In order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration case, you have to invest a lot of time. As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I guarantee that I’ll win each case I take, by only accepting cases for people who have really and truly quit drinking. A critical reason I can make that guarantee, however, is that I will be investing a lot of time (as well as my heart and soul) into your case. This time commitment begins at our very first meeting, which takes 3 hours. And that’s just to get started…
This article will be shorter than most of my other license reinstatement pieces because here, I want to focus on one simple, single point about a Michigan license appeal: It takes time to do it right. Every day of the week, my office gets calls from people who want to win back their driver’s licenses. This part of things is simple; everybody “needs” a license. If you’ve even read this far, then you’re ahead of many of those callers. Lots of people look at the sheer volume of what I have written, see that I guarantee a win in every license appeal case I take, and figure I’m the guy to call. It doesn’t quite work that way. I guarantee a win in every case I take, but I don’t take every case.
This really turns out to be a mixed blessing. Getting as many inquiries as I do certainly represents a level of success that took years and years to develop, and it is rather flattering to have people call wanting to hire me, sight unseen. However, it can also be rather frustrating because some of these callers haven’t bothered to read anything I’ve written, and just think that all it takes to hire me is to pay my fee. I’m not that kind of lawyer. I don’t EVER take a case for someone who has not, really and truly, stopped drinking. That requirement of sobriety is a big part of why I guarantee that I’ll win your license restoration case.
You cannot just throw money around to get a license back. If it was that easy, there would be nothing special about what I do, and I wouldn’t be anything more than just another lawyer accepting retainers. As we noted before, everybody “needs” a license. Just needing a license, however, won’t get you any closer to actually getting one. Winning a Michigan driver’s license restoration case requires an investment of time and effort on multiple levels.
First, you have to be legally eligible to file a license appeal. If you lose your license for 2 DUI convictions within 7 years, the Michigan Secretary of State revokes your license for at least 1 year. In the real world, because you must be off of probation (or, where applicable, parole) in order to prove the necessary (but undefined) period of “voluntary abstinence” from alcohol in order to win a license appeal, most people will have to wait at least 2 years, (or even longer longer) to start the restoration process. Anyone who accumulates 3 DUI’s within 10 years will have to wait at least 5 years before he or she can file a license appeal. Whatever else, the state sets an eligibility date that is non-negotiable. Worse yet, if you get caught driving while your license is revoked, your eligibility date gets pushed back farther, by an additional 1 or 5 years.
Next, and most important, you must have quit drinking – for real. Your legal burden in a driver’s license restoration appeal is to prove to the Michigan Secretary of State’s DAAD (Driver Assessment and Appeal Division) hearing officer, by what is called “clear and convincing evidence,” that, first, your alcohol problem is “under control” (meaning that you can establish a sobriety date, or an approximate date when you quit drinking), and, second, that your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control.” This means that you must prove that you are not likely to drink again – that you have the commitment and tools to live an alcohol-free lifestyle forever. This is why I point out that sobriety is a first and necessary requirement to win a Michigan driver’s license reinstatement case.
Real sobriety, as sober people understand it, takes time to achieve. You don’t just magically “quit drinking” one day, and then find out that everything is better the next. Often, “quitting drinking” involves something almost like a mourning period. Think of a toxic relationship where Guy A and Girl B are almost always fighting, but still always together. One day, they break up, having had enough and knowing that the relationship is a disaster. Even though it’s better that they are apart, it is likely that for first few weekends without each other, they will be lonely and miss each other. There will be a period of adjustment, as each faces the world without the other. A song on the radio will stir up old feelings, and favorite places to eat won’t feel the same if one goes without the other. The same kind of adjustment period often happens when a person quits using alcohol.
In that sense, truly quitting drinking requires an almost global series of life changes, from the people you hang out with to where you hang out, how you celebrate life, deal with stress, interact socially, where you go, and just about everything else that used to seem “normal.” When you quit drinking, you have to adjust to a different, and often radical new standard of “normal.” This doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time.
Eventually, this “mourning period” passes, and you begin to mend the damage done by drinking. Relationships are repaired. Getting out from under the fog of alcohol, many people pick up old hobbies or interests, or, better yet, discover new ones. People start to do better at work, and get promoted, or get a better job, or complete a degree. Some even start a new business. Life gets up and running, and, for anyone who really gets sober, life just gets better. Even though sobriety doesn’t put money in your pocket, life is a lot less complicated without all the drama and trouble that drinking caused. Discovering this, however, takes time…
Finally, as the last piece of the puzzle a person needs to put back into his or her life, it comes time to get back the driver’s license. The vast majority of my clients have gone years without theirs. As much as anyone would “like” to get his or her driver’s license back, getting around to actually starting the process doesn’t usually happen for a while. In the meantime, efforts are directed to arranging transportation for things like work, school, kids, and groceries. Life gets busy.
Even the process of learning about what’s involved in a license appeal takes time. I have published more than 225 articles examining every aspect of Michigan driver’s license restoration appeals on this blog; most are about 4 pages long. That would print out to about a 900-page book. Even at 3 pages a day, it would take nearly a year to read everything I’ve written on this blog about getting your license back, and that doesn’t even count the information I’ve put up on my website.
Here we circle back to the beginning of this article. As I noted at the outset, my first meeting with a client takes 3 hours. The purpose of this meeting is just to prepare you to undergo the substance abuse evaluation. That evaluation takes about an hour with a substance abuse counselor. In addition, there are letters of support that need to be written, and then edited, revised, and re-written. Everything needs to be checked, double-checked, and re-checked. That takes time (although mostly mine). Finally, when everything is filed in Lansing and a hearing date has been set, I’ll have a final preparation session with my client (almost always done after-hours, the evening before the actual hearing, by telephone) that lasts about an hour.
The end result of all this work is a winning decision that puts a valid driver’s license back in your wallet. There are numerous clichés that apply here: Nothing good is easy; anything worth doing is worth doing right; there are no shortcuts; preparation is the key to success. They all apply in a license appeal, and they all have something in common; if you want to win your license back, you’re going to have to invest your time in the process. If you have put your heart and soul into your recovery, I will put my heart and soul into your case, and guarantee that I will get you back on the road, legally.
Call me when you’re ready to get the process started.