Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert: Our office is OPEN, and will remain open, to the extent possible, during this crisis. We have long handled consultations and retainers by telephone. We are managing all new and pending criminal and DUI cases under current and evolving court practices.

Driver’s License Restoration and Clearance cases are well-suited to start over the phone, and the “down time” many people have now is a good opportunity to begin this process.

Our consultations have ALWAYS been free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call. We are very friendly people who will be glad to explain things and answer your questions, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST).

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we carefully screen potential clients to make sure that we can win their cases while also ensuring that the information we present is both accurate and honest. Even though my team and I handle over 200 license appeal matters each year (more than any firm I know), we are still just one spoke in a much larger wheel. The Michigan Secretary of State Hearing officers who decide these cases easily handle over more than 7 times as many cases than we do, and in that capacity, they have quite literally “heard it all” many times over.

HO2-275x300Unfortunately, a lot of what is presented in license restoration or clearance appeal hearings is misguided at best, and, at worst, outright BS. Thankfully, our firm does so such thing, but lawyers who don’t concentrate in these cases and people trying to do this on their own don’t really know the driver’s license rules, and are therefore often take what amounts to a “shot in the dark.” Ultimately, driver’ license appeal cases are decided based upon the the law and the evidence presented. This means a person who might otherwise be qualified to win can lose his or her case if the evidence they present doesn’t meet the legally required burden of proof.

That’s a cold reality, but it’s also what a lot of people find out the hard way after having tried some “do-it-yourself” appeal, or otherwise having hired some lawyer whose practice doesn’t specifically focus upon driver’s license restoration cases. Regrettably, the license appeal process gets clogged up with people who simply don’t understand (or don’t care) that genuine sobriety is THE foundational requirement to win. This is the kind of stuff that the hearing officers have to slog through each and every day.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I answer a lot of questions how to get out of a DUI charge. It’s perfectly normal that just about every person arrested for drunk driving hopes there’s some way to get the whole matter dismissed. Indeed, would be abnormal to NOT think that way. I have addressed the notion of getting out of a DUI on both my site, and within other articles on this blog. In this piece, however, I want to shift the focus from getting out of a DUI to getting through it.

Panic2-300x287The hard, statistical truth is that in Michigan, more than 9 out of 10 people arrested for drunk driving are NOT going to have their cases thrown out of court, or otherwise dismissed. Therefore, since more than 90% of all the people who do get arrested for a DUI will have to go through the court system, it only makes sense to focus on how to do that in such a way as to wind up with the least amount of negative consequences and penalties possible. I often say this, but it’s an absolute truth that is worth repeating: Success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you.

This is important, because “success” goes well beyond merely staying out of jail. Avoiding jail is always the first priority in every DUI case, but not getting locked up is only the beginning. With very few exceptions, anyone facing a 1st offense DUI isn’t really looking at jail in the first place, so not being subjected to something that wasn’t going to happen anyway isn’t any kind of “success.” Instead, a person needs to avoid all the other things that can (and will be) be thrown at him or her instead of incarceration.

As a Michigan driver’s license restoration law firm that guarantees to win every restoration and clearance appeal case we take, my team and I have to ask each and every potential client some tough questions as part of our initial screening. Because the key goal of every license appeal is proving that a person has given up alcohol (and drugs) for good, we must ask any potential client some very direct questions about his or her relationship to alcohol, and specifically, when he or she last consumed any.

Q2-300x261Make no mistake, our firm is in business to make money. We get no pleasure from turning away people who are ready to pay our fees. However, our guarantee means that when we take on a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, we are obligated to stick with it until our client wins, and the last thing we want to do is hitch ourselves to some case that cannot succeed. If we did that, then we’d wind up eating a loss and getting stuck having to do the whole case all over again the following year, all for free.

The simple truth is that we earn our livings winning these cases the first time around. Although we seldom lose a restoration or clearance appeal, on the very few occasions that we haven’t won the first time, we have never hesitated to honor our guarantee. Nevertheless, our whole screening process is designed to make sure we don’t wind up taking on a case that cannot or is otherwise not yet ready to win. This helps prevent us from having to do everything a second time, at our expense, as “warranty work.”

As a law firm that concentrates in Michigan driver’s license restoration and DUI cases, my team and I have a rather unique skill set that give us a better understanding of how an OWI charge (and especially in 2nd and 3rd offense DUI’s) can and/or will affect a person’s driver’s license. Indeed, precisely because of our knowledge and daily experience with driver’s license law, we are often specially able a develop an effective strategy to help “save” the license for a client who might otherwise lose it in a DUI case.

vectorstock_21799652-300x300Of course, this really works both ways: our experience as DUI lawyers is also very helpful to us in our handling of driver’s license restoration cases, as well. I have always described our practice as looking like a Q-tip – with DUI cases on one side, driver’s license restoration cases on the other, and the “stick” in the middle joining them together being alcohol. While some of the specific laws governing DUI cases and driver’s license restoration appeals are distinct, the 2 legal areas are also very much inter-related, and experience with each one  provides a distinct advantage when dealing with the other.

To be sure, there is a lot that goes into properly handling a DUI case. Some of these things are more obvious, like knowing how to properly analyze and challenge evidence, utilizing the right legal strategy to produce the best case outcome, and understanding the development, diagnosis and treatment of alcohol problems. Less obvious is how a working knowledge of driver’s license restoration law should be part of the legal strategy in any DUI case, and how this can all come full circle, so that what’s done (and not done) in the matter can be helpful to person’s driver’s license situation.

One thing that defines our practice, as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, is the way we manage every facet of the license appeal process that we handle. We do this as a quality control measure, because we guarantee to win every restoration and clearance case we take. The fact is that our firm makes its money winning our cases the first time around, not having to come back and do everything all over again, for free, as warranty work. The key to our success is rather simple: We make sure everything is done right before an appeal is ever filed.

Carrie-300x294This is particularly true with regards to the substance use evaluation (SUE), which, in many ways, is really the foundation of a license appeal. A problem with the evaluation can completely derail what would have otherwise been a winning case. Often overlooked is the fact that an evaluation is really only as good as the evaluator who completes it. This is why we send all of our clients OUR evaluator. No matter what, anyone who hires us is going to have his or her SUE completed by that evaluator, so we know that everything will be done properly, and to our standards.

Our office works extensively with one primary evaluator. Within the 7 days preceding the writing of this article, we exchanged 24 separate emails with her, many with multiple replies back and forth. In that same week, we’ve also had countless phone conversations with her, including one she and I had well after 10 p.m., while I was out for a late-night dinner run. It’s these regular exchanges that helps my team and I learn about relevant clinical issues, and our evaluator to keep up with the ever-changing legal requirements involved in license appeals.

As Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, we spend the majority of our working lives handling OWI and license reinstatement cases for people. As attorneys, it’s our job to wrestle with the nuances of the law, and deal with the countless technical things that can make or break a case. Most often, that means helping a client fix some kind of mistake or mistakes they’ve made on this journey called life. The point of this article is to help someone get through that kind of rough patch and not make things worse, or otherwise more complicated than they need to be.

vectorstock_28536718-copy-300x226This can sometimes be a problem when it comes to the intrinsically connected areas of Michigan DUI law and driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, because both involve situations where people are emotionally invested. Every person arrested for a DUI is understandably concerned about what will happen to him or her, and everyone who has lost their license for multiple DUI’s really wants to get it back as soon as possible, because it’s hard to get along without one.

The internet is full of misleading and outright wrong information about the law, and that can stress a person out as he or she tries to sort through it. Despite that, and human nature being what it is, some people can’t resist plowing through website after website, and getting themselves more confused than when they started. Others read just enough to wind up thinking they they’ve actually learned something, when, in fact, all they’ve done is become misinformed, thereby proving the old adage that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we earn our livings by getting people back on the road. However, winning a license appeal is all about proving certain, specific things, and no amount of money can overcome those requirements. One of the more unfortunate things we encounter, as we explain the license restoration process to people, is that some think the only thing that stands between them and driving again is just paying legal fees. In this article, I want to make clear that a person really has to earn – and cannot simply buy – his or her license back.

Money2-300x271Plenty of people feel a sense of frustration when they find out that, in order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, they not only have to be sober, but they also have to prove it, as well (more on that later). Many of them find our site, or this blog, see the more than 600 driver’s license restoration articles I have published so far, and think, “this is the firm I need!” While that’s flattering, the fact is that a person has to meet certain criteria in order to win a formal driver’s license restoration appeal, and no amount of money can get him or her past that.

For example, it’s often the case that, before a person can adopt a dog from an animal shelter, he or she has to demonstrate the ability to care for it. In other words, a person can’t just run in with a wallet full of money and “buy” a dog. Instead, he or she must meet certain eligibility requirements. The same holds true for anyone who has had his or her driver’s license revoked after multiple DUI’s. The state has determined such people to be a risk when it comes to alcohol and driving, and until they can prove that they no longer pose any danger on the road, they can’t win a license appeal.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, we completely understand the stress felt by people who suddenly find themselves facing a drunk driving charge. Nobody plans to get arrested for a DUI, so the whole situation always comes as a rather unpleasant surprise to everyone who does. Unfortunately, one thing my team and I also encounter is that because they feel so overwhelmed, many people will make rash decisions too soon (especially when it comes to hiring a lawyer), rather than taking the time to go about the whole DUI thing the right way.

vectorstock_921557-300x290Of course, some people do try to be “logical” about how to best handle their DUI, and will take the time to do some research before jumping into anything. Others, however, can’t stop fretting over their situation, and act more reflexively. These rash actions can include deciding which lawyer to hire, but may also involve things like a person deciding to enroll in some kind of alcohol counseling, or starting to attend AA. If there’s one key lesson to be taken from this article, it’s that everyone facing a DUI should take their time and think things through before making any important decisions.

It’s natural that some people may feel a need to take action quickly following a DUI arrest, but that still doesn’t make it a good idea. The first thing a person should do after getting home and settling in a bit is to look for real information. To be clear, “real information” does NOT mean websites that focus on the all the scary-sounding risks and potential penalties that are theoretically possible in a DUI case. That’s fear-based marketing, and it should be ignored completely.

In our capacity as Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, we regularly encounter misunderstandings about the difference between a suspended and a revoked driver’s license. As life goes, this difference often doesn’t matter at all to someone – until it suddenly becomes an issue in his or her life. In this article, I want to explain how and why a suspended license is different than one that has been revoked in the most straightforward way possible, without getting lost in the weeds, so to speak.

vectorstock_5040481-300x300The biggest source of confusion about the 2 terms stems from the fact that most people use the term “suspended license” to describe any and every kind of loss of driving privileges. To be sure, most of the time a person can’t drive IS because of a suspended (rather than a revoked) driver’s license, but in the real world, people also use the term “suspended” when what they’re really talking about is a license that has been “revoked.” A revocation is very different from (and somewhat more serious than) a suspended license, and that’s why proper use of the terms can be important, and what we’ll examine below.

This lack of precision regarding what really amounts to the overuse of the term “suspended license” knows almost no limits. For example, even police officers will sometimes write “suspended” on a citation despite the fact that they are actually writing up someone who has been caught driving on a revoked license, and people in the court system will often refer to either a DWLS or DWLR case as a “suspended license” matter. Before the reader wonders if that has any effect on the charge (“can I get out of this because they listed the wrong offense?”), let me be clear: it does not.

In part 1 of this article, we began discussing how to make a 1st offense DUI a true “one and done.” As Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I want to do everything we can to make sure that our clients never wind up in the same situation again. This, of course, is the court system’s goal, as well. As lawyers fulfilling our role as “Attorneys and Counselors at Law,” we have the advantage of more personal interaction with each person. Instead of having limited time with them, like the courts, we can have a heart-to-heart talk with each client to help him or her do a bit of self-analysis.

Arret-2-300x293There’s a lot more to all of this than just talk, though. It’s really easy for a lawyer or law firm to use slogans like “caring” and “personal service,” but in practice, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk (or, in this case, walk the talk). Because the foundation of our practice is DUI and driver’s license restoration cases, our clients’ relationships to alcohol is at the center of everything we do. For example, the goal of a driver’s license restoration case is to win back the license for someone who has lost it because of multiple DUI’s, and that requires proving that he or she is genuinely sober.

Accordingly, our firm is a recovery-oriented practice. We have to be. Although the overwhelming majority of our 1st offense DUI clients do not have a problem with alcohol, we want to make sure they understand how serious things become in a 2nd offense case, and that they never wind up arrested for drunk driving again. This can be challenging, because most of our clients aren’t reckless people, or the kind who otherwise party so much that getting that a 1st offense DUI seemed seemed likely in the first place, rather than something completely out-of-character.

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