In my work as a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, I receive a lot of emails from people who need to win back their driver’s license. Most of these emails provide a quick description of the person’s history, go on to explain that the writer “needs” a license, and then ask, “Can you help me?” The answer is always “Yes,” as long a person is ready, willing and able to move forward with reinstatement of his or her license. For the most part, those people who are really serious about getting back on the road will call my office rather than email; it is well known among lawyers (like me) who maintain a robust web presence that emailers are, as a group, less committed to action than those who pick up the phone and call. I certainly understand (I do it myself) how a person may send an inquiry while in the exploratory and investigative phase of obtaining a clearance or having his or her driver’s license restored. In the real world, however, callers are more likely to be ready to start the license restoration process than emailers, who are typically still in the information-gathering stage. “Ready,” in this sense, is part of being “ready, willing and able,” which, in the context of trying to win your license back, is more accurately stated as “Able, ready and willing.” In this article, we’ll see what that means and why it really summarizes the foundational requirements for anyone looking to have his or her license reinstated.
By law, a person can file for restoration of his or her license, in the case of 2 DUI convictions within 7 years, after 1 year of revocation, and, in the case of 3 DUI convictions within 10 years, after 5 years of revocation. Doing the math here isn’t that critical, because this information is sent to a person after his or her license is revoked and is also plainly discoverable on the driving record. The point is that there comes a time when a person becomes legally eligible to file a license appeal. Under the rules governing license appeals, even though a person may be eligible to file, he or she must also meet certain criteria to win. For example, those rules provide that under certain circumstances, a hearing officer can, in his or her discretion, order that a license be issued if a person who is otherwise legally eligible proves at least 6 months of continuous abstinence from alcohol. The rules also specify that in most common kind of real-world case, the person must prove at least 12 months of abstinence, although those same rules also give the hearing officer absolute discretion to require even more time. For my part, as a driver’s license reinstatement lawyer who guarantees to win every case I take, I require that a person have even more abstinence than just a year, because I know that, for the most part, it’s a waste of time to try and win a license appeal with just 12 months of abstinence. Thus, we can see the importance of “able” and “ready.”
In the broader context of a Michigan license appeal, the term “able” really means “eligible.” On both the corresponding section of my website and in various of my blog articles, I’ve examined what it means for someone to be legally eligible to file for restoration of a Michigan driver’s license or clearance of a Michigan hold on his or her driving record. To take that one step further, and as I discuss on my site and in those articles, there is a key difference between being legally eligible to merely file a case and being ready (as in legally ready) to win it. Let’s explore this further, because it makes all the difference between winning and losing…
Here is an actual email I received the day before this article was drafted, reprinted exactly as it displayed, except that I redacted the personally identifying information:
The following person filled out and has sent you information from a long contact form on www.michigancriminaldefenselawyerblog.com:
From Page: Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog
Name: kevin ******
Comments: Can you help me if I have a suspended pa licence so I can get a michigan licence my fines there are mostly driving on a suspended licence and I think 1 dui I have been in michigan since July of 2010 I have been free of drinking since I have lived here I am now on disability due to my health if you can please help me thank you in advance
From Page URL: https://www.michigancriminaldefenselawyerblog.com/category/driver-s-license-restoration-out-of-state-issues
In this situation, the writer is not “able” to proceed, and, therefore, is not ready, either. Although my restoration practice concentrates almost exclusively on cases involving the revocation of Michigan driving privileges for multiple DUI’s and his predicament does not involve that, we can still use this inquiry as a working example. Being “ready,” in the world of license appeals, is often interchangeable with “able,” although being ready means being both eligible and also having everything in order to begin the license appeal process, as well. This emailer, for example, may (or may not) be willing to do what’s necessary to clear up his license issues, because doing so will require him to first deal with the State of Pennsylvania. However, simply because he is not able, legally speaking, to do anything, I replied that I could not help him:
Unfortunately, any outstanding suspensions or revocations must be cleared in their state of origin. Michigan will not give you a license if you have a hold from PA, and vice-versa.
In a general sense, then, “able” generally equates to legally eligible, and “ready” more or less means meeting the criteria as they’re specified in the rules and in the way they’re applied by the hearing officers. While it may at first seem that “willing” to win your license back means the same thing as wanting to win it back, the two things are really quite different. “Willing” means that you have done the things necessary to be in a position to win it back, and, for all that we could say about that, it really all boils down to being sober. A person who is “willing” to take the steps necessary to win back his or her license is, first and foremost, a person who was willing to quit drinking. The decision to quit drinking is not an easy one, and the transition from drinker to non-drinker requires profound life changes. A person can quit drinking (for a while) for any of a number of reasons, but to make that stick and stay sober requires a willingness to change just about every aspect of one’s life. Anyone who is in recovery understands how different life is now from how it used to be. That is really the essence of a license appeal.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve written a number of rather long, in-depth articles. I wanted this one to be a change of pace. I could probably turn this article into another multi-part treatise, because just about every topic I’ve touched upon (needing a license, legal eligibility, enough abstinence, sobriety, hearing officers, etc.) is the basis for an article in its own right. In fact, I have already written a lot on each and every one of those topics. The takeaway here is that when someone writes and asks if I can help them, the answer is always a qualified “yes.” You must be ready, willing and able, or, as we’ve seen, able, ready and willing. We’ve clarified that “able” means legally eligible, “ready” means that you’ve accumulated enough abstinence to meet the real-world requirements to win, and “willing” means that your abstinence isn’t just about you refraining from drinking, but rather the by-product of your decision to get and remain sober. In other words, I can help you get back on the road if you’re legally eligible and have been sober long enough.
If you’re looking for help, then you’ve come to the right place. Check around this blog. I have more relevant information here than you can find everywhere else combined. I eat, sleep and drink license appeals. If you are sober, and even if you aren’t yet “able” or “ready” to proceed, it’s only a matter of time until you can and really win back your license. If you haven’t yet quit drinking, maybe I can say something that helps tips the scales in favor of you deciding to finally do so. If I take your case, I guarantee my results. If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office during regular business hours. We’re open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST) and can be reached at 586-465-1980. We’re here to help…