Articles Posted in Driver’s License Restoration – Out of State Issues

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my pre-hearing “prep-session” that I have before every driver’s license restoration or clearance hearing I handle.  I do these preps with all of my clients, and feel that it is not only key to my success, but also helps alleviate much of my client’s pre-hearing stress.  It’s normal, as the hearing date approaches, for a person to be apprehensive and nervous, so I want to help my client gain a sense of calm, and confidence.  When I’m done, beyond merely having made my client ready for the hearing, I will have also demystified the whole hearing process for him or her so that they understand there’s no real reason to be fearful.  It is important that when my client walks into the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) hearing room, he or she knows exactly what to expect.  Equally important is that my client has the security of knowing he or she doesn’t have to remember any sketchy details of some kind of BS story, because we’re going in to tell the truth.

Prep1-300x217As much as preparing for the hearing is really about the client, and for all it involves, the process begins with me reviewing his or her file.  I chose those last few words carefully, because although it would almost sound the same had I written “…reviewing the file,” I never lose sight of the fact, and I have to  make sure the hearing officer also never fails to understand, that the decision he or she will be making is about a person, and not just a “file.”  It can be easy, in larger, institutional settings, to think of a person as being synonymous with his or her case, or file.  Dan the Driver may have license appeal case number 123456, but what’s inside that file is all about a 3-dimensional person (Dan), and equate to a lot more than just a 2-dimensional stack of papers.  When I open a client’s file for prep review, I read every last thing in it, and take the time to memorize it.  As someone’s lawyer, I not only need to have instant recall of every bit of evidence in the case, but also how that 2-dimensional evidence fits into the context of my client’s 3-dimensional life.  Before I pick up the phone to call my client, I will not only have memorized his or her case, but also how it reflects his or her individual and personal recovery story.

This matters beyond just sounding like some kind of good “We care about you!” sales pitch.  Thorough hearing prep requires a hell of a lot more than just some generic “heads up” about the kinds of questions that will be asked.  All of my hearings are held in the Livonia Hearings and Appeals Office, where 5 hearing officers preside.  Each one has his or her own particular concerns about sobriety and the license appeal process.  A key focus of my preparation will not only focus on the particular hearing officer, but the concerns and questions he or she will have about each specific case.  This means that if Sober Sandy’s evidence shows she attended AA while on probation, but no longer goes, the questions she will be asked by one hearing officer about why she no longer attends will be different than the questions put to her by a different hearing officer under those same facts.  And if this isn’t enough, those questions will be different if Sandy has never attended AA, and different still if she claims to currently go to meetings.  The point is that each case is one big set of fluid variables, and the hearing officer is another set of mixed variables, and preparing of a hearing requires me to know all of them first, and then connect those that are going to be relevant.  Anything less is, well, unprepared.

A substantial portion of my driver’s license restoration practice involved obtaining the clearance of a Michigan hold on someone’s driving record that prevents him or her from getting a license in another state.  The very same evidence is submitted to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) for both a clearance and a driver’s license restoration appeal.  Although just about everyone (understandably) wonders about doing an administrative review, often called an “appeal by mail,” most learn that 3 out of every 4 such cases lose, and that a person will have to wait a whole year before he or she can file again.  Those with better luck read and understand this before they try, while the less fortunate have to find out the hard way.  The simple truth is that the best and surest way to win a clearance of the Michigan hold on your driving record is to do a full appeal and come back for a hearing.  For my part, I put my money where my mouth is, because when I take a license clearance and restoration appeal case, I guarantee to win it.

Mitt-276x300There are several reasons why I will only handle these cases for clients who come back to Michigan, despite endless offers to hire me for help with these ill-fated and ever-doomed administrative reviews.  The first is control.  When a client hires me, I control every part of the case, from the preparation to the evidence to the hearing itself.   My clients will go my evaluator to have his or her substance abuse evaluation (technically, it’s called a “substance use evaluation,” but everyone alive calls it a “substance abuse evaluation,” so we’ll just go along with that) completed.  The first meeting with a new client takes about 3 hours in my office, and takes place prior to the evaluation.  In fact, the main point of that meeting is to prepare the client for the evaluation.  If someone wants to have an evaluation completed by some unknown person in another state, I have absolutely no control over any part of that process.  Beyond my input, it takes a LOT of time and effort for a substance abuse counselor to learn to complete the evaluation in the way the hearing officers of the Michigan Secretary of State’s administrative hearing section expect.  Although just about any clinician can look at the form and figure he or she can complete it, there are literally countless little things that are not obvious and that are learned either by direct instruction or, as is usually the case, by getting it wrong the first time.

The reader needs to understand that a winning license appeal takes a lot of experienced effort.  There are no shortcuts to doing things right.  As a driver’s license restoration lawyer, this cannot be done by just sending someone out to “get” an evaluation and then looking things over (including the critically important letters of support) to make sure they’re good enough.  I have to spend the time with and learn about my clients recovery, meaning his or her transition from drinker to non-drinker, at our first meeting.  I also have to try and summarize that whole story within the paperwork I create.  As it goes, every client leaves my office with a packet of information to give to the evaluator, including a form of my own creation called a “Substance Abuse Evaluation Checklist,” a specially marked-up copy of his or her driving record, and any other documents that need to be reviewed by the evaluator before the evaluation is completed.  This is part of that control I have when the client comes to my office first, and then goes to see my evaluator.  It is NOT the evaluator’s job to read your driving record, figure out your conviction history and learn the most details of your recovery story that would be most relevant to the hearing officer.  Instead, it is MY job to make sure that this information is clearly presented to my evaluator, and I do exactly that because of the control I exercise and maintain over the case.

Every day, and probably due in large part to this blog, my office is contacted by lots of people who need to win back their driver’s license.  In this short article, I want to strip away all the complex rules and procedures involved in the license restoration and clearance process and look at the single, core issue that is central to every license appeal – drinking.  If I was asked to explain what driver’s license restoration and clearances were all about in one sentence, I’d say this: To make sure someone convicted of multiple DUI’s can prove that her or she has not had a drink for a few years and has the commitment and tools to never drink again.  That’s the real “meat and potatoes” of it all.

98449071-300x249Everything about losing your license and then getting it back has to do with drinking.  To those who have not truly quit and believe they can safely indulge in adult beverages, the Secretary of State’s requirement that a person prove he or she has been completely abstinent and will remain alcohol-free seems like an obsession.  On the flip side, however, it also seems like an obsession that a person who has lost his or her license for multiple drunk driving convictions is still worried about being able to drink.  Believe me, I’ve heard every argument there is and I’m numb to them all because – and this is the big thing – the deal is that you will never qualify to get your license back until you’ve given up alcohol for good.  I understand how people feel about this, although, truth be told, I side with the state on this one.  The folks who are the best risk to never drink and drive again are those who don’t drink at all.  Opening the door even a little to believe someone who swears that his or her drinking is now under control can never be made to sound like a good idea, not even for a minute.

A long time ago, before I had hundreds and hundreds of driver’s license restoration articles published on my blog (the number stands at over 370 as of this writing), I was probably a bit harder to find on the internet.  A consequence of my consistent writing on this subject is that, to the person searching just about anything related to a Michigan license restoration or clearance issues, I come up pretty highly ranked, and, if you click on any of my stuff, it doesn’t take long to figure out that I’ve written more than just about everyone else combined.  I’m actually proud of that, and believe that as much expertise as I have, the very act of researching and explaining everything logically has made me a better lawyer, as well.  The problem, though, is that many people will automatically find me and conclude that “he’s the guy,” call me, and think that just by offering to pay my fee, they can get back on the road.  It doesn’t work that way.  Sure, I guarantee to win every case I take, but, I ONLY TAKE CASES FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE HONESTLY STOPPED DRINKING.  That’s not a bunch of hot air on my part, either, it’s the whole point of a license appeal, and it is the reason I won’t get involved in a case for anyone who is not genuinely committed to remaining sober.

In the context of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, the most important person, by far, is the hearing officer that will be presiding over your case.  In the prior article about the standard of proof in license reinstatement cases, we examined how the evidence must stack up, and the criteria the hearing officer uses to measure it.  Since it ultimately is the hearing officer that will decide whether your evidence is “clear and convincing” (or not), it helps to more fully understand his or her function in the whole license appeal process.  In this short article, we’ll return to a subject we have not visited for a while – the role of the hearing officer in license restoration and clearance appeal cases.  Although this article stands on its own, I suggest first reading the prior article about the standard of proof, as this and the next article are intended as a kind of loose series.

imagesMany people who hire me to win their license back have tried to appeal before and lost, either on their own, or with some lawyer who probably said that he or she “does” driver’s license restoration cases.  It is normal for someone who has lost to be upset at the hearing officer who denied the appeal, especially if the person is genuinely sober.  This is where you need to understand the hearing officer’s role as directed by his or her employer, the Michigan Secretary of State Administrative Hearing Section.  Granting or denying an appeal isn’t so much about believing that someone is or isn’t sober, but rather determining if the person has submitted proof that meets the clear and convincing evidence standard.  Here, just like in the previous article, we need to understand the directive of the main rule governing license restoration and clearance cases, because it begins with the following mandate, “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…”  The key here is the “shall not” language, because it is a negative instruction to the hearing officer.  The rule does not say, for example, that the hearing officer “can” or “may,” grant the appeal, but rather that he or she “shall not” approve it unless the person trying to win back his or her license proves certain things by what is defined as “clear and convincing evidence.”

It may seem like we’re repeating things from the previous article, but it is critically important to  understand the wording of the rule, because it requires the hearing officer to to deny an appeal absent “clear and convincing evidence.”  The hearing officer isn’t supposed to vacillate between “yes or no,” but rather just think “no” until your evidence makes him or her conclude “yes.”  And as one-sided as this may sound, the hearing officer is the state’s protection against putting someone who is a risk to ever drink again back behind the wheel.  Never lose sight of the fact that the state would rather incorrectly deny 1000 people who are really sober (but came up short in proving that) than it would ever want to put just one risky drinker back on the road.  The 2 key things that must be proven in a license appeal are that the person’s alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning a person can at least reasonably approximate the point at which he or she stopped drinking, and that the person’s alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that the person is a safe bet to never drink again.  In other words, winning a license appeal is about demonstrating that you quit drinking and have the tools and commitment to never drink again, and it is the hearing officer’s job to approve only people who prove that by clear and convincing evidence.  So who are these people…

To win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, you have to prove 2 specific things: First, that your alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning that you can fix a sobriety date, and second, that your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that you are a safe bet to never drink again.  In this article I want to shift the focus from the specific things you have to prove  to how you prove them.  This is called the standard of proof.  Most readers will recognize that, in a criminal case, for example, the standard of proof required to convict someone of a crime is proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  To win a license appeal pending before the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), the body that decides whether you get your license back or not, you must prove your case by what is called “clear and convincing evidence.”  If you read 12 articles about the meaning of “clear and convincing evidence,” you’ll probably get 13 different opinions.  Fortunately, in the context of a license restoration or clearance case, the meaning is pretty straightforward, so this, fortunately, won’t be a long article.

https://www.michigancriminaldefenselawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/286/2017/03/legal-scaled-3.0.jpgBefore we analyze the “clear and convincing evidence” standard of proof, it will be helpful to understand how it’s applied by the AHS hearing officers.  This is not putting the cart before the horse; if one was to examine the rubber composition of car tires, for example, it would be most helpful to understand how they are to be used, because snow tires built to last for several years have a very different application than race car tires designed to last a mere 50 to 100 laps around a track.  In the context of a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, everything is decided under the standard of Rule 13.  We’ll skip all the legal mumbo-jumbo here and go right to the relevant part of what the rule says, and then see what that means in the real world.  Rule 13 begins this way: “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…”  What is significant is that the rule, which really is an instruction to the hearing officer, begins with a NEGATIVE mandate; it tells the hearing officer that he or she “shall not order that a license be issued unless the petitioner (the person trying to win his or her license back) proves (the things required to be proven) by clear and convincing evidence…”

The set-up here is that if you present a case with 99 good reasons why you should win, but there is also 1 good reason why you should not, then you’ll lose.  The hearing officer is essentially being told to look for a reason or reasons to NOT grant the appeal.  Imagine the hearing officer being put in charge of inspecting a submarine to make sure it was okay to go underwater.  Would a report of it’s safety seem “clear and convincing” to you if it came back and said that it was 99% waterproof, except that rivet #299 was missing?  Hell no.  You’d wonder how soon until the passengers drown.  In that same way, the idea of “clear and convincing evidence” in a license appeal means that after the case is presented, the hearing officer should be left with no unanswered question.  “Clear,” in this sense, simply means clear, as in no need for further clarification or explanation.   The real takeaway from that rule is that the hearing officer is directed to make sure the case, as presented, is air-tight.

In this short article, I want to examine how I do license reinstatement cases for out-of-state residents who need clearance of a Michigan hold upon their driving record. In the previous article, I explained how I do driver’s license restorations for Michigan residents.  Here, we’ll look at how I use that same process, in a slightly modified way, for people who live elsewhere.  In terms of the restoration of a Michigan driver’s license, proving sobriety is the absolute key to success in any case where a person’s license has been revoked for multiple DUI convictions.  Given a genuinely sober client, I guarantee to win the clearance of Michigan Secretary of State’s hold in the same way that I guarantee a win in every driver’s license restoration case I take.  Pushing aside all the legal mumbo-jumbo, there is a very simple litmus test to determine who makes the cut: If you have really quit drinking, then you know how very different your life is today than it was back then.  The transition from drinker to non-drinker is profound, and it affects pretty much everything, from the way you feel physically, emotionally and even spiritually, to who is a part of your life and how you get along with them, and even your financial well-being.  If this describes you, then you’re in.  If not, then we’ve got to get you there.

michigan-clip-art-cliparts-co-LK0ivT-clipart-292x300As part of the metamorphosis that one goes through while getting sober, people sometimes move out of state.  While some leave to take advantage of better opportunities (and often better weather; 3 of the 6 license appeal hearings I held the week this article was written were for people who had moved to warmer climates), some people move in order to get away from bad influences, or to start fresh.  For all the things one can leave behind, however, the revocation of a Michigan driver’s license or driving privileges is not one of them, and it will follow, thereby preventing a person from getting a new license in another state.  Once in a while, I’ll encounter someone who was lucky enough to get an out-of-state license years ago, but cannot now renew it because he or she has finally been snared by the National Driving Register (the official NDR is the National Driving Register, not the similarly, but deceptively named commercial website using the name “National Driving Registry”).  At the end of the day, however, the fix to get back on the road remains here in Michigan, so let’s see how I make it happen.

The reader should first read both part 1 and part 2 of the previous article about how I do Michigan driver’s license restoration appeals.  Quite literally, everything in those articles applies here except the timing of the substance abuse evaluation.  In fact, the ONLY difference between the way I do license restoration cases for Michigan residents and clearance cases for those who now live out of state is that when people come from far away to see me (even those who live in Michigan), we always arrange it so that they have their substance abuse evaluation scheduled for that same day, and will leave our first appointment and go directly to the evaluator’s office.  Beyond the “how” I do this way is the all-important reason of why I do it this way…

As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I receive tons of emails from people who want to win back their driver’s license, or who need a clearance of Michigan’s hold on their driving record so they can get (or renew) a license out of state.  Many of these email messages are long, and recount the history of a person’s DUI convictions, and/or go on to explain how much they need a driver’s license.  As I read them, my eyes are searching for one thing – mention of sobriety.  All to often, people who send me a long story without any mention of quitting drinking or sobriety don’t pan out to be good candidates to win a license restoration or clearance appeal case.  The point I really want to make in this short and simple article is that sobriety is the absolute first and most important thing –  the real “meat and potatoes” – of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or out-of-state clearance case.

qwd-202x300I have written more about the license appeal process than everything else out there combined.  I haven’t seen much about the sobriety requirement on other legal websites.  By contrast, you would have to try hard to miss it on my site or in any of my articles.  Even the quickest glance at my stuff makes clear that you must have quit drinking in order to win a license appeal.  I provide a first time win guarantee in every case I take.  Yet even in the relevant (although short) guarantee sections of my website, I make clear that sobriety is a non-negotiable requirement.  Experience has convinced me that some people just look at the sheer volume of information I have put out about driver’s license appeals and just figure, “he’s the guy,” without taking the time to read any of my stuff.  If they did, they’d see how I put sobriety front and center in everything.  The only thing I can figure is that some people simply define sobriety differently.  This is an important point because, legally speaking, there is no flexibility here:  The rule set forth by the Michigan Secretary of State, through its Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) states that a license appeal “shall not” be granted unless the person proves that his or her alcohol problem is “under control” and, more important, is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that a person is a safe bet to never drink again.

There is no room in here for the misguided idea of having the occasional drink at home, or a toast at a wedding, or anything else.  The state requires “clear and convincing evidence” to prove you’ve quit drinking, sworn off alcohol for good, and have the commitment and the tools to stay sober for life.  Anything less is not enough, and the hearing officer is required to deny the appeal if you can’t prove that.  In fact, the rule governing these cases specifically begins by reminding the hearing officer that he or she is under a negative mandate to look for the reason(s) to deny an appeal, because it begins with this language: The hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence…” [that the person’s alcohol problem is under control and likely to remain under control].  Beyond denying anyone who so much as entertains the possibility of ever drinking again, the whole point of the license appeal process is to examine a person to make sure that, beyond just saying as much, he or she really does live, and is otherwise genuinely committed to, life without alcohol.

Within the more than 360 license restoration articles (as of this writing) I have put up on my blog, only a few have ever explored what goes on at an actual license appeal hearing.  I think that it’s about time to revisit this subject.  As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I attend and conduct license hearings all the time. Indeed, I have 5 scheduled for next week alone.  It is understandable that people tend to think of their hearing as the climax of the license appeal or clearance process.  In truth, however, while it may feel that way, the hearing is actually not the apex of the license restoration or clearance process, and that’s a key point I want to address in this article.

scales-justice-legal-lady-liberty-233x300As important as the hearing is in any license case, it is really the preparation for it that matters even more.  Just a few days ago, as I was “prepping” my client for his hearing the next day, I told him that the proceeding itself would likely be rather short, and that we had probably spent more time preparing for it than we would actually spend in it.  I was right, and in less than a half hour, my client left the hearing room having won back his privilege to drive again.  This may sound trite, but the simple fact is, if you’re going in there to tell the truth, then the hearing isn’t that big a deal after all.  In the context of a license appeal, the Michigan Secretary of State requires you to prove, by what is defined as “clear and convincing evidence,” 2 things: First, that your alcohol (and/or substance abuse) problem is “under control,” meaning that you can fix a sobriety date, and then second (and even more important), that your alcohol (and/or substance abuse) problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that you have really quit drinking for good and are a safe bet to not drink again.  If you want to cut right to the heart of the matter, this all means that sobriety is really the “meat and potatoes” of a driver’s license appeal case.  In a word, sobriety is everything.

Here’s why I say the hearing isn’t such a big deal:  I will only take cases for people who are genuinely sober, but in exchange, I guarantee to win every case I take.  When a person has truly gone through the profound transformation from drinker to non-drinker, then the hearing becomes an opportunity to talk about that.  Getting sober isn’t something you can fake, nor is explaining your recovery journey like standing in front of the class, taking some math test where you have to remember calculations and rules.  In a license appeal hearing, it’s you telling your own story, and details aren’t a problem when you tell the truth.  If I’m your lawyer, I’m right there with you, to help.  “Help,” in that sense, means that I ask you questions and make sure that your answers are complete and see to it that your nerves don’t get the best of you.  If you forget or otherwise misstate something, I’m there to make sure we back up and get it right, or otherwise clarify it.  Part and parcel of my job is to have your case memorized, from your sobriety date to who your letter writers are and what they have said about you, and when I walk into that hearing room with you, I sure as hell do.   Let’s turn, now, to how this all plays out in the hearing room…

In my roles as a Michigan criminal, driver’s license restoration and DUI lawyer, I have always tried to keep my fees reasonable.  That said, I have never sought to compete with the bargain lawyers, as the level of service that I provide (and which should and does translate into tangible results) is much different from theirs.  For example, I guarantee to win every driver’s license restoration case I take.  Recently, however, health insurance costs have gone way up, essentially becoming the straw that broke the camel’s back in my office, because over the last few years, everything else has gone up, as well.  I’ve held the line on costs until now, but since mine have gone up again, so too, will my fees, although only modestly.  I’m out to cover my increased costs, not build a new vacation home.  While most lawyers don’t go anywhere near publishing their fees or writing anything about them, I do.  That I list my fees in the first place makes me very different from every other lawyer I know; that I’d put up an article announcing and explaining a price increase is yet another way that I’m different, but I wouldn’t do things any other way.  Personally, I won’t do business with any operation that hides its prices or is secretive about costs, and given that one of the current, in-vogue buzzwords is transparency, I think an article about prices is necessary and, well, transparent.

left-feesYou know the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch?”  Well, it’s not only true, it is an axiom of commerce.  Nobody gives anything away for free.  There is always a motive.  Even if you stop into a furniture store to fill out a card to enter a raffle for a free couch with a “no purchase necessary” disclaimer, the store figures that the cost of one (and you can count on this, it’s not a top-of-the-line model) couch is more than worth bringing hundreds of people into the showroom and have them walk all the way to the back, past all the other furniture, to enter the contest.  Over time, they will clean up on impulse buys that make the cost of the couch well worth it.  I’m no different.  I’m a nice guy, as honest as can be, and have my own motivation for being transparent, but I’m also perfectly glad to share it.  I figure that, by listing my prices, I can save my staff and I lots of time not having to deal with time-wasters and bargain hunters looking for a cheap lawyer.  In fact, just about anyone who emails and inquires “How much do you charge,” beyond having missed the fees I list on both my blog and website, almost certainly can’t afford the services I provide, either.  Hiring a lawyer, at least for the kinds of work I do, is kind of like hiring a laser eye surgeon to fix your vision, or a plastic surgeon to do some cosmetic work:  You can find bargains, and you can find cheap, but you will NEVER find the best in class using those criteria.  That goes for everything.

Of course, you can overpay for a lawyer, as well.  Anything near a $10,000 DUI, for example (regardless of whether it’s a 1st, 2nd or 3rd  offense) is, in my opinion, grossly excessive – unless it results in all charges being dropped.  Given that only about .17 percent of all DUI and DUI-related arrests result in an acquittal after trial, good luck with that (this, in part, accounts for why I attract a disproportionately high number of 2nd offense DUI cases; those clients are experienced, educated consumers and they identify with my candid and direct approach).  Always remember that when you hire a lawyer, you are paying for someone to go make your situation better.  Anybody can promise the world, make everything sound like it will all get dismissed, assure a great outcome, and then do all kinds of work.  The question becomes what work is actually helpful and/or necessary, and the answer involves making sure your lawyer charges enough to thoroughly examine the evidence first (that’s not going to happen with a cut-rate lawyer), and then challenges it when doing so is appropriate, and likely to improve your case, rather than just doing so in a shotgun approach that is really just “busy work” to justify the fee you’ve paid.  These tactics, while making a person feel like they’ve gotten a lot of work for their money, do tend to backfire with the court and cost a lot goodwill.  Judges know who is out to take people for a ride.  Yet for all of that, however, what am I doing with my prices?

In my practice as a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, nearly half of my clients are people who need a clearance of a Michigan hold on their driving records because they now live out of state.  In the old days (whenever that was), a person could have a suspended or revoked driver’s license in one state and move to another and still get a new license.  That’s not the case anymore.  Over the last several years, I’ve cleaned up most of the remaining “dinosaurs” that were able to do that despite having had their license revoked by the Michigan Secretary of State – only to find out later that they couldn’t renew that out-of-state license because the Michigan hold had finally caught up with them, courtesy of the National Driving Register (NOT to be confused with the sound-alike, but commercial and unofficial “national driving registry” site).

shopping 1.2The National Driving Register (NDR) is a national database maintained by NHTSA (The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration) where, amongst other things, license revocations and suspensions are centrally recorded to prevent someone from skirting the laws of one state by obtaining a driver’s license in another.  It took a long time to become operational but it’s here to stay now.  This is undoubtedly bad news for anyone with a license hold, but the public certainly does not want a system that allows a repeat offense drunk driver whose license has been taken away in one state to just go to another and be “legal” again.  We could analyze this to death, but the simple fact is that it’s rather likely that you’re reading this because you (or someone you care about) is dealing with a Michigan hold and needs it cleared.  I can help you clear it, but if, and only if, you have honestly quit drinking.  Sobriety is the key to resolving Michigan driver’s license revocations.

The technical term for getting rid of a Michigan hold on your driving record is to obtain a “clearance.”  There is no difference, procedurally, between a regular driver’s license restoration case and one filed to clear a hold on your driving record, except in terms of the relief you’re seeking.  In a restoration case, you are asking for the return of your Michigan license (meaning a restoration).  In a clearance appeal, you are asking for a removal of the Michigan hold (meaning, not surprisingly, a clearance) so you can get a license in another state.  To be eligible for a clearance, you first have to prove that you have relocated to another state, but this is not much of a problem, even for people who have only very recently moved out.  Of course, in order to win either a restoration of your license or a clearance of Michigan’s hold, you must prove that you are sober, as well.  Many of my out-of-state clients have previously tried (and lost) what is called an “administrative review,” which is an appeal by mail (there is no hearing) and as close to a guaranteed loser as you can get.  Statistically, only 1 out of 4 of them ever win, and no one can say how many times those who do eventually win have tried before they succeed.  If you’re serious about driving again and don’t want to keep losing, then you’ll have to come back to Michigan to take care of this business the right way.  At least with my win guarantee, if I’m your lawyer, you’ll only have to do this once…