years, we’ve represented thousands of clients who’ve had to find out the hard way about some of the obscure aspect or other of the Michigan license appeal process that even most lawyers don’t know. For as many “do-it-yourself” clients as we get, plenty also come to us after having hired some lawyer whose practice, unlike ours, is NOT specifically focused on license restoration cases, and then losing.

There are certain things that anyone who undertakes a Michigan license appeal should both understand and be able to explain without so much as a second thought. If not, then he or she is pretty much running head-first into a loss. Let’s start with something that’s obvious: Most people are seriously inconvenienced if they’re unable to drive. As one hearing officer says, “everybody needs a license.” As we’ll see, however, needing a license has absolutely nothing to do with being able to win it back after it has been revoked for multiple DUI convictions.

Everyone knows that a 3rd offense DUI charge (the proper term in Michigan is “Operating While Intoxicated,” or “OWI,” for short) is serious. Most people are also aware that a 3rd offense is a felony, and that the possible penalties are significantly higher than those for a 2nd offense DUI. This article will NOT be some scare tactic, fear-based marketing piece about all that. Instead, we’re going to look at how and why, despite what’s at stake, a 3rd offense DUI charge shouldn’t be handled any differently than either a 1st or 2nd offense DUI case.

The fundamentals are key to success in a 3rd offense DUI chargeFor everything we’re going to cover, the simple fact is that the very best legal defense almost always comes down to the fundamentals. The very finest practitioners of anything must first excel in the fundamentals. Consider any professional athlete: He or she runs, catches, throws or does whatever with practiced skill, and otherwise excels in all the basics, meaning the fundamentals, of his or her sport. In that same way, the finest musicians get to the top of their craft by years and years of repetition of the basic, fundamental stuff.

Every DUI case, whether a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense, is based upon the simple, fundamental charge that someone operated a motor vehicle with a bodily alcohol content of more than allowed by law. Think about automobiles for a moment: Whether an old “Model T,” a modern SUV, or even a jet-powered vehicle used to set land speed records, the fundamental thing they all have in common is some kind of power source (engine) that pushes them forward on wheels.

The ONLY thing that matters in Michigan license appeal cases is winning. There is no second-place prize, or participation award for trying hard. The simple fact is that you either get your license back, or not. All the effort in the world is a complete waste unless it results in a winning license appeal. Given the importance of what’s at stake, you need a lawyer who knows how to win. Our firm guarantees that, if we take your case, you WILL win. Let’s examine how we do that, and why anything less simply isn’t good enough.

Winning is all that matters in Michigan License Appeal CasesIn the first, place, we are not a law firm that merely “does” driver’s license restoration cases. My team and I specifically concentrate our practice in them. Each year, we handle about 200 driver’s license restoration related matters. More than 99% of all lawyers will never even see a fraction of that many license appeal cases in a whole career. Our experience is unrivaled in this field. The real basis of our success, though, is that our firm won’t take a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal case unless we know we can make it into a winner.

Of course, we’re in business to earn a living. Even so, we won’t take anyone’s money if we’re not confident enough to be able to guarantee that we will win his or her case. That’s huge. We get multiple inquiries every day from people who are willing to hire us. The reality, however, is that some of them aren’t qualified to win for one reason or another. Because we’re honest, and also because we have a guarantee on the line, we have to say no to those cases. That’s how things should work.

An effective and intelligent legal strategy is required to properly handle a Michigan DUI charge. The reader will likely come across terms like “aggressive,” “fight” and “tough” as he or she looks around online. None of those qualities are worth anything unless they’re part of a smart plan. Often enough, the evidence in a DUI case is solid, leaving little to actually fight, and that’s when strategy becomes even more important. If a case can’t be dismissed outright, then we must do what’s necessary to avoid as many of the legal penalties and negative consequences as possible.

A good result in a DUI case is a matter of strategyTo be viable, a plan must make allowances for all reasonable possible outcomes. In addition, it should take into account the “where” factor, meaning the location of the case. As I have often pointed out, controlling time (as in slowing things down) can be an important component of handling a DUI charge. However, if the case is assigned to a “rocket-docket” Judge who wants everything done yesterday, then there needs to be an alternative approach. It’s a losing strategy to rely on a tactic that’s guaranteed to fail.

Thus, a DUI plan must make allowances for the facts of the case, and everything relevant to it, like its location, the person’s prior record, if any, and his or her current life situation. This is not a bunch of meaningless marketing talk, either. For most people, a DUI simply reflects a single instance of over-indulgence and bad judgment. For others, however, it may come as a wake-up call that his or her drinking had become troublesome. Each person will have to decide that for him or herself.

Anyone looking for a driver’s license restoration lawyer to handle a Michigan license appeal case needs to be careful. Over the last several years, there has been a flood of lawyers looking to get a piece of this market. Some are crafty, using every possible combination of words like “Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer” as part of their website names. Many are newcomers, though, and make up a segment that I call “McLicense” operations. To be sure, there are a few genuinely good license restoration law firms out there. In this piece, though, we’re going to focus on the danger of hiring a “McLicense lawyer.”

Driver's license restoration lawyers - Beware of the "McLicense" attorneysThe inspiration for this piece came from a very recent case in our office. We had been hired by a person charged with driving on a revoked license. The client’s license had been revoked as a consequence of 2 DUI convictions within 7 years. This individual was eligible, time-wise, to file a driver’s license restoration appeal case. However, under Michigan law, if a person whose license is in “revoked” status is convicted of ANY kind of moving violation, he or she will be revoked all over again. That’s exactly what this person was facing. This is called a “mandatory additional” revocation.  Let me explain why this was so important…

In Michigan, anyone convicted of either 2 DUI’s within 7 years, or 3 within 10 years will have his or her driving privileges revoked for life. That means he or she can NEVER get a license unless and until they file – and win – a formal driver’s license appeal before the Secretary of State. A person convicted of 2 DUI’s within 7 years cannot file any kind of license appeal for at least 1 year from the date of his or her revocation. If someone is convicted of 3 DUI’s within 10 years, then he or she must wait at least 5 years to file a license appeal case.

If you’re facing a DUI in Michigan, you want the finest legal representation you can get. Many people think that the biggest obstacle that lies between them and the best DUI lawyers is only financial. It’s true you’ll never get top-shelf legal help for bargain basement prices. However, way too many lawyers charge high fees for nothing more than average services. Paying a lot is no guarantee of anything more than being out a lot of money. Ultimately, what a person needs is the best lawyer for his or her case, and how to go about finding that is what we’ll explore in this article.

The best DUI lawyers will provide you with helpful informationThis will NOT be some thinly disguised “hire us” promotional piece. Instead, we’re going to look at some general principles that apply across the board – and across the state of Michigan. I point that out because our firm concentrates its DUI practice in the Metro-Detroit area, meaning the courts of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and the surrounding counties. Although we’re in business to earn a living, we also realize that part of being the “best” lawyer for someone is to be the best fit for his or her needs, and location is an important part of that.

As a starting point, nobody should ever hire a lawyer or law firm that is arrogant or otherwise with whom it’s difficult to communicate. There has to be a certain kind “connection,” and this a means a lot more than just being told what one wants to hear. The world is full of poor saps who were suckered out of their money by being sold a bill of goods. It’s always easy to deliver encouragement and make things sound promising – and even better if you get paid to do that. The best DUI lawyers, however, explain things honestly, even if what they have to say is not all good news.

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