As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we hear a lot of the same things over and over again, like how badly people need a license, or how they haven’t been in trouble for a long time. In this article, I want to explain why merely staying out of trouble is far from enough to win a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, specifically because the main focus in these cases is on a person’s relationship to alcohol (and drugs), both past and present.
The key to winning a license appeal is proving that you have been alcohol and drug-free for a legally “sufficient” period of time, and are a safe bet to never drink or use drugs again. To put this another way, the state’s first and primary concern about anyone who files a license appeal is that there has been a long enough period of time since his or her last drink (and/or last drug use), and that the person has the ability and commitment to remain alcohol (and drug) free for life. Not having been in any kind of legal trouble is completely irrelevant to that.
In fact, our office is regularly contacted by people whose last brush with the law was 5, 10 or even 20 or more years ago, often at the time of their last DUI. After essentially saying something that amounts to “that’s nice,” we then go on to ask how long it’s been since their last drink (or use of any drugs), because that is the main inquiry the state is going to have. And to be clear, “drugs” includes marijuana, whether used medically or recreationally.