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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 Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, I somewhat sarcastically called the growing number of legal websites with names that use some play on the words “driver’s license restoration” as “McLicense” operations. I began explaining that, instead of having some kind of cutesy name, my team and I are busy actually handling more than 200 of these cases each year, and guarantee to win every first time restoration and clearance appeal we take.

okhlkhlkhlklklkjlklkjlkjI then pointed out how my specific, post-graduate clinical training in addiction studies gives me and my team a significant advantage that helps us win our license appeal cases. I noted that ours is the only recovery-oriented practice I know, and that we believe the most important thing we do is to actually help people. I ended part 1 by making clear that, beyond just having a guarantee, I strongly suggest and wholeheartedly recommend that anyone considering hiring a lawyer for a license appeal check around and compare us to as many other attorneys as he or she possibly can.

To anyone who does follow my advice and calls around, I can say this with absolute certainty: You won’t find another office that is as helpful as ours. Ann, our senior legal assistant, who often answers the phone, knows more about addiction and recovery than 99.9% of all the attorneys I have ever met in my life. Anyone checking out lawyers will learn more about license appeals from a call to our office than anywhere else. This is exactly why I strongly suggest and wholeheartedly recommend that any potential client look around and comparison shop.

Although they can seem easy, driver’s license restoration appeals are, in fact, quite complicated. I’m not suggesting that you need to be a genius to do this work, but rather that there is a lot to them, and that overlooking even one small detail can completely derail a case. A person could memorize all of the written laws and every rule concerning license appeals, but he or she wouldn’t really “know” how they work until observing how they’re applied in the real world by Michigan Secretary of State.

8897-98yhpin--300x283Thus, properly handling license appeals goes beyond just details and rules, and requires understanding how they interact with each other, and how each of the Secretary of State hearing officers interprets them. Over 11 years ago, I began this blog. Back then, I was filing and winning a lot of driver’s license restoration cases. Today, I don’t think any other lawyer or law firm comes close to the more than 200 cases we my team and I handle each year. Another thing that sets us apart, of course, is our guarantee to win every first time restoration and clearance case we take.

Over the last several years, I have noticed a lot of websites popping up using slick names that involve some play or variation of the words “Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer” or something similar. I call these operations “McLicense” lawyers because, to the best of my knowledge, there is no practice that focuses nearly as much on license appeals as ours, nor is as recovery-conscious as ours. Because of our guarantee, we carefully screen every potential client to make sure that his or her case can be made into a winner.

In part 1 of this article, we saw that, of the 30,896 regular DUI arrests that took place in Michigan in 2019, only 30 people managed to “beat” their case at trial. That’s a mere 0.097% (zero POINT zero-nine-seven percent). While everyone who gets a DUI understandably wants to get out of it, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of people (more than 9 out of 10) charged with an OWI offense DO NOT. Unfortunately, too much legal marketing ignores this reality, and instead, tries to cash in by telling people what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.

what-you-need-to-know-300x300Here, in part 2, we’re going to continue looking at the real numbers, and the real-world implications of the Annual Drunk Driving Audit conducted by the Michigan State Police (MSP). As I pointed out, this audit is legally required, and takes into account every OWI and substance abuse-related driving arrest that takes place in the state. There is no such thing as a case that isn’t counted. As such, we can absolutely rely on these figures for accuracy, and the story they tell is critically important to anyone facing a DUI and looking to hire a lawyer.

For all the things that could, in theory, be “wrong” with a DUI case, the simple reality is that they don’t occur very often. As the numbers show, a total of 2067 cases out of the 30,896 DUI arrests in 2019 were dismissed based upon “merit.” This means that only 6.69% of people charged with a DUI were able to successfully challenge the evidence and get their charge(s) dismissed. Therefore, a person should hire a lawyer who will try everything to beat the charge, but who also knows how to produce the best outcome in those more than 9 out of 10 cases that do go all the way through the court system.

By law, the Michigan State Police (MSP) must track and record what happens following every DUI arrest in the state pursuant to what is called the “Annual Drunk Driving Audit.” In 2019 there were 30,896 arrests for regular drunk driving (OWI) in Michigan. Out of all of those, only 30 people went to trial and were found “not guilty.” In other words, less than one-tenth of one percent (0.097%) of those arrested were able to beat their case and get acquitted of drunk driving by going through a trial.

This subject is very important for anyone looking to hire a lawyer for a Michigan DUI case, because we’re going to examine the reality of DUI cases, and not fantasy outcomes. Consider this irony: According to the National Institute of Health, 1 out of every 200 people who have knee replacement surgery dies within 90 days. In other words, the odds of dying after a knee replacement are more than 5 times higher than winning a DUI case at trial. Unfortunately, this gets ignored in all of the DUI legal marketing hype found online, but that won’t happen here.

This article will examine the 3rd legal issue present in every Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance appeal case. To win, a person must initially prove 2 things: first, that a his order her alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning that he or she hasn’t had a drink for a legally sufficient period of time, and second, that his or her alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that he or she has both the ability and commitment to remain alcohol-free for good. The 3rd issue, while ever present, is easy to ignore because it usually “flies below the radar.”

Fatty-268x300The first 2 are non-negotiable, preliminary requirements. To begin, if a person has consumed any alcohol, or used any drugs too recently (normally, we want a minimum of 18 months’ clean time before filing a license appeal, but longer is always better), it’s game over. The Michigan Secretary of State’s rules clearly require a person to prove that he or she has been completely abstinent from alcohol (and/or drugs) for that “legally sufficient” period of time. The exact amount of time required varies from case to case, and can  be affected by a lot of things, including the experience and temperament of the hearing officer deciding it.

The second issue essentially “grows,” or extends from the first, and is a continuation of the idea that a person hasn’t had a drink, and affirmatively intends NOT to ever drink again. Lots of people “stop” drinking for various periods of time, but the Secretary of State’s concern is that a person has made the decision to remain alcohol-free for life. Sticking to that requires making sweeping changes that affect every part of a person’s life, from who he or she hangs out with to the kinds of activities in which they engage, and those that get left behind.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, one of the most frustrating things we deal with is the mistaken belief that needing a license has anything to do with actually being able to win it back after having it revoked for multiple DUI’s. In this article, I want to make clear that being able to win the restoration of one’s driver’s license or obtain the clearance of a Michigan hold on a person’s driving record has nothing to do with a person’s need to drive.

Let’s begin with the candid reality that our practice is in business to make money. Every license case we don’t take is money out the window, and we certainly don’t earn our livings by NOT taking cases. I point this out so that the reader understands our firm has every reason to pursue a viable license appeal case. However, because we guarantee to win each one we take – meaning that we’re stuck with it until it does, in fact, win – we also have every reason to pass on a case that isn’t yet ready to be a winner.

In part 1 of this article, we began a very candid discussion about properly handling a probation violation. I noted that, for the most part, probation violations occur because someone screws up, and tests positive for alcohol and/or drugs, completely misses a test altogether, fails do do something they were required to do, or otherwise winds up picking up a new case. When this happens, the defense lawyer has to find a way to get the Judge to give the client yet another break, with job number one being to keep the client out of jail.

We noted the worst approach to a PV is to try and fool the Judge with some BS excuse or story. Every Judge in every courtroom has heard it all before, and probably more times than they could count. I even pointed out that there is one excuse used to try and explain away a positive alcohol test that is so stupid, unbelieved and worn out that it has its own name: “The NyQuil Defense.” Probation violations need to be explained, and worked around; that won’t happen by spewing a bunch of BS that just pisses the Judge off even more.

In our roles as Michigan criminal lawyers, we handle a lot of probation violations. Some are for existing clients, while others are for people we didn’t represent at the time of their original case. The most common reasons for a probation violation include things like testing positive for alcohol or drugs, missing tests, or picking up a new case. Sometimes, the people who find themselves facing a PV turn out to be those who seemed the least likely to run into any problems in the first place, but, as the saying goes, “it is what it is.”

Over the course of my 3 decades as a lawyer, I have seen just about every imaginable situation that could wind up as a probation violation. For as unusual as any case may be, most of them are for things mentioned in the preceding paragraph. And although there are some cases where someone is falsely or wrongly accused of violating his or her probation, the vast majority of violations come about because the person simply screwed up. Within the court system, this is actually a good thing, in a certain way, because it means that a certain amount of probation violations are expected.

An important reality present in all DUI cases is that a person is essentially defined, within the court system, by his or her BAC result. This is true independent of the particular DUI charge he or she is facing, whether it’s Michigan’s “superdrunk” High BAC offense, or simply OWI (Operating while Intoxicated). Both in theory and in practice, a person’s BAC score is considered the true measure of how drunk he or she was at the time of his or her DUI.

Many people aren’t aware of the simple fact that, within the court system, the focus of a DUI case is really on his or her drinking, and not their driving. In our practice, the first question we have about a new DUI case is “where did it happen?” because for us, as DUI lawyers trying help people out of such a jam, location is the single most important factor in how a case is likely to turn out. “What was his/her BAC?” is usually the second question we’ll ask because the answer to it is usually not as important as the answer to “where?”

In part 1 of this article, we began discussing why it’s so important that an evaluator have specific experience completing the Michigan Secretary of State’s substance use evaluation (SUE) form in driver’s license restoration and clearance appeals. In part 2, we continued our examination of that subject, pointing out that an integral component of an evaluator learning from experience is getting direct feedback by a driver’s license restoration lawyer about how he or she should be doing evaluations in order to meet the expectations of the Secretary of State.

learn-300x232-1Here, in part 3, we’ll wrap things up, first by concluding our examination of why it’s important that an evaluator get feedback about how to properly complete the substance use evaluation for use in a license appeal, and then, by seeing how the lack of such feedback directly affects out of state license appeals cases, called “clearances.” This will help the reader understand why our firm, which guarantees to win every case we take, always requires that the evaluation be completed by the very experienced evaluator we use.

Feedback is an important component of experience, because unless a person can see what he or she is doing correctly – and what he or she is doing that needs correcting – there is no context or direction to make the appropriate adjustments. As much as there is to the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the flip side is that you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. Often enough, when we take on a client who has lost a previous appeal and then hired us to win their case next time, they have no idea of what should have been done differently.

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