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

As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer who handles a ton of out-of-state clearance cases, I want to use this article to look at how you can appeal after you’ve lost a “do-it-yourself” administrative review filed with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS). As a rough estimate, I’d say that about half of my clients who no loner live in Michigan have tried this approach at least once before they hire me. Given that 3 out of 4 such appeals lose, it poses very little financial risk to me to tell anyone thinking about it to give it a shot; I’ll be here when you need me. In this article, I want to focus in on some of the more important issues that arise after a person loses one of these appeal by mail, and offer a few reasons why a person may seriously consider skipping it altogether and just doing it right the first time.

aid8066991-v4-728px-Appeal-a-Denial-for-an-Application-of-Benefits-Step-12-300x288To clarify a point frequently misunderstood, if you lose a license appeal after a hearing, you must wait another year to try again. If you lose an administrative review, you can immediatley request to come back to Michigan for a hearing, and you get do the process all over again with new evidence, including a new substance use evaluation (SUE) and new letters of support. This is ALMOST like 2 bites at the apple. To be completely honest about it, though, an administrative reviews loses because the evidence falls short of being good enough to win. In fact, someone out of state could spend a fortune hiring Michigan’s best criminal trial attorney to help him or her prepare one of these cases and still not have better than a 1-in-4 chance of winning. The experience necessary to be good at license appeals comes from doing license appeal. And even though I’m in business to make money, it’s not that I’m afraid I’ll lose a potential client if someone does this on their own and wins. If you luck out, then I say good for you. The problem for me is that when you do lose, it’s not because you got everything right. Sometimes, whatever you got wrong in a losing appeal can have a lasting and really negative effect on any future appeal. On top of that, it raises questions about your credibility if you go running in with all new and corrected (and different) information right after you’ve lost.

To be sure, I can fix most of the problems that caused the loss in the first place, but sometimes, there is an overarching sense of “timing” that just doesn’t square with immediately filing an appeal for a hearing with new evidence right after. This is hard to articulate, and really needs to be examined on a case by case basis. As I noted before, I’m in business to make money, and I don’t do that by NOT taking cases, or waiting to take them, but I also guarantee to win every case I take, so I have absolutely no reason to accept someone’s money for a case that won’t win right away, only to go in and lose and then have to do it all over again next year as “warranty work.”

In part 1 of this article, I began my examination of why you should come back to Michigan to win the clearance of a Michigan “hold” on your driving record. If you now live out of state, the only other option is to file what’s called an “administrative review,” which is an appeal by mail with no hearing. I pointed out that at least 3 out of 4 of these appeals are denied, and wondered openly how many times those who eventually do win have tried before. I began by explaining that in addition to an actual hearing, the key reason for coming back (and hiring me) is that when I’m the lawyer, I control every aspect of the case, and nothing is left to chance. I made clear that it all starts with, and requires honest and genuine sobriety, meaning that you have quit drinking and are committed to an alcohol-free life. We then moved on to the substance use evaluation, which I characterized as “foundational” in a license appeal. Here, in part 2, we’ll pick up by looking at the other main pillar of evidence submitted in each case, the letters of support. From there, we’ll go on to examine how and why having a hearing is far superior to not.

Bear-2When filing any kind of license appeal, you must also submit at least 3 letters of support (although we require 4 in my office) in addition to the substance use evaluation,. These support letters are also foundational to a license appeal (think of the evaluation and the letters as the “support beams”), and I review and edit every single one before it’s submitted. Each year, out of thousand or more letters I look over, only a handful aren’t substantially fixed up by me, and those are almost always letters that aren’t for primary support, like when a fellow AA member attests that a person attends meeting, or an employer who doesn’t fully know about a person’s past confirms that he or she is a valuable part of the work team. As I said, these letters don’t really count as “support,” but they are helpful as add-ons to the letter package.

At it’s simplest, a real support letter describes a person’s sobriety. Whatever else, the very last thing these should get into is any kind of “good guy” descriptions that fails to provide solid evidence of your sobriety or are otherwise not observational and testimonial in nature. The letters need to describe your commitment to sobriety, provide examples of it, as well as, depending on the knowledge and perspective of the writer, how you came to it, and, if possible, detail how you are different now that you don’t drink than you were before, when you did. Some letters, by the very nature (think: time frame) of the relationship between the subject and the writer may NOT be able to address this, but they can still be helpful in otherwise confirming that a person sticks to his or her commitment to remain sober.

In my capacity as a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I have written extensively about clearing a Michigan “hold” on your driving record. Instead of yet another installment explaining the actual license clearance process (I’ve put up ample information about that), we’ll use this 2-part article to shift the focus to why a person should come back to Michigan and see me to get this whole clearance thing done once and for all. Some readers may not have yet attempted a “do-it-yourself” appeal to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), but many will have already tried mailing in what’s called an “administrative review,” only to have lost. What we’ll cover here applies whether you’ve tried before, or not. An administrative review is pretty much a sure loser. Statistically speaking, 3 out of 4 get denied, and there’s no telling how many times any of those who eventually do win have tried before. In fact, it is not uncommon for many of my out-of-state clients to have tried at least twice on their own before finally getting serious about winning and then hiring me.

199791-300x230An administrative review does have a strong appeal in terms of both convenience and cost. You’d have to be crazy to WANT to take the time to come back to Michigan and blow money on a lawyer and travel if you could simply skip all of that and win your license back from the kitchen table, but, as experience (and statistics show,) it doesn’t work like that. That said, it’s not like coming back to Michigan, by itself, is of any kind of magic solution. Instead, it’s the plan you come back to execute that holds the key to winning, and I have a proven and guaranteed plan for Michigan clearance cases. In any given week, it’s not unusual for me to handle 3 out-of-state license appeals. and over the years, I have developed and follow a very clear procedure to handle and win them. And I do win. In fact, if I take your case, I guarantee to win it. I won’t waste your time here with uncommitted language like “trying,” or “improving your chances” of success. With me, it’s about actually getting your clearance now. This means that if I’m your lawyer, you’ll get your clearance, guaranteed. It can’t really get any better or simpler than that.

If I had to boil everything down into one word for why you should come back to Michigan and hire me to win your clearance, it would be “control.” I guarantee to win every case I take because I know what to do, and I exercise control over every step of the process. It is, in the big picture, the my control over process having a client come back to win that differs so substantially from the process of someone merely sending in a “do-it-yourself” appeal by mail. The process, as I do it, requires an initial, 3-hour meeting to prepare you for your substance use evaluation, then sending you a few blocks from my office to have the evaluation completed. At that meeting, we’ll go over how you should do the letters of support (I include a sample letter in the folder of info provided to a new client), and instruct you to forward them all to me, in draft form, for correction and editing. Once I have your completed evaluation and draft letters, I can get to work. Beyond just fixing the letters, I need to CAREFULLY review your evaluation, and then make sure everything is consistent within the evaluation and letters. Only then will the documents be filed, and the case set for a live hearing. My control over the process extends to the hearing, as well. All my cases are set for a hearing in the Livonia Office of Hearings and Appeals. I am very familiar with the 5 hearing officers there, so I’ll know how to prepare you, based upon the facts of your case, for the questions that will be asked. Key here are the questions. There will always be questions, so it’s more about whether you’ll be here to answer them, or not.

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 realize that I’ve written more than 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.