As a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, a significant part of my job is explaining the License Restoration process to Clients and callers alike. In that regard, I often have to address misconceptions and myths about License Appeals. In this article, I will examine and hopefully dispel the longstanding myth that “you cannot win your License back the first time.” To begin, I should point out that not only is that notion dead wrong, but that I make most of my income winning License Restoration Appeals the first time, and I back that up with a Guarantee.
Curiously, I am most often confronted with this misconception by the most unlikely of sources; People who are involved in AA. This is really ironic because, of all the people for whom I could rather easily win a License Appeal the first time, those who are really and truly Sober, and actually sit at the tables, are at front of the class. In fact, the inspiration for this article was a recent meeting with a new Client who had been referred to me and wasn’t even aware of this blog. Let’s examine her story a bit…
This Client was given a very enthusiastic referral to my Office by someone for whom, I had, as usual, won a License Appeal the first time. She had already seen a few other Lawyers, and figured that I’d just be another of the bunch. Before beginning her quest to get back on the road, she had repeatedly heard from her fellow AA members that everyone gets Denied on a License Appeal their first time around, and that she should just assume she’ll have to go back a second time to win.
She said her whole reason for coming to see me was the unqualified and glowing referral to me that she had been provided. While I was flattered, the fact that she had not read any of my Driver’s License Restoration articles meant that she had no real insight about the process. Even though she had met with some other Lawyers, the plain fact of the matter is that I have no doubt written more about License Restorations than all these other Lawyers have ever written about everything in their combined careers. Beyond that, I’m quite confident that I have won more License Restoration cases in the last few years than all these Lawyers, combined, have ever handled in their careers. Despite having sat with a few Lawyers who told her that they “did” License Restorations, I was rather sure she had been told nothing useful or worthwhile about what was involved. And as if on cue, at the end of our 3-hour meeting, she told me that, in fact, no one had gone into anything even close to the detail I had.
She was, understandably, a bit skeptical when I told her that I’d win her Appeal the first time around. In fact, she said that she had come prepared to hire me, but also to request that I do the absolute minimum so that we could just get what she expected to be her first and inevitable loss out of the way, thus paving the way for next year’s Appeal.
Because she hadn’t read my blog articles regarding License Appeals, she had no idea that I Guaranteed that I’d win the first time. When I explained to her that I was banking on that, and that any return trip to satisfy my Guarantee essentially doubled my workload while cutting my income precisely in half, she began to take me seriously.
Let me be clear on this point: There is absolutely NO TRUTH to the notion that a person will or must be Denied the first time they “go for” their Driver’s License, beyond the fact that those who are Denied have screwed up somewhere in their efforts. If a person is really Sober, and eligible, and the Appeal is done correctly, then they should win, period.
Think about my statement for a moment: If an Appeal is done correctly, it should win. This means that, in most cases, if it does not win, it’s the fault of the Lawyer. It is the Lawyer’s job to make sure an Appeal is a winner BEFORE it’s filed. Yet, in most cases where a new Client hires me after having previously tried a License Appeal with some Lawyer who said he or she “does” License Restoration cases, I find the reason for the loss to be something I would have caught had I been in charge of the case.
In a recent article, I examined this within the larger context of losing a License case due to a “Questionable/Insufficient Substance Abuse Evaluation.” I pointed out that this is perhaps the most common reason any given Restoration Appeal winds up losing. While a complete and line-by-line examination of the Substance Abuse Evaluation and the things that can be wrong with it would require a series of articles, the larger point I’m driving at here is that it is the Lawyer’s job to avoid these errors. As soon as an Evaluation lands in my Office, Ann, my Senior Assistant, reviews it to make sure it’s signed and the necessary accompanying documents have been attached. Once she has reviewed it, she places it on my desk for a second review.
If and when I am satisfied that the Substance Abuse Evaluation (or SAE, for short) is Legally adequate and sufficient, and appropriately favorable, then I will note it as “okay,” and place it on Ann’s desk.
This kind of checking and double-checking is necessary to make sure that the Substance Abuse Evaluation, which is really the very foundation of a License Appeal, will not be disqualified for some avoidable reason.
Thus, when I say that if a License Appeal is “done correctly” it should win, I place full responsibility for that upon the Lawyer’s (meaning mine, if I’m your Lawyer) shoulders. This, of course, excludes a Client meltdown at the Hearing, or situations in which the Client has withheld important information. In my experience, however, that is rarely the case.
I suppose that what I’m trying to say is that if there is any truth to the idea that a first-time License Appeal is destined to lose, that assumes and means the person doing it, whether the Client alone, or the Client’s Lawyer, will necessarily make critical and fatal mistakes in preparing and presenting it.
That’s understandable when someone tries an Appeal on his or her own, and tries to “play” Lawyer, but it should not be the case when a Lawyer has been paid to get his or her Client back on the road. Yet the reality is that far too many Attorneys who really have no business “playing” License Restoration Lawyer do just that, and because they lack the day-in day-out experience of a bona-fide Restoration specialist, wind up losing the Client’s first attempt to win back their License.
From my point of view, there is not, and there never should be anything different or special about a person’s first attempt to win a License Appeal. Either a person is Sober, or not. If they’re Sober, planning on remaining Sober for life, and otherwise eligible, then the fact that it is their first attempt to win a Restoration Appeal should not make any difference whatsoever.
When someone calls my Office, we ask a lot of questions, but seldom even bother to inquire if the person has filed a prior License Appeal, because, in truth, it does not matter, beyond having created some additional problems that I’m going to have to fix. If I accept a case, then that means I plan on winning. Given that I have a first-time win rate of well above 98%, and that I Guarantee I’ll win the first time (or any subsequent DAAD Appeal is handled without additional Legal Fee), I put my money where my mouth is. And I hope I’ve said enough to convince the reader that any notion that “you don’t get your License back the first time” is completely wrong.