Weekly Summaries: License Restoration/DUI similarities and Probation Violation Outcomes

1. Driver’s License Restoration and DUI cases share the same “DNA”

In the first article from this week, I examined the overlapping roles of being a Michigan DUI lawyer and a Michigan driver’s license restoration/clearance lawyer. I noted that day-to-day experience in the courts of the Greater-Detroit area handling DUI cases is helpful in my role as a license appeal lawyer, when I appear before the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) hearing officers. While it’s pretty much true that everyone has a general understanding that a DUI carries certain license sanctions, particularly in a case beyond a person’s 1st offense, or where there is a “troubled” driving record, knowing the finer points of the administrative sanction imposed by the Secretary of State, beyond those that are part of the criminal law, is very helpful, and can sometimes impact the strategy I employ to avoid certain consequences for my client. Likewise, in-depth knowledge of DUI cases is equally helpful in winning back driver’s licenses. Here are some of the more important points from the license restoration/DUI article:

  • A Michigan DUI lawyer will understand at least basic driver’s license consequences
  • A Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer knows a lot more about driver’s licenses
  • Most driver’s license restoration cases arise because a person has multiple DUI convictions
  • A thorough understanding of how DUI cases work is helpful in winning a license appeal
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the licensing rules is often critical in a DUI case
  • What will happen to a person’s license can impact how a DUI case is handled, and ultimately resolved
  • Beyond just DUI cases, driver’s license rules can impact how DWLS and revoked license cases are handled
  • I have saved many a license because my understanding of the licensing rules goes way beyond the criminal law and the consequences the Judge will impose
  • A better DUI lawyer knows the ins and outs of driver’s license appeals
  • A better license restoration/clearance lawyer knows the ins and outs of DUI cases
  • It is better still to know both areas well from working with them daily

 

Now, on to “What will happen to me in a probation violation?”…

2. Most Important in a Probation Violation is “What’s Going to Happen to Me?”

In the second article this week, we looked at the big question asked by anyone facing a probation violation: What is going to happen to me? There is a lot to a probation violation, and to handle one effectively, beyond just knowing the law, the lawyer needs, in varying amounts, to understand the science of alcohol and drug testing, the path to addiction and the recovery processes from it, and how to communicate persuasively enough to change a Judge’s mind. Your lawyer could have won a suitcase full of Nobel Prizes, but if he or she can’t talk the Judge out of locking you up, none of that matters a bit. Handled properly, avoiding jail and not getting pounded with too many additional conditions is usually quite manageable in a probation violation. Here are the major points from the probation violation article:

 

  • A probation violation never happens because things are going too well
  • Probation is given as an alternative to incarceration
  • Probation is like a “deal” with the Judge: Do this, don’t do that, and I won’t lock you up
  • Some probation violations occur because of a “false positive” alcohol or drug test
  • In these situations, the lawyer needs to know the science of testing
  • Most probation violations happen because someone “screws up.”
  • The most common “screw ups” are missed tests, positive tests, picking up a new charge, skipping out, or not paying outstanding fines and costs
  • A lawyer has to be able to persuade the Judge to change his or her mind from handing out jail
  • This means being able to explain non-compliant behavior in terms other than just blowing off what the Judge had ordered
  • Where a case is pending has a lot to do with it; some courts are much tougher than others
  • When I speak with a new client, I can usually give a pretty good idea of what will happen
  • The result we’re looking for is to avoid incarceration and avoid getting “hammered” with sanctions
  • Sometimes, the Judge can be persuaded to just “restart” things from square one