Articles Posted in Driver’s License Restoration

The previous articles in what I’ve been calling this “loose series” (LS) about the the Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance process have covered just about every step, from my first meeting (LS1) with a new client, the substance use evaluation (LS2), letters of support (LS3), the legal standard of proof by which the evidence is considered (LS4), the hearing officers (LS5), the hearing itself (LS6), and, in our last piece, the preparation for the hearing (LS7). In this segment, I want to look at the kind of license you win when all those steps have been taken, and how that all works. In years past, that would have been almost as easy as saying something like, “You win a restricted license and have to use an ignition interlock for at least a year.” While that is still mostly true today, there is a whole range of licenses, time requirements, and some other things that are key to understanding what kind of license you win back.

UIqTR7PU-300x300To keep this as simple as possible, and before we get into anything else, let’s clarify the most common situation: if you lost your license for multiple DUI’s and are currently revoked, there is only ONE kind of license you can get at first, and that’s a restricted license requiring use of an ignition interlock. In other words, The Michigan Secretary of State, through its Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) cannot, and therefore will not, no matter what anyone else tells you otherwise (I’m 100% right and anyone who says differently is 100% wrong) start you out with a “full” license. You must first drive for at least a year on a restricted license with an ignition interlock installed in your vehicle. There are no exceptions to this whatsoever.

Things are different, for example. when someone is currently driving on a restricted license through a sobriety court program. The legal distinction there is that such a person’s license is no longer revoked, and that the person must drive for at least a year (or the length of the sobriety court program, whichever is longer) on that restricted license before he or she can try and get a “full” license. However, even someone who has previously won a restricted license, only to lose it for something like an ignition interlock violation (and even if that person had the interlock for more than a year) will have to start all over again with a restricted license and an interlock unit for at least a year. Now, let’s see how that works…

The “meat and potatoes” of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case requires proving that you’ve quit drinking and will remain sober. In this article, I want to explore that in a way that makes sense to those readers who have made the transition from drinker to non-drinker. Many sober people simply “put the plug in the jug,” so to speak, and then get on with life, too busy to think about all this. Instead, these folks  “just do it” and move forward. Given that most of my clients are NOT active in AA, there is often little reason to sit down and analyze one’s own recovery, as opposed to just getting on with it. What I want to make clear here that, for as complicated as a license appeal and all this sobriety stuff can be, if you have genuinely quit drinking, then that’s all you need, and I can win your license back, guaranteed.

Sobriety-2-270x300The 2 main issues to be proven in a license appeal are, first, that your alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning that you have been sober for a certain minimum period of time, and second, that it is “likely to remain under control,” which essentially means that you’re a safe bet to never drink again. From a purely legal point of view, the hearing officers who decide these cases must (and do) know about addiction and alcohol problems, and understand some basic points about the diagnosis of and recovery from them. In other words, they need to know about recovery. Knowing about something, however, is different from just knowing it. Each and every one of us knows about different races of people, but none of us knows what it’s like to be of a different race. The world’s foremost expert on cancer knows more about it than anyone, but he or she will never really know cancer without actually getting the disease. The irony here, and it’s important, is that you don’t need to be an expert in the subject of recovery to have actually gone through it and become sober. For many people, it’s a matter of just putting down the bottle and getting back into the game of life.

A key part of my role as a license restoration lawyer is to help my clients look back on their decision to quit drinking and the profound life changes that followed, and cast those events into the framework of a license appeal in a way that’s understandable to those who know about recovery, but don’t actually know it – the hearing officers. While some people do observe, in the moment, how their lives change as they work to become alcohol-free, others more work more and talk less while just plowing on through it. Either way, once a person has racked up some genuine sober time, it is rather easy to look back and see the stark contrast between how life has become without alcohol, from how it used to be with it. In every case, a sober person’s life does get better, and its trajectory rises dramatically. Sober people get promoted at work, or get better jobs, or complete degrees or other training; they stop wasting money and time on drinking and fixing the problems it creates, and they otherwise experience a huge upgrade in just about every measurable aspect of their lives. This is were we can rather easily sort the cherries from the pits, because anyone who cannot enthusiastically point out how his or her life has improved since quitting drinking isn’t really sober yet. Such a person may be completely abstinent from alcohol, but there is a huge difference between mere abstinence and real sobriety. All sober people are abstinent, but not all abstinent people are sober. Let’s explore this a bit more…

This will be the 7th article in my “loose series” about the Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance process. This short piece will focus on how I prepare my clients for their actual license appeal or clearance hearings before the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS). This may seem to be a case of putting the cart before the horse, because in the previous article, we looked at the hearing itself. However, it occurred to me that in order to explain how I “prep” my clients, I’d first have to explain so much about the hearing itself I’d wind up doing a hack job on both the hearing and the prep session, or otherwise create a really long and hard to follow “twofer” article that would be long and confusing. Now, since I’ve already outlined how the hearing plays out, we can keep things nice and brief and talk about how to get ready for it.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAIAAAAAJDU2YWM5NGMyLTA5NTctNDM0My1hZTY5LTFmOTk4MDY3ZmUyYw-257x300The real key to success in the license restoration process is that we’re telling the truth. This begins from the day I take a case, because I require my clients to be genuinely sober. This lack of BS affects everything we do throughout the case, from our first, 3-hour meeting to the substance use evaluation, through the letters of support, and, ultimately, the hearing itself. It is this true story of your transition from drinker to non-drinker that is the foundation of your appeal.  Getting ready for your hearing is all about this, and not about memorizing stuff that’s not actually part of your recovery. If you don’t attend AA, for example, you don’t have to learn any of it and otherwise pretend that you go. One of the most important parts of your “prep” is reviewing the facts of your case – the reality of how you used to be compared to how you are now – and understanding how they’ll be examined by the particular hearing officer assigned to decide it.

To begin, I have to “prep” myself before I can prep my client. Throughout my time with a client and the file, I will become familiar with his or her story. I am, after all, the person who reads and edits every single support letter. Before I can even think of calling my client to prep him or her for the hearing, I have to memorize the case first. And by “memorize,” I mean just that. It’s not enough for me to just review a file; I have to re-read every word of the evaluation and the letters or support. I have to remember your sobriety date (even if you don’t) and know who wrote your letters and what they said in them. Then I have to think about the hearing officer assigned to your case and how he or she will likely perceive all of that information, and the kinds of questions he or she will ask, or want asked. Only then will I know how the hearing will play out, and only then will I be able to call you and get you ready for what is going to happen.

This will be the next article in what I’ve been calling a “loose series” (LS) about the Michigan driver’s license restoration process. In the last installment, we examined the people who actually decide whether or not you get your license back – the hearing officers. In this piece, we’ll examine the hearing itself, and thereafter follow that up with another post about preparing for it. In the real world, the prep session takes place before the hearing, but here, as we set out to explain things, it makes more sense to describe the proceeding itself and then look at how we’ll get ready for it. In keeping with the “lite” spirit of this series, we’ll skip doing any in-depth analysis, especially since I have already done multiple detailed examinations of every step in the license appeal process in many of the many of the nearly 400 other driver’s license restoration articles I’ve written and published on this blog, and instead, do more of an overview.

c1_859248_160210175039_620x413-300x270Before we get to the actual hearing, let’s dispel a common misconception about it. Yes, the hearing is important, but it is not the “moment of truth” some people make it out to be. In fact, you’ve pretty much either won or lost your case by the time you show up at the hearing office. If your documentary evidence (substance use evaluation and letters of support, amongst other things) is lacking or you have otherwise not submitted a winning appeal on paper, there’s nothing that can happen at the hearing to make up for that. On the flip side, though, if you’ve done everything right (in terms of submitting good evidence), then winning your hearing really requires little more than showing up and telling the truth.

And that’s as good a lead in as any to the hearing itself. Think of the hearing as an opportunity to confirm the truth of the evidence submitted in your appeal. Legally speaking, there are 2 key issues in a license appeal: first, that your alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning you can prove a suitable sobriety date, or period of sobriety, and second, that your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that by demonstrating you have the commitment and tools to remain alcohol-free, you’ve shown yourself to be a safe bet to never drink again. Given that your documentary evidence needs to clearly demonstrate both of these things, there really isn’t much more to do at the hearing than corroborate that. This oversimplification, while mostly accurate, does omit the very important observation that the governing rule requires the hearing officer to decide these cases under a negative mandate that provides he or she “…not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence” that his or her alcohol problem is under control, and likely to remain under control.

This piece, like many of my driver’s license restoration articles, was suggested by Ann, my senior assistant, and inspired by our experiences with real life cases in our office. In this installment, we’ll focus on why you should stop waiting to move forward with or otherwise screwing around and trying to save money by filing a do-it-yourself license appeal. Instead, it’s probably high time for you to just step up, pay up, and finally get back on the road. The week this article was written, I had just hired by a fellow who has tried on his own (and unsuccessfully) for over 10 years to win a clearance of the Michigan hold on his driving record and finally decided to get professional help. Whatever his worries before, I’m sure it helped that I guarantee to win every license restoration and clearance case I take. Here’s how Ann summarized this in her email to me: “Sometimes in life you just need to put some cash out it where it will serve you best in the long run. Guy has spent 10 years on his own trying to get his license back  and still can not win. But would spend tons to drink or on a car he cannot drive? Ummmmm.”

Are-You-Still-Waiting-to-Get-Started-with-Content-Marketing-285x300In exchange for the fee I charge for my license restoration services – and this is important – they come with a guarantee to win. When I take your case, you WILL get your license back. The only condition, and this one is non-negotiable, is that you must be genuinely sober. There is a lot more to this than just money, however. Attitude matters, and it start with acceptance of how things work. In another article I wrote some time ago (also at my senior assistant’s suggestion), I explained that if you want to win your license back, you have to stop trying to fight the system and learn to go with the flow. The procedures established by the Michigan Secretary of State and implemented by its Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) are what they are, and no amount of complaining is going to change them. The state has specific steps you must take, and if you want to get your license back, then you’re going to follow them. Over the course of my career, I have had more crazy emails and phone calls than you can imagine. I’ve heard it all – people want to sue the state, go to federal court, argue the constitution, and argue that it’s illegal for the state to require them to not drink as a condition of winning back their license, just to name a few. Those are all losing bets. You either do what the state requires, or you don’t drive. Whether you like it or not, the first step to getting back behind the wheel is accepting the simple fact that the rules are the rules, and you’re going to have to follow them to have any chance of winning.

Here’s 2 more bitter pills to accept: If you’re not legally eligible to file a license appeal, then there is nothing you can do but wait. It’s not that the state doesn’t care about how much you need a license, it’s that there is no mechanism for it to care. If you crawled out of the desert after 3 days with no water, were about to die of dehydration, and stood in front of a vending machine selling bottled water, it simply could not “care” about your situation. You either put your dollar in the slot, or you get no water. Ditto for the state. As one hearing officer says, “Everybody ‘needs’ a license,” but that’s not any part of the process to get one back. I do care, however, and if you are legally (and practically eligible) and you’ve honestly quit drinking, I will put all the care necessary into making sure we do everything right in your case to win it the first time around, guaranteed.

This article was suggested by Ann, my senior assistant, as a short follow up to my last piece, “Hire the best Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer,” in which I asked (and hopefully answered) the question “why hire me?”  Ann, who spends her entire workday dealing with driver’s license restoration and DUI issues, is, of course, a bit biased.  She directly fields calls from other lawyers who need help dealing with driver’s license issues.  Heck, I’ve been thanked by some of those lawyers for the help she provided to them.  She knows that, with this blog, and my website, and 12 or more appeal hearings I hold every month – all covered by a first time win guarantee, we are the best, and set the gold standard for license restoration and clearance cases.  Thus, Ann suggested  2 reasons why people don’t hire me: either it’s the money, or they’re not ready.

1stlogo-300x257I’m not cheap.  Sure, you can pay less, but you can also pay more for a license appeal.  Whatever else, you absolutely cannot do better.  I guarantee to win every case I take, but even that assurance, by itself, doesn’t even begin to define the quality of my license appeal representation.  More than any lawyer out there, I love this line of work.  I am consumed by the cases I take, and throw myself headlong into them.  I earn my money, not just by the results I produce, but through the effort I put in to achieve them.  To be completely honest about it, there’s not much intrinsic reward for handling a criminal or DUI charge.  A driver’s license restoration or clearance case, however, is completely different.  In fact, there is no practice (at least that I know of) a lawyer can have that’s anywhere near as rewarding as winning back the ability to drive for people who have done the work to become non-drinkers and gone through the profound life changes required to get sober.  Here, my efforts are frequently met with tears of joy and genuine expressions of gratitude.  My clients deserve to win, and it’s great reward to make that happen.  This reinforces a true passion for my work.  At the heart of my passion is the unique mix of legal, clinical and communication abilities that I bring to the table.  And before you pass that off as a bunch of hot air, let me be very specific about what that means, and how it comes together to get you back on the road.

In terms of being a driver’s license restoration lawyer, I am as good as it gets.  There may be a few old hands out there who “know” as much as I do about the legal process, but in that sense, I belong to a group that is smaller than a handful.  There is really nothing about the license appeal process that I don’t know well, or haven’t worked through before.  I do more cases in any given month than most lawyer will do in a year, and in the course of any given year, I will have handled more cases than any group of lawyers will in an entire career.  Now, multiply that by more than 25 years.  But that’s not even the half of it, because I am the ONLY lawyer I know to have a clinical substance abuse background, much less to have completed a post-graduate (as opposed to undergraduate) program of addiction studies.  Because of my unique practice (DUI and license restoration), I have, on a professional level, dealt with alcohol (and drug) issues all day, every day for my whole career.  Personally, I have had to deal with these same issues across the broad spectrum of family and friends, as well, and I know this stuff from the outside looking in, the inside looking out, and every other perspective in-between.  In a field like license restorations, where main focus is the diagnosis, treatment and recovery from alcohol problems, having a clinical background in those very things is helpful, useful and provides an decided advantage in every single case.  I have, quite literally, learned and then forgotten things (like theories of addiction) that most people have never even heard about.

No one publishes as much information about the Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance process as I do on this blog.  Although I’ve resisted for a while, I’m doing this very short article about why you should hire me for your license appeal case at the urging of my own staff and some friends who have convinced me that it needs to be done.  I am, by nature, an explainer.  I’m also diplomatic, polite, and while confident, relatively modest, as well.  I know that my library of articles has become a resource for lawyers to learn.  I am well aware that since I began publicizing my practice, a whole group of driver’s license restoration legal operations has come into existence, marketing themselves as some kind of specialists in my field.  I have answered countless emails and phone calls from and helped other lawyers who have found themselves “stuck” on some part of the license restoration process.  This does not trouble me because, when all is said and done, I know that, by far, I am best.  I am the guy who wrote (and is still writing) the book on this subject, and that in the course of any given year, I win more license appeals than anyone, and probably more than 10 times over what all of them put together ever will.  It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and while that’s true, just like a Rolex watch, a fake is just never as good as the real thing.  I am the original, and therefore the real thing.  Nobody does license cases like I do.

https://www.michigancriminaldefenselawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/286/2017/07/hire-2.0-256x300.jpgHere’s a hard fact: I have been hired to fix up and win the cases lost by just about every lawyer out there, but no one has ever had to do the same for me because I don’t lose.  In fact, not only do I win virtually every case I take the first time around, I actually guarantee to do just that.  Chances are, if you talk to any lawyer about license restorations, he or she has learned something about the process from this blog.  Yet for all the bragging I can do about being the first, the best, the original and the single biggest source of information about license appeals, what really sets me apart from everyone else is my fundamental understanding of recovery.  I know all about what it’s like to go from drinker to non-drinker from the outside looking in, the inside looking out, and every perspective in-between.  Beyond that, I have completed a formal, post-graduate program of addiction studies, and have a full academic and clinical understanding of the development, diagnosis and treatment of addiction issues.

And if all that sounds too diplomatic, it means that in the world of license restoration and clearance cases, where the development, diagnosis, treatment of and recovery from alcohol problems is the entire focus, I am the foremost expert on the subject, by about a million miles.  Period.  No one else comes close.  And this, in turn, explains why I guarantee to win every case I take.  Of course, everybody wants to win, and paying for anything less than a guaranteed victory doesn’t make any sense to me, but there’s more to it than just winning.  When you sit across the table from me, you’ll see my passion for what I do.  My drive to win isn’t just about not losing, its about helping people.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING a lawyer can do is as rewarding as helping someone get what they deserve, and for which they have worked so hard.  If you’ve lost your license for multiple DUI’s and put in all the effort to get sober, you deserve to win it back.  To this day, my eyes still moisten when I sit next to a client and he or she chokes up with gratitude after hearing they’ve won.  In fact, that just happened the very day this article was written; I had won my client’s case the first time around, and today’s hearing was to finish the job and get his “full” license without the interlock or restrictions.  When the hearing officer congratulated him and announced her (winning) decision, his voice cracked and his eyes welled up with tears of joy, and I felt a lump rise in my throat, too.  I hope the day never comes when I don’t share in the joy of winning, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that, after more than 25 years of doing this, since it hasn’t stopped so far, I don’t have to worry about becoming jaded anytime soon.

When you file a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, it will ultimately be a hearing officer from the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) who decides whether you win or lose.  The hearing officer is, therefore, critically important.  In this article, the next in my loose series (LS) about the license restoration process, we’ll pick up from the last installment, where we looked at the standard of proof and examined how the evidence submitted in a license appeal case is evaluated, and what level it must reach.  Here, we’ll look at the people who evaluate that evidence and determine if it hits the required level.  I’ve already written numerous articles for this blog that explore the role of the hearing officers and who they are, so we’ll keep this one short by not repeating too much of what’s already been covered there.

Gavel-main-300x253If there’s any kind of starting point to all this, it’s that every hearing officer is unique.  Someday, in the future, with the rise of artificial intelligence, it may be a robot doctor that diagnosis and treats your ailment, and a robot mechanic that repairs your self-driving car, and, by that time, robot Judges and hearing officers that evaluate evidence and decide cases.  The thing is, when that happens, there will be no individuality in terms of how Judges and hearing officers actually think about things.  Until then, the human touch will be part of every license appeal decision, and I firmly believe that’s a good thing.  I believe that so strongly that I have NEVER even considered doing a video hearing in any of my cases, although it would be a lot more convenient for me to just travel 5 minutes to the nearest video location, rather than having to drive an hour each way to do it live.  I truly believe that it is vitally important that the hearing officer be able to look right into my client’s eyes and read his or her body language during the hearing.  That authentic human quality, does, however, come with an unavoidable element of inconsistency (something that will, for better – and probably for worse, as well – be lost in the age of artificial intelligence).  Fortunately, because I know these hearing officers very well, I can effectively neutralize that problem because of the consistent and regular experience I have appearing before them.

To be sure, there are certain “core” issues that concern all hearing officers equally, and there is a fairly large group of the same questions that will be asked by, or for each.  And if that last sentence is confusing, then the explanation brings us to a key point about the uniqueness of the hearing officers.  All of my cases are heard in the Livonia Office of Hearings and Appeals, where there are 5 hearing officers.  Within that group, 3 of the 5 want the lawyer to ask all of the questions and essentially “run the show” at the hearing, while the other 2 hold a more traditional, old-school hearing wherein the lawyer sets thing up by asking a few questions, and then kind of steps aside for the hearing officer to ask most of the questions him or herself.  Yet even within that rather broad landscape, I need to know what kinds of questions each of the 3 “you do it” hearing officers wants asked, and then make sure to ask them.

In the previous articles in what I’m calling this “loose series” (LS) about Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, we began with my first meeting with a new client, moved on to the substance use evaluation (SUE), and, most recently, covered the letters of support.  In this installment, I want to put those things in perspective and examine the standard of proof used by the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) to evaluate that evidence and decide these cases.  In other words, I want to look at specifically how these cases win or lose.  The SUE and support letters have to meet certain criteria (think of it as reaching a certain level), to be good enough, so making sure they do is the major part of what we spend 3 hours doing at our first meeting.  This means we need to really understand what that “certain level” is all about.

evidence-263x300Technically speaking, the legal standard used in deciding license appeals is “clear and convincing evidence.”  I’ve provided some rather detailed explanations of what that means in other articles, so we won’t rehash all of it here, except to note that for as complicated a standard as this can be (an old joke is that if you asked 12 Judges what it meant, you’d get 13 opinions), at least within the context of a driver’s license reinstatement case, “clear and convincing” means a lot what it sounds like.  Your evidence needs to be clear, as in leaving the hearing officer with no unanswered questions, and it must be convincing, as in compelling.  Going a long period without any DUI’s or other trouble may support the idea that a person has stopped drinking, but it is hardly clear proof (what if the person was out of the country, or living somewhere remote) and falls far short of compelling, as well (maybe he or she has just been lucky).  When you think “clear and convincing,” you need to think of terms like crushing it, flying colors, or hitting it out of the park.  Clear and convincing is never quiet and unassuming; it’s like that loud friend or relative who can be loud and embarrassing, but still lovable.

That’s not even the half of it, though, because the clear and convincing legal standard doesn’t function by itself.  Instead, that standard is set by the main rule governing license appeals, which specifies that “The hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence, all of the following….”  In other words, this rule commands the hearing officer to NOT grant an appeal unless the person proves the 2 main legal issues (1 – that your alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning you haven’t had a drink for some time, and 2 – that your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that you’re a safe bet to never drink again) by evidence (SUE, support letters and testimony) that rises to the level of “clear and convincing.”  Thus, no matter how sober you may really be, the hearing officer’s job is way more about looking for a reason to deny your appeal than looking at all the reasons to grant it.  This may sound harsh, but, as we’ll see, there’s a good reason for the rule to be so exclusionary.

To file a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), you need to submit certain evidence.  In the last article in what I’m calling this “loose series” (LS) about license appeals, we looked at the substance use evaluation (SUE), and described it as essentially being the foundation of license restoration and clearance cases.  In this piece, we’ll turn to the other major required evidentiary component required in every case, the letters of support.  The SUE and the support letters are almost like bookends in this process, and are the 2 supporting pillars of your case.  As I’ve pointed out in the previous installments, license appeals require proving 2 primary issues: first, that your alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning that you can fix a sobriety date, or a time frame that you’ve been sober, and second, that your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that you can show you’re a safe bet to not drink again.  I often speak of the the second issue as more important, not because it matters more, but rather because it’s somewhat harder to prove.  It’s that fist issue that concerns us here – that you’ve stopped drinking, and it’s the letters of support that are the primary evidence submitted to prove it.

100_4483-300x225In the course of my practice, I review and edit well over 500 letters of support per year.  I can honestly say that over 95% of them need help.  To put this another way, of the 500-plus support letters I read annually, only about 25 (that’s about 2 each month) are good enough “as is.”  As a result, I live in a world surrounded by red pens.  I point this out because there is almost no way for anyone to get the letters “right” without the help of substantial editing.  I provide my clients with a sample or template letter in the folder I give out at our first meeting, but I also explain that all the letters need to come back to me in rough draft form, and that the client should expect all of them returned with suggested edits, usually in red ink.  Getting letters of support in good enough shape to be filed takes a lot of work, and most of it is on my part.  That, of course, is part of what you’re paying for.

It’s much easier to discuss what the letters are not, and should not be, rather than how they should be written.  Besides, it’s no secret that lots of other lawyers use my blog and resources to help with license restoration issues.  I field plenty of calls from attorneys around the state who’ve gotten stuck on some point or other, and while I’m flattered, and glad to help, I’m not about to give away the proprietary formula I use in revising my client’s support letters anymore that Busch’s Baked Beans or KFC is about to give away their secret recipes, either.  The one thing I can say is that if there is any universal constant to that underlying formula, it’s that the letters have to be genuine.  Better letters are better in every sense, and not only stand as support for a person’s sobriety, but often enough either detail a person’s transition from drinker to non-drinker, or, as in the case of someone who didn’t know the person before he or she quit drinking, at least extoll the depth of the person’s commitment to remaining alcohol free.  Good support letters are far more complex than what a college of mine calls “good guy letters.”