Articles Posted in Driver’s License Restoration

To win a Michigan driver’s license restoration case, you have to say the right things. A key purpose of every license appeal hearing is to make sure a person does just that. As busy Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, people frequently contact us and ask what they should say in order to win their cases. Unfortunately, this reflects a deep misunderstanding about the whole purpose of the process. It’s not just that a person has to say the right things; they must also be true.

Your testimony in a license appeal caseLet’s look at an obvious example. It’s contained in the all-important question, “When was the last time you consumed any alcohol?” It’s probably fair to say that most people know they’re going to be asked that question, or at least some version of it, as part of their license appeal case. Most will (correctly) assume that their answer needs to indicate that, depending on their drinking and DUI history, it’s been long enough since they last imbibed. While that’s correct, it’s only part of the story. The other part is that, as we just noted, whatever the answer, it must also be true.

This is a good a time to remind the reader of the old adage that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Merely saying that one has been alcohol-free long enough won’t win a license appeal. As we’ve noted twice already, it must also be true. However, even being true is not, by itself, enough to win a license appeal case. A person must prove his or her sobriety by what the law defines as “clear and convincing evidence.” This means that he or she basically has to step up and hit a home run.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about why a person must be genuinely sober to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal. Sobriety is FIRST thing a person must have, and it’s the key requirement to have any chance of getting back on the road. This is beyond important, because proving that one has quit drinking and has the ability and commitment to remain alcohol and drug-free (including from recreational marijuana) for life is the very foundation upon which every Michigan license appeal case is built. That’s what we’ll examine in this article.

Sobriety is required to win a Michigan license appeal caseThe big problem is that many people overlook how fundamentally important sobriety is to driver’s license restoration cases. Instead, they’ll focus on how much they need a license. Many will point out how long it’s been since they’ve had one, or how long they’ve stayed out of trouble. Those are, of course, important personal considerations. However, in the context of a Michigan license appeal, unless a person is genuinely sober, they don’t matter at all. As one hearing officer states, everybody “needs” a license. Getting it back, though, is a whole different ballgame.

There are very specific rules for wining a Michigan license appeal after a driver’s license has been revoked for multiple DUI’s. Nothing in them references a person’s need to drive, or the hardship caused by not being able to do so. It is understood that it’s hard to get by without a license. That’s intentional. As we just noted, it has nothing to do with being able to win a Michigan license appeal. Instead, the Michigan Secretary of State is directed, by law, to make sure, as best it can, that anyone it puts back on the road isn’t a risk to ever drive drunk again.

What are the DUI driver’s license penalties for 2nd and 3rd offense cases? The explanation is rather straightforward, but almost always gives rise to more questions. Usually, people respond by asking things such as: “What about…” or “Is there a way to…?” The answers often result in a sense of frustration that’s expressed in responses like, “Well, how do they expect me to get to work?” In this article, we’re going to break down 2nd and 3rd offense DUI penalties in simple terms.

License penalties in DUI casesTo begin, the reader should understand that, in Michigan, if a person is convicted of a 2nd DUI within 7 years, or a 3rd DUI within 10 years , he or she is categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” There are 2 important consequences that follow from a conviction for either a 2nd offense DUI within 7 years, or 3rd offense DUI within 10 years: First, the person’s driver’s license gets revoked. Second, he or she is legally presumed to have an alcohol problem.

When the Michigan Secretary of State revokes a person’s driver’s license for multiple DUI’s, it imposes a lifetime revocation. This is VERY different than the simple suspension of a driver’s license. A revocation means a person’s license is completely taken away, and for good. The lifetime part means that, unless and until he or she files and wins a formal driver’s license restoration appeal, his or her license will be gone – as the term implies – for the rest of his or her life.

My team and I handle over 200 Michigan driver’s license appeal matters per year. We speak with a lot of people, and, in doing so, hear a lot of misconceptions about the license appeal process. One of the more common things people say is an objection of sorts. It’s often put like this: “They want me to say I’m an alcoholic!” That’s not exactly true, but it’s not completely wrong, either. In this article, we’re going to look at why this whole subject relevant to anyone who has had their license revoked for multiple DUI’s.

AlcoholicThe Michigan driver’s license appeal process is governed by law. It can get complicated. We’re going to skip over all that and examine this in simple terms. The first thing the reader should understand arises out of the DUI law itself. In Michigan, anyone convicted of 2 DUI’s within 7 years, or 3 DUI’s within 10 years, is classified as a “habitual alcohol offender.” There are 2 important consequences of that are especially significant here:

The first, of course, is that a person’s driver’s license gets revoked by the Michigan Secretary of State. Not surprisingly, the reader is likely here for just that reason. The second consequence of being categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender” is that any such person is presumed, by law, to have an alcohol problem. This means it is understood, as a starting point, that anyone who has to file a license appeal after multiple DUI’s has some kind of drinking problem.

Our firm guarantees to win every first time Michigan Driver’s License restoration and clearance appeal case we take. For everything that a lawyer can say about experience and success, having a license restoration guarantee says even more. For anyone filing a license restoration or clearance appeal, the ONLY thing that matters is winning. When all is said and done, you either get your license back (or get a clearance of the Michigan hold on your driving record) – or not. And let’s face it, “or not” is a complete waste of your time and money.

License restoration win guaranteeOur license restoration guarantee is simple and straightforward. There is no “fine print.” If we take your license restoration or clearance appeal case, we guarantee to win it. If not, we will continue to represent you before the Michigan Secretary of State, without further charge, until we do. The only exception happens if a person lies, or otherwise withholds relevant information from us that results in his or her denial. My team and I question every client and potential client thoroughly, so voiding our guarantee would require a lot more than just an innocent oversight on anyone’s part.

There is, however, an important “catch” before our guarantee applies. It’s this: You have to be sober for us to take your case. We ONLY represent people who are genuinely clean and sober. This, of course, means that you must have honestly quit drinking. It also means that you must be abstinent from any and all other substances – including recreational marijuana. A person cannot be “clean and sober” but also use recreational marijuana. This has become a big problem since its legalization in Michigan. One thing my team and I have learned is that a lot of people don’t fully understand just what “sober” really means.

This blog is THE biggest and best source of real-world information about Michigan criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration cases. In its 13 years online, I have written and published over 1300 articles here. For most of that time, I have put up 2 new articles every week, on Mondays and Fridays. Starting now, and at least for a while, however, that will change. For the time being will only be putting up 1 installment per week. I might even have to skip a week here or there, at least temporarily Here’s why:

Criminal, DUI and driver's license restoration blog schedule changeOur firm is in the midst of readying our new website to go live. My team and I very excited for its upcoming debut. While everything on our current site is legally accurate, the way people consume information has changed over the years. When it first went online, we were in a minority of lawyers to even have a website. Nowadays, people want to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly. Launching our new and improved site will make it easier for people to do just that.

Over time, the people have moved from using desktops to laptops, and now, to mobile devices. When our current site launched, the iPhone was a novelty. In the intervening years, mobile devices have become the norm. Today, over 75% of our online visitors use a phone or tablet to get to us. We need this update to improve the user’s experience. Our site needs to be easier to navigate, and the content needs to be broken down into much smaller chunks.

Although there is a lot that goes into a Michigan driver’s license restoration appeal, 3 things are really critical. In this article, we’re going to briefly examine each of them, in turn. These 3 things are essential to winning a license restoration appeal case. That said, there are also a few other requirements that need to be met before a case can go forward. While anyone can file a case, unless someone is legally eligible, the whole thing will be rejected. The date of a person’s eligibility is entirely dependent on his or her DUI and driving record.

<img src="Driver's License.jpg" alt="Driver's license issued after driver's license restoration appeal. ">A person must also be sober, and be able to prove it, in order to have any chance of winning. Our firm generally requires someone to have at least 18 months of clean time before we’ll consider filing a case. “Clean time” means complete abstinence from alcohol and all other substances. In essence, a person must show that he or she is alcohol and drug-free, and has both the ability and commitment to never drink or use anything anything again – including recreational marijuana.

A Michigan driver’s license restoration appeal starts with the substance use evaluation (SUE). Actually, in our office, the process begins with us preparing our client to undergo the evaluation. As we do that, we complete a form of our own creation called a “substance use evaluation checklist.” That form, along with other information, is provided to our evaluator to make sure that every relevant detail is properly disclosed and gets listed. This is very important, because an insufficient evaluation is one of the main reasons people wind up getting denied. Let me explain…

How much should you pay for a license restoration lawyer? Obviously, it should be no more than you have to, but it should be at least enough to win your case. The problem with this question is that cost is one of the least useful ways to find and hire a lawyer. This is especially true in license appeal cases. Unfortunately, it is also true that one of the most common questions my team and I get asked is, “How much do you charge?”

<img src="lawyer at scales of justice.jpg" alt="How much should you pay for a Michigan driver's license restoration lawyer. ">The most important element of this whole discussion is value. Value means what you get for your money. In a license appeal case, it means winning back the ability to drive again, legally. Let’s be very clear on this point – NOTHING else matters besides winning. There is no value in a free lawyer who loses, any more than there is any value in the most expensive lawyer who doesn’t win, either. In other kinds of cases, a person pays legal fees for the lawyer’s best efforts. The hope is that the attorney’s experience and skill will produce the desired result. That doesn’t apply to license appeal cases.

At least not with our firm. We guarantee to win every first time restoration license appeal and clearance appeal case we take. In all other kinds of cases, it is understood that there can be no guarantees. What this means, then, is that the primary consideration when hiring a lawyer for a license appeal should be a guaranteed win. In that context, the only calculation that really matters is NOT having paid too much to get one’s license back.

Every driver’s license restoration appeal case is unique. Our firm has literally handled thousands of them, and we know that no two are the same. We’re reminded of this every time a caller wants to tell us about someone else’s case. Often, this happens when we explain the requirement that a person be sober to win a license appeal. That’s when someone will say something like, “I know a guy who got his license back, and he still drinks.”

<img src="colored pencils.jpg" alt="Every license restoration appeal case is unique. ">That kind of statement completely misses the point. License appeals are all about proving one’s sobriety. That’s not to say no-one has ever lied his or her way through the process, but our firm wants nothing to do with any case like that. The whole goal of a license appeal is for the Secretary of State to screen out those people who present any risk to ever drink again. For as unique as each and every driver’s license restoration case is, however, what makes that so generally falls into 1 of 3 broader categories:

First, there’s a person’s background, and his or her history of DUI’s and other troubles. Some people come to us with only 2 prior DUI’s, while others have 3, 4, or even more – and sometimes way more. Some people rack up multiple DUI’s quickly, while others have years and years between some or all of them. Often enough, people will run into other problems with the law, as well, due to their troubled relationship to alcohol. This, of course, tends to reflect the length of a person’s problematic drinking behavior.

As Michigan criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, every case we take begins with a consultation, and all of them start with a phone call. In a recent conversation I had with Ann, our senior assistant, I mentioned I had recently read that a lot of people facing a criminal or Michigan DUI charge feel intimidated to pick up the phone and call a lawyer. What Ann said in response was so simple, yet brilliant, that it became the inspiration for this article: “The worst part about not calling a lawyer is not calling.”

 <img src="nervous woman.jpg" alt="Call about a Michigan DUI charge. ">We’ll come back to that statement shortly, because as our talk progressed, it became clear that I was not seeing the full picture of what she meant. I had thought, at least up until that moment, that the main reason people would be afraid to call (or otherwise contact) an attorney was a fear of being “hounded.” I can relate to that, because it’s the very reason I don’t want to give out my contact information online. Plenty of sites offer something like a “free quote,” but the catch is that you must provide a phone number and/or email, first. Then, they never leave you alone….

It turns out there is more to people’s reluctance to call a lawyer than just that. I know that a lot of lawyers can be jerks, but we’re not. However, someone facing a Michigan DUI charge who finds us online doesn’t know that. He or she has no clue that we’re down-to-earth, friendly, and just genuinely nice people. What Ann made clear to me is that there is more than just the fear of being “chased” after providing contact details that makes a person hesitant to call. Unfortunately, it’s largely being put off by the smug attitude of some in the legal profession.

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