In one of my recent driver’s license restoration articles, I described the mixed blessing of my office receiving so many calls inquiring about hiring me for a Michigan driver’s license restoration appeal. I noted that, to my dismay, lots of people simply look at the large number of articles I’ve written (without taking the time to read any of them) and see that I provide a guarantee that if I take your case, I’ll win your license back and just figure, “he’s the guy!” This frustrates me because in just about every article I’ve written, and on just about every corner of my site, I make it clear that I will only undertake a license restoration appeal for a person who has really and truly quit drinking.
Even so, my office gets calls almost every day from someone who will act surprised, and even offended, that I really mean that. A few weeks ago, a caller said it best when he expressed his impatience by asking, “You mean to tell me that I’m supposed to pay you $3750 for this and you’re going to tell me that I can’t even have a drink once in a while?”
Yep. That $3750, however, buys you a lawyer of integrity, and a level of service (backed up with a guarantee) miles above any operation that simply sets a fee and will undertake a license appeal for anyone who pays it. And while I won’t tell someone that he or she can or cannot drink, I will tell everyone that I won’t take your case if you are still drinking. It is because of the high standards I have that I win almost all of my cases the first time around, and why I provide a guarantee.
$3750 is a lot of money. I couldn’t imagine charging anywhere that much without providing a guarantee, but I can’t imagine not providing a guarantee, either. The deal is straightforward; if you are genuinely sober, you’ll pay me once, and you will get your license back. Simple as this is, there is a recurrent theme here, however – sobriety. “Sobriety” is absolutely critical to a Michigan driver’s license restoration case because the 2 main issues that you must prove to the state, by what is specified as “clear and convincing evidence,” are directly related to your NOT drinking. These 2 key issues are that:
- Your alcohol problem is “under control,” and
- Your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that you have the commitment and the tools to remain alcohol-free, meaning sober, for life.
You can’t fake these things, or at least not very well. The state wants to make sure that you hit the point in your drinking where you’d just had enough, and quit. Most people call this “hitting bottom.” From there, of course, everything is “up.” You can tell when someone is still struggling with this, because anyone who has really embraced recovery and sobriety finds a certain, if not overwhelming, contentment with it. Sober people stand out in stark contrast to people who are hanging on to abstinence by the skin of their fingernails. If staying sober is any kind of “white knuckle” experience, then it’s not any kind of real sobriety, and certainly not any kind that will help win a license appeal.
The ugly reality of alcoholism is that the overwhelming majority (most statistics indicate greater than 90%) of alcoholics do not get better. The Michigan Secretary of State, through it’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), has to make sure that anyone it puts back on the road is not a risk to drink again. Ever. This is a very important reason that the license appeal process is so hard.
I charge what I do because I’m exceptionally good at winning back licenses the first time. I didn’t get that way, nor do I stay that way by simply applauding myself, either. I put in the time and effort to learn everything I can about addiction, alcoholism and recovery. I am, as of this writing, nearing completion of a post-graduate certification program in addiction studies. This certification cannot be awarded to anyone without at least a Master’s degree (thus, the term “post-graduate”). This costs me more than $12,000 per year. Just because I want to, I’m currently in my second reading of the alcoholic’s anonymous “big book.” I eat, sleep and drink license appeals, and recovery. I’ll use all of this ongoing learning and specialized knowledge in order to win your license back and provide you with a guarantee that I will. The catch? You have to be sober, first. I cannot and will not budge on that point.
Winning a license appeal can loosely be thought of as fitting the details of your recovery story into the legal framework that the state mandates. This framework isn’t perfect; in fact, in places, it’s very flawed. This is where my expertise is most useful, because I bring the clinician’s understanding of alcohol and addiction disorders, and the recovery from those disorders, along with the lawyer’s knowledge of legal procedure and the law. As a result, it means that if you’re sober, I’ll make sure you win your license back. Anyone who has unsuccessfully tried a Michigan license appeal knows that they’re governed by what I call “a million little rules.” I can navigate them for you.
The bottom line is that if you really have quit drinking, and you are otherwise legally eligible to file a license appeal, I can you back on the road. Even so, you cannot just “throw” $3600 at me and wait for your license. In the article referenced and linked at the beginning of this one, I wrote about the commitment of time and money that WE must invest in order to be successful. My first meeting with you will take 3 hours, and that’s just to prepare you to undergo the substance abuse evaluation. There is much work that I have to do thereafter, before your actual hearing, including editing and revising your letters of support (almost every letter I see needs “fixing”), checking and re-checking your substance abuse evaluation and evidence “package” file with the DAAD, and then preparing for the hearing itself. I have noted before that license appeal cases are won (or lost) in the preparation. Beyond being true, that’s a gross understatement.
Almost every week, as I sit in the DAAD waiting room, I’ll watch as some lawyer comes in, finds his or her client, and then proceeds to “go over” a few things. Sometimes the client will hand the lawyer a letter, or other piece of evidence for review…
That should never happen! When I walk into that waiting room, my client and I will already have gone over everything so thoroughly that there will be no need to go over anything else. We’ll talk about the drive in, or the weather as we wait. Once in a rare while, my client might supply something like an additional letter, but I will have reviewed and approved the un-notarized copy of it beforehand, so when it’s handed to me, I won’t even have to look at it beyond knowing that I will present it to the hearing officer.
I earn my money by winning license appeals the first time, and not by racking up losses and having to come back to fulfill my guarantee and do “warranty work.” Nothing good comes cheap, but if you’re serious about putting a valid license back in your wallet, and you’re serious about having moved past your drinking days, I am serious about winning your case.