In our roles as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we hear a lot about other lawyers with whom our clients have spoken regarding license appeals before calling us. We are often told how much our guarantee mattered to some of the people who ultimately become our clients. More than just assuring a winning result, though, our guarantee is symbolic of the higher level of service we provide throughout the entire license appeal process that sets us apart from those other lawyers. At a minimum, I couldn’t imagine not standing behind our work and guaranteeing to win every initial license restoration and clearance case we accept.
Why should anyone risk their money on some lawyer or firm without enough confidence to assure success? Driver’s license restoration and clearance cases are very different from other areas of law, where there can be no guarantees. In a perfect world, a guarantee such as ours wouldn’t be anything special. Instead, it would be a “given,” and serve as a starting point from which a potential client could begin to compare lawyers, Rather than standing out for having a guarantee, like we do, attorneys taking license restoration cases would stand out for NOT having one. That’s not how things, are however, and our guarantee does stand out.
At the end of the day, our guarantee also serves as a quality control measure. It means that it goes against our interests to simply tell people what they want to hear and take any old case. In fact, having a guarantee means we often have to tell people exactly what they don’t want to hear; that we won’t take their case because they’re not yet eligible or otherwise ready to win a license appeal case. Having a guarantee not only protects the client from risking his or her money on merely taking a “shot” at winning a driver’s license appeal, but it also gives us reason to avoid taking any cases that we aren’t sure we can make into a winner. And to be clear, we earn our living by winning these cases the first time around, not doing warranty work.
This goes way beyond “protection,” though; our guarantee is just the first part of a better way of doing license appeals. You won’t find us driving all over the state, taking any and every kind paying case that comes our way. Instead, we are genuine driver’s license restoration lawyers, and these cases are the foundation of our practice. Whatever else, we’re not just some lawyers that “do” license appeal cases; our job is to do things right the first time, not do them over.
We eat, sleep and drink this stuff.
In that regard, our help and guidance doesn’t end once we win someone’s license back. For those who live in Michigan and therefore must use an ignition interlock for the first year, we want to make sure that they understand where to get it (we highly recommend Nationwide Interlock), and, just as much, where not to go, as some providers seem to have a lot of problems. We know these things because we deal with them every single day.
Beyond that, we are there to explain the legal implications of proper interlock use to our clients, and, just as important, want them to know that we’re always here, should they run into any problems. In fact, there have been plenty of cases where we have gotten involved to help our clients “head off” an interlock violation, thereby sparing them from not only having their license re-revoked, but also from having to hire us to handle a Michigan Secretary of State violation hearing.
More than anything, our goal is to win back the ability to drive again for those people who have honestly quit drinking. To do this, we must screen every potential client (this is all done over the phone) to make sure he or she meets the Michigan Secretary of State’s requirements. Our approach to license restoration (and DUI) cases is recovery-based, so we know what to look for in order to sort out those who have really quit drinking from those who try to BS their way through the door by just saying so.
For my part, beyond law school and having a practice that primarily works with an addicted and recovering population, and more than knowing about addiction and recovery from the inside looking out, as well as the outside looking in, I have completed a formal, University, post-graduate program of addiction studies. My team and I truly believe that, sometimes, the very best thing we can do for a person is just say the one thing that sticks in his or her head, and ultimately helps him or her not pick up another drink or use again.
In our areas of practice, our goal is to help the person every bit as much as we can help their legal situation.
I have long believed that even if a lawyer learns every legal nuance of the license appeal process, he or she is really only half as good as they’d be if they also had a fundamental understanding of the development, diagnosis, and treatment of alcohol and drug problems. I can’t imagine considering one’s self a complete driver’s license restoration lawyer without having a real understanding of recovery, and the many recovery processes by which people can and do get better.
It’s because we understand, for example, above and beyond all the legal stuff – that a person can decide to quit drinking because they just “know” it’s time, and how, for every person who thrives in AA, there are 3 or 4 who don’t and who find “help” elsewhere, and how a relapse can be the most powerful teacher a person can have – that we also know how to guarantee to win every initial license restoration and clearance appeal case we take.
License appeals require proving 2 key things: First, that a person has been abstinent from alcohol for a “sufficient” period of time (usually never less than 18 months), and, second, that he or she is a safe bet to never drink again. Therefore, really understanding sobriety, and how people get and stay sober, is at the heart of properly handling and winning these cases.
When I hear of some lawyer who says that a person must be in AA to win his or her license back, I also know 2 things: first, that the lawyer is dead wrong about the legal process, and second, that the lawyer doesn’t have a clue about recovery. Unfortunately, there are some attorneys out there who hold these completely mistaken and outdated beliefs.
Often enough, we’re asked by a caller if he or she should begin going to AA. Our answer is always something like “Do you think you need to go for yourself, or is this about trying to ‘look good’ for a license appeal?”
Think about it; if some lawyer goes along with the idea that a person should go to AA for any reason other than to honestly help him or herself, it means he doesn’t understand anything about recovery, in general, or AA, in particular. It also means he or she is okay with trying to BS their way through a license appeal. Not only is that unethical, but that’s EXACTLY what the hearing officers look out for.
In other words, if a person is maintaining his or her sobriety without AA, then it’s wrong on multiple levels to start going to meetings just to “look good” for a license appeal.
First, it’s wrong to do that to the other people in AA. It’s one thing to go under court order, but once a person is no longer obligated to go, the only reason he or she should attend is because they want to.
Second, it’s wrong to undertake a license appeal while misrepresenting one’s recovery. Even if a person maintains his or her sobriety by doing some kind of “sober yoga,” and that works for him or her, then we’ll go with that. If a person does nothing, other than enjoy life without alcohol, then we’ll go with that, too.
I’ve won cases for people who have never gone to a single AA meeting, and/or counseling session, and/or education program. I distinctly remember winning a license appeal for a man who never did anything beyond having attended 1 single Victim Impact Panel nearly 20 years earlier, and I remember winning for a guy whose entire program of recovery involved “bibliotherapy,” meaning that all he ever did was read about quitting drinking and staying sober.
In all these cases, what really mattered is that we went forward and told the truth. I think it’s critically important to be able to look the hearing officer in the eye, mean what you say, and be honest. For my part, I’ll stand behind my client with everything I have, guarantee in hand, when I know they’re being truthful.
Because my team and I understand all the twists and turns of the license appeal process, and because we also understand all the ways people can get sober, we are able to sort out those who can win from those who aren’t ready yet. This enables us to guarantee success in every initial license restoration and clearance appeal we take.
Because we have a guarantee on the line, it also motivates us to make sure we do everything right the first time, so we don’t have to do it over a second time.
At the end of the day, it is our goal to do things better, and to be the very best firm a person can hire for a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal. Having a guarantee certainly sets us apart, but as I hope I’ve shown, we use that guarantee, not just as the bottom line, but as a starting point for making sure the level of service we provide is the best possible. All we need is a client who has honestly quit drinking, and we can make his or her case a winner.
If you’re looking to hire a lawyer for a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, do your homework. Read around. Discover how other lawyers explain the process, and how they explain themselves. When you’re ready, start checking around. All of our consultations are free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call. My team and I are very friendly people who will be glad to answer your questions and explain things. We can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST), at either 248-986-9700, or 586-465-1980.