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).

In part 1 of this article about the 3 main ways a 1st offense DUI case in the Metro-Detroit area will impact your life, we saw how there will always be some kind of driving restrictions following a conviction, while in part 2, we noted that some kind of probation is almost certain to follow, as well. Here, in this 3rd installment, we’ll turn to final main a 1st offense OWI will affect you: it’s going to cost a lot of money.

XaoaoaoaIt’s probably best to tackle this by first observing that, for everything I could or will say about a DUI and money, “it is what it is,” and that means expensive. Anyone trying to save money on a DUI is pretty much wasting his or her time. About the only expense a person can reduce is how much they spend on a lawyer, but that generally provides diminishing returns. In other words, whether you can afford it or not, this is going to be costly.

About a decade ago, there was a state-sponsored ad campaign in Michigan warning that a DUI would cost about $10,000. Adjusted for inflation, that still pretty much holds true today, as well. To be sure, there are places, even locally, where the fines and court costs for a DUI will be less, and other places where they will be significantly more, but however you cut it, a 1st offense DUI is not cheap.

In part 1 of this article, we began looking at the 3 main ways a 1st offense DUI in Michigan will affect your life. While most people’s greatest fear is going to jail, we noted that’s highly unlikely to happen, but that there are still plenty of other potential legal consequences to avoid or minimize. As I pointed out, unless a case is completely thrown out of court, there are 3 main things that will happen to everyone as the result of a DUI, and we then covered the first of them: driving restrictions.

33-1-300x240Here, in this second part, we’ll look at the 2nd main way a DUI will affect your life: probation. Before we get to that, however, let me be repeat something: everybody wants to have their case dismissed or tossed out of court, and every lawyer should do everything possible to make that happen. However, the simple truth is that most cases DO NOT just “go away” because the police do not routinely make the kind of catastrophic mistakes that cause Judges to routinely dismiss them.

In the real world, a Judge will only exclude evidence or dismiss a DUI case because he or she has to, and that only happens if a lawyer has carefully examined everything and found some significant problem that leaves the Judge no choice. DUI cases that get dismissed are the exception, not the rule. Some lawyers make it sound like the only thing standing between a person and the dismissal of his or her charges is paying the attorney’s retainer, but that’s not how it works.

As Michigan DUI lawyers, we spend a major part of every workday closely involved with people going through drunk driving charges. Over the years, we have been asked every question imaginable, and walked our clients through every step of the DUI process a million times over. Because we handle OWI cases all day, every day, we have, quite literally, seen it all. This article will be about the 3 biggest ways a 1st offense DUI case will impact your life.

9th-November-2-e1576682949314-1-300x244Let me begin by making clear that this is not any kind of scare-tactic piece. The reality is that jail can be avoided in almost every 1st offense DUI case here in the Greater-Detroit area of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and surrounding counties. Moreover, no matter how things may look right now, they aren’t nearly as bad as you probably fear. In truth, a 1st offense DUI can is far more of an expense and inconvenience rather than the end of your world, and this even applies to those who hold some kind of professional license.

The intention behind Michigan’s DUI laws, especially as it relates to 1st offense cases, is not to ruin a person’s life or career, but rather to make a the whole experience so unpleasant that he or she will take the steps necessary to make sure it never happens again. There are numerous potential consequences that go with an OWI charge, but we’re going to focus on the 3 that are all but certain, unless a case gets completely tossed out of court.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we have to correct a lot of misconceptions people have about the license appeal process. In the previous article, we saw how being legally eligible to file a license reinstatement case doesn’t translate to actually being able to win it. In this article, we’ll look at the broader concept of “misinformation,” some of which comes from people in AA. While it is a great recovery program,  some of the things said there are wildly inaccurate, particularly with respect to license appeals.

bababa-300x243Let’s begin with AA in general: some people think that you need to be in AA to win a driver’s license restoration of clearance appeal. That’s 100% dead wrong. You do not need to be in AA to win license appeal case. My team and I guarantee to win every case we take, and most of our clients are NOT in AA. Unfortunately, there are even some lawyers who push this kind of misinformation. Of course, even having gone to a few meetings in the past can be helpful, but it’s rarely necessary.

Recently, we were retained to handle an ignition interlock violation by an existing client for whom we had previously won a restricted license. He is active in AA. As we were gathering information about his violation, he told us that a fellow AA member had told him that when he (the fellow AA member) went for a violation hearing, he was also granted his full license on the spot. This person told our client he should ask for the same. Of course, we had to tell our client that it doesn’t work that way, and then explain why.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, one of the most common misunderstandings we encounter is a person who thinks being legally eligible to file a license appeal is all they need to go ahead and win their license back. This short article will explain why being legally eligible to file a license restoration or clearance appeal is only a starting point, and is not, in and of itself, enough to actually win a license restoration or clearance case.

AAaaa-300x240For all the explanation necessary to clarify this, the fault really lies within the law itself. As written, the Michigan Secretary of State’s rules allow a person to file a license appeal after either a 1 or 5 year revocation. A revocation is either for 1 year, after 2 DUI’s within 7 years, or for 5 years, after 3 DUI’s within 10 years. The rules also require a minimum of 1 year of abstinence from alcohol (and/or drugs), and allow the hearing officer to require an even longer period of “clean time” before issuing a license.

In the real world, NOBODY can win a license appeal with only 1 year of sobriety. In fact, only an exceptional and rare candidate that has any chance of winning a driver’s license reinstatement case with less than 2 years of demonstrable voluntary abstinence from alcohol. This truth is essentially left out of the written rules, and that omission works against anyone who doesn’t know better and plows ahead by filing a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal too soon.

In part 1 of this article, we began looking at the 3 questions anyone should consider as he or she looks for a lawyer for a Michigan criminal, DUI or driver’s license restoration case. After we went over a few preliminary considerations like not getting the “hard sell” from some lawyer’s office, we began examining the first of 3 sub-questions from the larger inquiry, “why should I hire you?” and saw why it’s important to find a lawyer whose practice concentrates in the same field as a person’s case.

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Having covered those things, we can turn to the second sub-question anyone looking for a lawyer should have about an attorney or law firm: How available do make useful information relevant to my specific concerns?

I’ve already mentioned this blog as a resource, and while I am proud of it (and think it’s the best out there by far!), there is lots of other information out there, as well. Find it, and see what other lawyers have written and then put up about your kind of case. Reading articles is about the easiest and most anonymous way to at least get some preliminary information about a situation, but a person must also make sure that the information provided is both accurate and reliable.

Anyone looking to hire a lawyer for a criminal or DUI case, a driver’s license restoration appeal (or really for any kind of case) should always consider the question, “why should I hire you?” Even if a person doesn’t directly ask that of some lawyer or law firm, he or she should have clear and direct answers to it. In this article, I want to go over the 3 most important questions a person should keep in mind as he or she considers which lawyer to hire.

3ThingsThe simple truth is that nobody needs a criminal or DUI lawyer because things are going particularly well. In addition, it can be a bit intimidating to call a lawyer. Personally, I HATE having to call people who are in any “hard sell” profession, like insurance or real-estate agents, or anyone who offers “free information” or a “no obligation” consultation that I know will result in a sales pitch. I fear that once any of these “sharks” get my phone number, they’ll hound me forever. Unfortunately some lawyers can be like that, too.

This reticence to call an attorney is likely the same for people who are looking to win back their driver’s license, as well. The whole idea of calling a law office can be stressful, not only because of the dreaded potential “hard sell,” waiting on the other end of the line, but also because the caller has no idea how nice (or not) the person answering the phone might be. This is why looking around online is so great; you have a chance to get some information without being hounded, intimidated, or pressured.

I have been writing about the ongoing changes in how criminal and DUI cases are being handled, both by the courts and our office, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Things have, quite literally, been evolving on a daily bases. Even though procedures are still in flux, people are definitely getting more comfortable with the use of video in legal matters, both in the office and the courtroom.

companies-working-remotely-background-scaled-1-300x246Although there are trade-offs, the convenience factor of using video really can’t be overstated. This ability for a person to “be” in any court from the comfort of one’s own home seems like a great thing, but there is one huge concern I have about it that is the basis for this article: I have always been a strong advocate for hiring a “local” lawyer for a criminal or DUI charge. Here, in the Metro-Detroit area of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and the surrounding Counties, “local” essentially means the “Greater-Detroit area.”

Up until recently, travel time was the main impediment to a lawyer taking cases all over the place. This is undoubtedly why lawyers pick a spot to open an office, and expect their practice to grow in that general geographic area. A Grand Rapids lawyer will usually stay within his or her general area, as will lawyers from Traverse City, Lansing, and Metro-Detroit. Our firm generally does not go to courts on the west side of the state, or up north. On the flip side, we don’t run into lawyers from Grand Rapids or up north in the courts around here, either.

Because we guarantee to win every first time Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance case we take, my office screens potential clients very thoroughly. We’re “tough” because we need to be. Anyone who thinks we’re being too hard will never survive the Michigan Secretary of State’s analysis of their case. Our first priority is to make sure that any client we take can win his or her license appeal, and our guarantee means that we will only take someone’s money when we are sure of that.

0987-300x240By putting our money where our mouths are, we eliminate the risk of anyone taking a “chance” on hiring us to win back his or her license. The deal is that you pay us once, and we get you back on the road, period. I have pointed out before that, although our guarantee is not the industry standard for license restoration cases, it really should be. To me, the lack of a guarantee makes no sense whatsoever, and is like paying the money to a dentist for the “chance” to have your teeth cleaned.

When it comes to a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, just like going to the dentist’s office to get your teeth cleaned, a person is essentially purchasing a result. Driver’s license restoration cases are different from other legal matters in terms of likely, predictable, and possible outcomes, and if a lawyer isn’t good enough to know how to screen a driver’s license appeal to make sure a potential client is eligible and otherwise meets the necessary requirements to win, then he or she shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money in the first place.

In part 1 of this article, we started looking at the importance of the question, “when is the last time you consumed any alcohol?” within the context of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal. We boiled down the Secretary of State’s position to the simple proposition that, among the people who have had their driver’s license revoked for multiple DUI’s, the only people who can win it back are those who can prove that they’ve given up drinking for good.

2q2-300x231It is an indisputable fact that people who do not drink alcohol pose zero risk to drive drunk. Moreover, the Michigan Secretary of State’s rules require the hearing officer deciding the case to NOT grant the appeal unless the person presents“clear and convincing” evidence that they have been alcohol-free for a sufficient period of time, and that they are a safe bet to never drink again. The person filing the appeal carries the burden of proving these things, not just saying them.

The practical upshot of this is that the hearing officer isn’t sitting there with the scales of justice balanced in the middle, between “yes” and “no,” waiting for someone to submit evidence in order to tip them in his or her favor, toward “yes.” Instead, a person goes into a license appeal with those scales tipped all the way against them, and the burden they have is to pile up enough evidence to not only tip them back to the middle, but then all the way over to their side.

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