Michigan Driver’s License Restoration – The Danger of Waiting too Long

My Practice involves filing a lot of Driver’s License Appeals. The other side of that coin is the number of Appeals I do not file. Often, I must turn away a potential Client because he or she has not done one or more things that I feel is necessary to win an Appeal. Usually, in those cases, it’s a matter of a short while, a little work, and then we can begin.

Another, rather ironic and unfortunate problem occurs to those who simply wait too long to begin the process of License Restoration. They get caught driving without a License, and in the process, send themselves right back to square one in the waiting game. A recent example in my own practice highlights this point.

handcuffed2.jpgA fellow came to see me in order to begin the License Restoration Process. Like most people, his License had been Revoked for multiple DUI’s. He was legally eligible, and, I felt, ready to start the process. So he did. He went and paid to have his Substance Abuse Evaluation done, the first step in the process after I meet with a new Client. His Substance Abuse Evaluation came back wonderful, and I was anxious to get this guy on the road.

Then, a week or so later, he called the office with dreadful news; he had gotten arrested over the previous weekend for Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License.

I have covered the various aspects of these charges in a series of Blog articles on Driving While License Suspended/Revoked, and using that link, the reader can learn as much as they want to about those subjects.

Our point here is about the real consequence to his ability to file that License Appeal, which I only discuss briefly in the linked articles.

The short version is that he screwed himself. No matter how good a deal I eventually get for him on this new Revoked License Charge, he has dealt himself a serious blow and will have to wait anywhere from at least 6 months to a year (or even more) before we can file that License Appeal. And, by the way, his Substance Abuse Evaluation, which must be filed with the Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), the body that decides these cases, expires 90 days after it is signed by the Substance Abuse Evaluator. So my Client blew $200 on that, and for nothing.

Depending on how his Driving While License Revoked case plays out, he may or may not be set back for a year before we can file that License Appeal. Here’s where it gets murky. Just because a person becomes eligible to file an Appeal with the DAAD does not mean he or she has any real chance of winning it. And knowing what I know, I will probably advise my client to wait anywhere from a few months, up to as many as 6 months after he becomes eligible to file that License Appeal, before we do so.

I win well over 90% of the License Appeals I file. I do that by knowing this stuff, and knowing it well. Anyone who gets caught Driving while their License is Revoked automatically triggers an analysis by the DAAD into a part of the rules by which they decide these Appeals that requires a finding that the person appealing “is motivated to drive safely, and within the law.”

On my website, I call this the “Seldom Occurring Issue” because, unless the person appealing has been caught driving since their License was Revoked, or unless they have a horribly unsafe driving record (causing accidents and injuries, and the like), this issue is simply passed over.

The problem for the person filing a License Appeal is that, once the issue becomes relevant, as it does when thy have driven even after their License has been Revoked (unless any such charges are really old), the DAAD basically asks something like this:

If we told you cannot drive at all, under any circumstances, and that you have no License and driving without one is a Crime, and you still drove anyway, what would make us think that if we give you a License with Restrictions on when and how you drive (as any person winning a License Appeal gets) that you’d follow that? After all, your actins shoe that when you’re told “no,” you just go ahead and do it anyway!

Tough question to answer!

And think about it; no matter what the reason for driving was, except, perhaps, for a life-and-death emergency (and in 20 years of being a Lawyer, I’ve never seen that happen yet…), it all comes back to the person driving when they were legally prohibited form doing so.

The point to all of this is that the longer a person waits to get back on the road legally, the greater the chances, for most, that something will happen which results in their driving, and getting caught. Let’s be realistic: some people continue to drive without a License, and, even though they won’t admit to doing it, they know that every time they drive, they’re taking a big gamble. And as with all gambling, the odds are you’ll hit (or get hit) sooner or later.

I often point out that I’m in business to make money, not turn Clients away. Even so, I’m an honest guy, and won’t just take someone’s money to file an Appeal that I don’t feel confident is a winner. Nor do I want to damage my winning percentage. So if have had your License Revoked, and you are eligible to file your Appeal, don’t wait unnecessarily. Get the ball rolling as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to avoid an unfortunate circumstance which will tack on another year (or even more) to your ability to file an Appeal you could have won except for the getting caught driving without a License.