A person who has a Michigan “Hold” on their Driving Record because of multiple DUI convictions is not legally required to come back to Michigan to obtain a Clearance that will allow them to get a License in another state. In my role as Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, however, I would NEVER accept a case unless my Client is willing to come back. This is not about money, or convenience, or anything less than winning. I take these cases to win them. I Guarantee that I will win any case I accept. Consequently, I will not take a case that I’m not sure I can win.
It seems that not a week goes by without someone contacting my Office from out of state, asking if I can or will take their case and handle it administratively. While a Michigan resident must appear for a License Appeal Hearing, a non-resident may seek a Clearance of the Michigan Hold upon their Driving Record by filing what is called and “Administrative Review,” which is essentially a Driver’s License Restoration Appeal without the Hearing.
These people want hire me for my expertise, and have me manage their “Appeal by mail” so that they don’t have to come back to Michigan. This can, at times, get frustrating, because with more than 140 Driver’s License Restoration articles on my Blog, and a rather comprehensive website, you almost have to be blind to miss how many times I point out that I only accept Michigan Revoked License cases where a person will return to the state, first to meet with me and have their Substance Abuse Evaluation completed, followed by a second trip back for their actual License Appeal Hearing.
The good news for anyone trying an Administrative Review is that the only “travel” expense is postage.
The bad news is that 3 out of 4 Administrative Reviews lose.
In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division received 875 Administrative Review Appeals. It DENIED 650, or 75% of them. That means only 1 out of 4 “mail-in Appeals” were successful. There’s really nothing more to say on that point.
By contrast, I Guarantee that I will win any case I accept. I have kept a win rate of near 98% for as long as I can recall. I can do this because I only take cases for people who are genuinely Sober. If you’re still drinking, I cannot help you, and I won’t touch your case. If, however, you’ve put drinking behind you, and plan on remaining alcohol-free, then we should talk.
I think that it is important that any reader stop for a moment and think about my method, because, in reality, it only costs me money. I am completely serious when I say that I receive weekly inquiries about doing someone’s Administrative Appeal. The reader may not believe how many contacts I receive from people willing to give me their credit card information right then and there, but who do not want to return to Michigan. No matter what, I’m in business to make money, and turning away good money is not part of anyone’s business plan, but I also have a higher standard than just the almighty dollar. My integrity is not for sale, nor is my reputation.
In that sense, and with an unabashed sense of self-promotion, I will point out that this is something that clearly separates me from everyone else. I’ve seen no other Lawyer’s site, or blog, or advertisement, or whatever, that both REQUIRES Sobriety as a condition to accept a License Appeal or Clearance case and offers a Guarantee to win it. The only requirement I’ve seen anyone else have is paying over the cash to hire the Lawyer.
My requirement that a person be Sober is extremely important. License Appeals involve several issues, and what seems like a million little rules, but at the heart of it all lies requirement that a person prove, by “Clear and Convincing Evidence,” that their alcohol problem is “under control, and likely to remain under control.” It means that the Hearing Officer needs to be convinced that the person is convinced that they can never drink again. This translates to convincing the state that the person Appealing is a safe bet to never drink again. That doesn’t fly if a person isn’t really Sober.
If the key rule requires that a person’s alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” then it seems to me that the Lawyer should be the first person to make that inquiry. This, of course, requires that the Lawyer knows HOW to make that inquiry. In my case, with more than 22 years of study of the etiology, progression, diagnosis, treatment and recovery from alcohol problems to my credit, I am uniquely qualified to screen for that. Studying the alcoholism and its treatment is, however weird it may sound, my favorite subject. While everyone else is reading the sports page, I’m reading a book entitled “Treating Alcoholism: A Guide to Helping your Clients find the road to Recovery” (2004) by Robert R. Perkinson, PhD.
There is a huge ethical and moral concern here, as well. The real point of the License Appeal and Clearance process is to make sure that only Sober people get back behind the wheel. The state wants to be confident that no risky drinker gets back on the road. If a Lawyer does not make Sobriety a first requirement in order to accept an Appeal, what does that say about their judgment as a person? I think I have a responsibility to society in general, far beyond just being able to Guarantee a win, that calls for me to never help someone who could endanger the safety of others to get their License back. Thus, even if someone who is still drinking, or who thinks they can still drink, could somehow manage to “fool” the DAAD, or could otherwise say the right things at a Hearing and manage to win their Appeal, I want no part of that.
And the reader might be surprised how much of that there is. I am astounded at the number of people who will call my Office, having never met nor spoken with me, and within a few minutes confide in me, or my Staff, that they’ve done their homework, they know the state wants them to admit to being an alcoholic, they’ve been to AA, they know what to say, and they’ll say whatever I need them to, but that no one is going to tell them that they can’t have a beer every once in a while, or have a glass of wine with dinner. I know there are some pretty bad impressions of Lawyers out there, but what kind of puke would take such a case, no matter how much money is involved? I certainly won’t.
I win as many cases as I do, and I pass on quite a few offers of money for those who are not really Sober, because I am honest. I play by the rules. I never try and “game” the system. An old boss once told me that it takes an entire lifetime to build and maintain a good reputation, yet it only takes one stupid move to ruin it. Why would I ever even consider handling an Appeal for anyone not truly committed to remaining alcohol-free?
The larger point here is that I know how to win these cases, and I have pretty much gotten the process of winning down to a science. Like anything worthwhile, you must first start with quality components or ingredients. In my line of work, that means a person must first be genuinely Sober. Then, you have to have excellent quality control. By requiring a Client to come and meet with me for 3 hours right before they go a few blocks from my Office to have their Substance Abuse Evaluation completed, and making sure that I am heavily involved in the drafting and editing of the Letters of Support, I very tightly control the quality of the evidence filed with the State.
Finally, I also control the Hearing. I make sure my Client is beyond prepared. I can honestly say, as I often do, that my Client and I will easily spend at least twice as much time preparing for and talking about the Hearing as we will actually conducting it. I don’t call witnesses, and I firmly believe that to do so is a mistake made by inexperienced Lawyers. I only conduct live Hearings, not crappy, flickering and grainy video Hearings. I walk into that Hearing room with a Client that is both ready and thoroughly prepared to win.
Perhaps best of all, I can ease my Client’s concerns about the Hearing by reminding them that, since I only handle cases for people who are really and truly Sober, we’re going in to tell the truth. Underlying all the million little rules that I have to be mindful about is that my Client simply has to go in with me and be honest about him or herself. The greatest of all American writers, Mark Twain, once said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
That’s a good feeling, and it usually precedes winning a License Appeal case.