Within the many Driver’s License Restoration articles on this blog, and in the various License Restoration sections of my website, I break the Michigan Driver’s License Appeal process down and make a detailed, thorough examination of how each step works. I do this because I’m a “detail person.” If I’m going to have some work done, whether on my home, my car, or even medically, on my body, I am interested in learning the details about it. That’s me. Not surprisingly, many of my Clients are also “detail people,” and they will comment that it was the amount of detail that I go into which drew them to my blog, or site, in the first place.
Some people, however, are the opposite; they don’t care about all the details, they just want the work done right the first time, and are far more interested in the results, and not what produces those results. I get a lot of calls from these people, too. In most cases, I assume they just look at how much information I have written about the License Appeal process, and figure that I’m the expert. That’s kind of flattering, but it also brings a few problems, as well. Perhaps the biggest is that these “just get it done” people don’t read enough to discover that Sobriety is a first and necessary requirement to win a Michigan License Clearance or Restoration case, and that it is one of the first inquiries I’ll be making of anyone who contacts me.
Somewhere in between the microscopic detail that interests me, as a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, and the “just get it done” attitude that others have, lies the real heart of a License Appeal. I have described the License Appeal process as being, in part, about navigating “a million little rules.” Doing that is my job, however, and the whole point, really, of anyone hiring me in the first place is to make sure I take care of all that. In this article, we’ll deliberately try to avoid over-complicating things, and focus on what’s really the core issue of a License Appeal: Sobriety.
As I’ve also noted in various other articles, a person does not need to be in AA in order to win their License back. It is a common misconception that a person needs to be in AA in order to win a License Appeal. More than half of my Clients are not active in AA at the time we file their cases. With a first time win rate of nearly 98%, and a Guarantee that I will win any case I file, I speak with more than a little authority on this topic. AA is helpful, but far from necessary.
Some of my Clients, however, are in AA. As I see it, the advantage these Clients have is that they’ll be a bit more familiar with the way we talk about Recovery, and the language we’ll be using in drafting their Recovery story. Thus, when I talk about the moment a person became sick and tired of being sick and tired, someone in AA will instinctively understand that. If I’m talking with someone not in AA, they might just recognize this better when it’s described as the moment a “switch flipped,” or as their “a-ha” moment.
The larger point here is that in order to win a Michigan License Restoration Appeal, AA is not necessary. But Sobriety is.
Sometimes, a person trying to do their own License Appeal will contact me and, having figured out that Sobriety is a key component of the process, will ask, “How do I prove Sobriety?” That’s a good question, but there is no simple answer. On top of that, the question itself, while important, does not cover the entire core of a License Appeal, either. In other words, while asking, and then answering the question “how does a person prove Sobriety?” is important in a License Appeal, there’s a lot more to it than that. In order to win a License Appeal, a person really has to put forth their whole Recovery story. And if that’s not enough, they have to be able to get it done in far less space than this article. That’s where I come in.
If you stop and think about it for a moment, while the task seems daunting, it is certainly not impossible. Having actually made the transition from drinker to non-drinker, a person does have a “Recovery story.” In many cases, particularly in those cases in which a person does not go to AA, they may not have given much thought to any such “story,” but it’s there, nonetheless. This is, of course, where I help.
A person who has not first made, and thereafter kept a firm decision to quit drinking will not have a “Recovery story.” I have often written about the almost-daily calls I get from people who think that, with my help, they can win a License Appeal, and then will go on to “confide” that they believe they can still have a drink every now and then. They’ll explain, without being asked, that they “know” that the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) “wants” them to say that they’re an alcoholic, and that they’re willing to do or say whatever is necessary to win their case, even though they don’t really believe it. Often, these callers have tried to win a License Appeal on their own before (and, not surprisingly, lost), and think that just having a good Lawyer is all that’s needed.
I have to tell these people that they are exactly the kind of people the whole process is designed to keep off the road. They’ll probably keep getting denied for years on end, and become angry at everyone who has anything to do with the License Appeal process, including me. Maybe someday, they’ll quit drinking. If and when they do, then they’ll understand. Then again, maybe they’ll never get it. For my part, I’m only interested in Representing those people who “get it.”
Winning a License Appeal case is not just about proving Sobriety, it’s about proving what led to a person deciding to get Sober in the first place, and how they followed up with that decision. It’s about proving a Sober Lifestyle, and, most of all, how and why such a lifestyle choice is likely to continue. Legally speaking, a person must prove that their “alcohol problem…is likely to remain under control.” This means they have to prove that they are a safe bet to never drink again, all within the confines of a Substance Abuse Evaluation form and a few Letters of Support. It’s a formidable task, but the real point of this article is that, if you’ve really quit drinking and “put the plug in the jug,” as the AA people say, you’ve got the necessary ingredients to win your License back. You just need the right chef to put those ingredients in the proper order, and carefully prepare everything, and doing just that is what defines me as a Lawyer.
If you’re not really Sober, then you’re not really ready. Even so, call me and I’ll be glad to point you in the right direction. What inspires a person to quit drinking is different in every case. I’ve had plenty of Clients who, having previously tried their own hand at a License Appeal and losing, had their wake up call. They talk of suddenly realizing how alcohol was still negatively affecting them, and that a denial from the DAAD helped them realize that they really needed to just eliminate alcohol from their lives. As I said, some people get it, and some never do.
License Appeals are complex. There really are “a million little rules” involved in this process. Anyone who has tried a License Appeal before already knows that. Safely navigating those rules is my job. For anyone ready to get back on the road, the real inquiry is simple; are you Sober? If so, then there’s no need to complicate things. You stay Sober, come and see me, and I’ll take care of everything else. You’re biggest concern thereafter will be something like the color of the car you drive, and that’s a good thing…