Articles Posted in Driver’s License Restoration

Anyone considering a potential driver’s license restoration or out-of-state clearance appeal will invariably start looking online for information. In our roles as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, one of things that clearly separates my team and I from everyone else is the sheer amount of it that we put up on this blog, and on our website. Within the more than 600 driver’s license restoration articles published to date, I have examined every aspect of the license appeal process, often in granular detail. In this piece, I want to bring all of that full-circle and look at what ties it all together.

llklkllklkllklklklklklkl-1-281x300As anyone will quickly discover, there are numerous steps involved in the driver’s license restoration process: A person can’t win back his or her license without a hearing, and a hearing can’t be scheduled until all of the required documents have been filed, and they can’t be filed until a person has undergone a substance use evaluation and had his or her letters of support written, and none of that can take place until he or she first decides to undertake a license appeal in the first place. While each of those stages are connected, there is also a larger element at work, and understanding how it affects the big picture will help everything make more sense.

Of course, it’s best to start at the beginning: A license appeal becomes necessary when a person has had his or her driving privileges revoked as the result of multiple DUI convictions. Under Michigan law, anyone who racks up 2 DUI’s within 7 years or 3 within 10 years is categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” One of the legal consequences is that any such person is legally presumed to have an alcohol problem, and can’t get his or her license back until they file – and then win – a formal driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we have to follow the same legal process when handling a license appeal regardless of whether our client is male or female. Yet for as much as a license reinstatement case will be the same for both men and women, there are also differences, and some of them can go all the way back to the underlying DUI cases that caused the revocation of a person’s license in the first place. In this article, we’ll see how and why the experience of winning back one’s driver’s license can be different depending on one’s gender.

vectorstock_22680981-229x300In the previous article, I did a brief overview of how going through a DUI case can be different for a woman versus a man. Just as there, I must first admit here that, in addition to not being any kind of expert on gender issues, and precisely because I’m male, I am obviously not coming at this subject “from the inside.” That said, my 30-plus years of experience as a lawyer and my formal post-graduate education in addiction studies have at least enabled me to be aware of the fact that how people experience things can be different based upon their own unique backgrounds, and that includes things like where they come from, their different life experiences, and, of course, their gender.

Although it may not be that important in the larger scheme of things, I am the only male in our office, so at least everyone else here has that “insider” perspective. No matter what, though, the absolute key to winning a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal is proving one’s sobriety. Even though this requirement is the same no matter who is appealing, the whole process of getting sober can be different for men versus women. In our roles as Michigan driver’s license restoration, recognizing this fact is important, because in any given case, we have to make sure that, where relevant, it gets pointed out in the appeal process.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, my team and I concentrate in winning back driving privileges for people who have had their licenses revoked as the result of multiple DUI convictions. No matter what, in any and every license appeal case, the focus is, and always be, upon a person’s drinking; specifically, when he or she last drank, their decision to quit, and his or her resolve to never drink again. In every way possible, license reinstatement cases are all about proving sobriety.

Ivectorstock_8679001-300x300n other words, the whole point of the driver’s license restoration in Michigan process in Michigan boils down to whether or not a person can prove that he or she has given up drinking, and is truly committed to remaining alcohol-free for life. The way the Michigan Secretary of State (and just about everyone else in the world) sees it, anyone whose license has been revoked after racking up multiple DUI’s is too dangerous to be allowed on the road, unless and until he or she can prove they’re not a risk to drive drunk again, and that, in turn, is done by showing themselves to be a safe bet to never drink again.

Underlying the consideration of restoring driving privileges for those who have lost them as the result of 2 or more DUI’s is that the simple proposition that people who do not drink are exactly zero risk to drive while intoxicated. These are the only people who have a chance at winning a license appeal. As we’ll see, the written law is clear that a person must not only prove that he or she has been completely abstinent from alcohol for a “legally sufficient” period of time, but also that he or she has both the ability and the commitment to never drink again.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, my team and I speak with people every day who need to get back on the road. Among the most common things people tell us, as they inquire about a license appeal, is that they completed their probation, paid all of their court fines, and attended all required classes and/or counseling. That’s all well and fine, but in the context of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, simply having complied with the court’s orders in a prior DUI case is far from enough to win. In this article, I want to explain why that’s true, and then turn to the things that really matter.

pocrop-300x286Our firm handles more than 200 driver’s license appeal matters per year, but we talk to loads more people than that, so the number of individuals with whom we communicate is really in the thousands. As my team and I have learned from all those interactions, many people mistakenly believe that what the court had ordered them to do as part of the sentence for their DUI’s is enough to qualify them to win a license restoration case. To be sure, some of the things a person has done as part of his or her probation order can be helpful to a license appeal, but usually, that’s about as far as it goes.

It’s understandable that a person may think that having completed court-ordered counseling is enough to win back their license but, as noted above, that’s simply not the case. The law requires that part of the sentence for a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI include some kind of rehabilitative counseling or treatment. This is mandatory, both in terms of the court being required to impose it, and the person being required to do it. If someone fails to complete what a court has ordered, then his or her probation will be violated, and he or she can be sent to jail.

Anyone who goes through a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal case finds out that they are difficult. As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we know this, and we not only prepare our clients for it so that they win, but also so that their experience isn’t as trying as it otherwise could be. However, as anyone who has tried and lost a “do-it-yourself” appeal finds out, there are a lot of potential pitfalls within the license appeal process that can derail a case. This is especially frustrating for someone who is genuinely sober and has “what it takes” to win, but who gets denied anyway.

vectorstock_263945-291x300In the real world, a person must not only be legally qualified – meaning that he or she has what it takes to win – but must also be able to prove his or her case within the guidelines and rules that govern license restoration cases. What many people miss is that those rules begin with a negative mandate that instructs the assigned hearing officer to NOT grant a license appeal unless the person proves certain things by what is specified as “clear and convincing evidence.” This must be understood from the very beginning of a case, and borne in mind throughout the whole thing as the evidence is prepared, and then, ultimately, presented.

What winds up happening instead, however, is that people get all excited about how long it has been since they’ve had a license, or how long it’s been since they’ve gotten in trouble, and/or focus on how much they need to drive. In the context of a license restoration appeal, none of those things matter a single bit. In other words, it does not matter that a person completed probation, went to whatever classes were ordered, and paid all of his or her fines. These are things people often tell us in the many emails our firm receives, in the hope that it can somehow “help” them win their license back.

In our work as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we deal with all aspects of the license appeal process, some of which can be rather difficult – like medical marijuana. Although many people genuinely use it to relieve pain, in the context of a license appeal, a medical card can also be a real pain in the a$$. While a person absolutely cannot win a license restoration case and use recreational marijuana, there are a few, limited exceptions for those who use it medically. In this article, we’ll do a candid overview of medical marijuana issues in license appeal cases.

vectorstock_11509924-300x300There was a time, some years ago, when it was impossible (or nearly so) for a person to win any kind of license appeal if he or she used medical marijuana. This general prohibition was so strong that it wasn’t uncommon for a person to be asked some version of the following question: “Do you have, or have you ever applied for, a medical marijuana card, either as a patient or a caregiver?” Thankfully, this blanket refusal to even acknowledge the medical efficacy of marijuana has given way to a more intelligent and thoughtful allowance by the Michigan Secretary of State for its use in certain circumstances.

While there is no doubt about the many potential benefits and uses of medical marijuana, there can also be little doubt that, especially early on, after Michigan legalized it, a lot of people who got medical marijuana cards didn’t exactly have the most dire medical conditions. Right after the law changed and medical marijuana became legal, there was a notable proliferation of so-called “green clinics,” especially in the Detroit area. The more of these that popped up, the more they advertised on freeway billboards, competing with with each other by offering increasingly lower costs for an appointment and evaluation.

It’s a simple fact that just about everyone who has lost his or her driver’s license needs it back. As full-time Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, it often falls to us to explain to someone whose driving privileges have been revoked as the result of multiple DUI’s that needing a license has absolutely nothing to do with actually being able to win it back. The Michigan Secretary of State has established very specific criteria that must be met in order to grant a license appeal, but a person’s need to drive, no matter how pressing, is NOT one of them.

p098u-piu-poi--274x300It would be difficult for me to make clear how many times per day our office is contacted by people looking to get their license back. After all, that’s what we do, right? Understandably (but also unfortunately), a lot of people skip right over asking about the legal requirements to win a license restoration or clearance appeal, and instead start telling us how much they need to drive, and try to “make their case” by pointing out that their DUI’s happened many years ago, and/or that they haven’t been in trouble for a long time. Although those things are emotionally compelling, within the context of a license appeal case, they don’t matter one single bit.

Precisely because our firm concentrates in driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, we have to keep our focus on what it takes to actually win. In that sense, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the fact that people who DON’T work in our field do not understand, and, really, don’t have any reason to understand, that needing to drive is completely irrelevant to being able to win a Michigan driver’s license reinstatement case. Indeed, if a person meets the state’s established criteria, then he or she can win his or her license back even though he or she may have no actual need to drive at all.

In part 1 of this article, we began our examination of the options for someone with a current or past DUI to get a restricted Michigan driver’s license. In that first part, saw that the ONLY relief available to someone who has been convicted of multiple DUI’s is to wait until he or she becomes eligible to file a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, submit the required documentation, and then actually win his or her appeal. Here, in the second part, we’ll look at the 3 potential choices for someone who is currently facing a Michigan DUI charge.

oioioioi2-300x267If you are dealing with a pending Michigan DUI case, and depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the charge that followed, there are only 3 potential avenues to get back on the road. It’s important to begin by pointing out that a person will usually not have any real choice in the matter, or “options” to consider, because DUI driver’s license penalties are specified by law, and imposed by the Michigan Secretary of State. As we’ll see, what can and can’t be done depends entirely on the facts of the case.

With the single exception of Sobriety Courts and their ability to override the mandatory revocation of a person’s driver’s license upon conviction for a 2nd DUI within 7 years, or a 3rd DUI within 10 years, the court system has ZERO jurisdiction over the legally required driver’s license sanctions that must be imposed by the Secretary of State. To be clear, Sobriety Court is the only possible workaround in pending 2nd and 3rd offense DUI cases, and even then, it’s only an option IF a person is accepted and admitted into one of these programs.

As full-time Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, people are always asking us about the possibility of getting some kind of restricted license. These questions often come from people who are about to lose their driving privileges as the result of a recent DUI, as well as people who have been without a license for some time due to 2 or more prior DUI convictions. In this article, I want to examine what can and cannot be done to get a restricted driver’s license in Michigan. Because there is quite a bit to all this, we’ll divide our discussion into 2 parts, but we’ll still keep things manageable.

vectorstock_15405212-300x300To make this easy, we’e going to have to break things down into a few categories. For example, it’s quite likely nobody facing a current 1st offense Michigan DUI charge that may result in the temporary suspension of his or her driver’s license wants to read through all of the far more involved legal issues confronting someone who has already had his or her license revoked as the result of multiple DUI convictions. Similarly, I doubt anyone who has already had his or her license revoked for 2 or more DUI’s really cares about much more than when and how he or she can win back at least some driving privileges.

For all the complexity underlying driver’s license issues, there are really only 4 legal “avenues” available for anyone whose license has been affected as the result of 1 or more DUI’s. As it turns out, there are 3 potential options for someone with an open, pending DUI case, and only 1 option for anyone who has already lost his or her license after multiple DUI convictions. Accordingly, we’ll start out by looking at what can be done for those whose license has been previously been revoked as the result of 2 or more DUI’s, and then afterward, we’ll examine the options for those who are currently facing a DUI charge.

In a recent article I wrote about the standard “no drinking” requirement for everyone on bond and waiting for his or her DUI case to wrap up, or on probation as part of his or her sentence for a DUI case. I pointed out that an important part of our jobs, as Michigan DUI lawyers, is to make sure the court understands the client’s individual circumstances. I then noted that, on the flip side, we must also ensure our client understands that, with regard to some aspects of DUI cases, a person’s particular situation doesn’t matter, that things just are the way they are simply “because,” and that the no drinking condition of bond and probation is one of them.

okholiholih-1-300x269The inspiration for this article came from our senior assistant, who, after a long day on the phones, observed that no matter how clearly things are explained to some people about court procedures in DUI cases, they always have a “yeah, but…” excuse for why something that’s standard for everybody else shouldn’t apply to them. We laughed for a moment as we boiled down the phrase “yeah, but” to “yabut,”and then noted how it’s exactly that kind of thinking gets people into trouble, or in the case of someone already facing a Michigan DUI charge, even more trouble.

As I briefly addressed in the “no drinking” article referenced above (and linked below), there is always someone who will want to explain why he or she should be allowed to drink, despite the Judge’s order that he or she refrain from any consumption of alcohol while on bond and awaiting the resolution of his or her case, or on while on probation after that has happened. This is the textbook example of what we mean when we talk about someone to whom the rules and requirements have been explained, and whose first response is “yeah, but.…”

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