In part 1 of this article, we begin an examination of how, as a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I do driver’s license restoration appeals. The focus here is on what a client coming to my office can expect to happen, and how my methods are intertwined with the rules and procedures prescribed by the Michigan Secretary of State and it’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), the body that actually decides these cases. I think it is important to note that my way of doing thing is not only the product of extensive experience (I don’t think there is a lawyer in Michigan who has done nearly half as many license appeals as I have), but also comes with a guarantee to win. Yet for all of that, the key to every license restoration or clearance case is that you must be genuinely sober. In this second part, I want to pick up where we left off, with the letters of support, and work our way to and through the hearing itself.
I start work on the letters of support once I have received the completed substance abuse evaluation from the evaluator because experience has taught me that they should be reviewed as part of the whole or the (big picture), so to speak – rather than read in isolation. Even the smallest thing that’s overlooked in a case can ruin it, and there is just no way to keep track of those things by editing the letters one at a time, or in the absence of all the information in the evaluation itself. To do this right, there is no rushing things. It has long been my policy that I will only start work on a file when I have the time to open and finish it in one sitting. In other words, I will never begin working on a file if there is any chance that I may be interrupted or otherwise called away, because that break in my concentration introduces a risk that I may miss something, like even the tiniest inconsistent detail. In addition, I never work on a file just to “get it done.” I need to be fresh, and have sharp eyes. In the publication week of this article, for example, I have 6 license appeal hearings. On top of all my regular court and office work, this means that I have 6 nearly 1-hour “prep sessions” to do with each of my clients. My preps are usually done after regular business hours (again, I don’t want to be distracted or interrupted during such an important task; when I’m on the phone, I like to be in a concentration zone where my client and I are the only 2 people in the whole world). With this week’s schedule, there will be no time this coming week where I’ll be dynamic enough to review any letters. Fortunately, I caught up on all of them last week.
Thus, all the letters on any particular file are edited in one sitting. When the letters of support have been finished, they’ll be sent back to the client so they can be re-typed and notarized. The client then gets them back to me, and, at that point, we file the case. This is also when the second payment is due. I have all of my cases scheduled for a live, in-person hearing at the Michigan Secretary of State’s Livonia office of hearings and appeals. To me, it is critically important that we personally appear in front of the hearing officer, rather than doing it by video. While we’re on the subject of the things I never do, I never call witnesses, either. Out of the last 500 or so hearings I’ve done, I have only called 1 witness, and that was an exceptional and highly unusual circumstance involving an ignition interlock violation appeal. As a rule, witnesses are always a mistake, and an amateur one, at that. Once the case has been filed, it can take up to 12 weeks for us to receive notice of a hearing date, which usually takes place about 2 weeks later. All said and done, it runs about 14 weeks from the time we file everything until we’re sitting in front of the hearing officer.