Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert: Our office is OPEN, and will remain open, to the extent possible, during this crisis. We have long handled consultations and retainers by telephone. We are managing all new and pending criminal and DUI cases under current and evolving court practices.

Driver’s License Restoration and Clearance cases are well-suited to start over the phone, and the “down time” many people have now is a good opportunity to begin this process.

Our consultations have ALWAYS been free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call. We are very friendly people who will be glad to explain things and answer your questions, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST).

Articles Posted in Driver’s License Restoration

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we carefully screen potential clients to make sure that we can win their cases while also ensuring that the information we present is both accurate and honest. Even though my team and I handle over 200 license appeal matters each year (more than any firm I know), we are still just one spoke in a much larger wheel. The Michigan Secretary of State Hearing officers who decide these cases easily handle over more than 7 times as many cases than we do, and in that capacity, they have quite literally “heard it all” many times over.

HO2-275x300Unfortunately, a lot of what is presented in license restoration or clearance appeal hearings is misguided at best, and, at worst, outright BS. Thankfully, our firm does so such thing, but lawyers who don’t concentrate in these cases and people trying to do this on their own don’t really know the driver’s license rules, and are therefore often take what amounts to a “shot in the dark.” Ultimately, driver’ license appeal cases are decided based upon the the law and the evidence presented. This means a person who might otherwise be qualified to win can lose his or her case if the evidence they present doesn’t meet the legally required burden of proof.

That’s a cold reality, but it’s also what a lot of people find out the hard way after having tried some “do-it-yourself” appeal, or otherwise having hired some lawyer whose practice doesn’t specifically focus upon driver’s license restoration cases. Regrettably, the license appeal process gets clogged up with people who simply don’t understand (or don’t care) that genuine sobriety is THE foundational requirement to win. This is the kind of stuff that the hearing officers have to slog through each and every day.

As a Michigan driver’s license restoration law firm that guarantees to win every restoration and clearance appeal case we take, my team and I have to ask each and every potential client some tough questions as part of our initial screening. Because the key goal of every license appeal is proving that a person has given up alcohol (and drugs) for good, we must ask any potential client some very direct questions about his or her relationship to alcohol, and specifically, when he or she last consumed any.

Q2-300x261Make no mistake, our firm is in business to make money. We get no pleasure from turning away people who are ready to pay our fees. However, our guarantee means that when we take on a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal, we are obligated to stick with it until our client wins, and the last thing we want to do is hitch ourselves to some case that cannot succeed. If we did that, then we’d wind up eating a loss and getting stuck having to do the whole case all over again the following year, all for free.

The simple truth is that we earn our livings winning these cases the first time around. Although we seldom lose a restoration or clearance appeal, on the very few occasions that we haven’t won the first time, we have never hesitated to honor our guarantee. Nevertheless, our whole screening process is designed to make sure we don’t wind up taking on a case that cannot or is otherwise not yet ready to win. This helps prevent us from having to do everything a second time, at our expense, as “warranty work.”

As a law firm that concentrates in Michigan driver’s license restoration and DUI cases, my team and I have a rather unique skill set that give us a better understanding of how an OWI charge (and especially in 2nd and 3rd offense DUI’s) can and/or will affect a person’s driver’s license. Indeed, precisely because of our knowledge and daily experience with driver’s license law, we are often specially able a develop an effective strategy to help “save” the license for a client who might otherwise lose it in a DUI case.

vectorstock_21799652-300x300Of course, this really works both ways: our experience as DUI lawyers is also very helpful to us in our handling of driver’s license restoration cases, as well. I have always described our practice as looking like a Q-tip – with DUI cases on one side, driver’s license restoration cases on the other, and the “stick” in the middle joining them together being alcohol. While some of the specific laws governing DUI cases and driver’s license restoration appeals are distinct, the 2 legal areas are also very much inter-related, and experience with each one  provides a distinct advantage when dealing with the other.

To be sure, there is a lot that goes into properly handling a DUI case. Some of these things are more obvious, like knowing how to properly analyze and challenge evidence, utilizing the right legal strategy to produce the best case outcome, and understanding the development, diagnosis and treatment of alcohol problems. Less obvious is how a working knowledge of driver’s license restoration law should be part of the legal strategy in any DUI case, and how this can all come full circle, so that what’s done (and not done) in the matter can be helpful to person’s driver’s license situation.

One thing that defines our practice, as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, is the way we manage every facet of the license appeal process that we handle. We do this as a quality control measure, because we guarantee to win every restoration and clearance case we take. The fact is that our firm makes its money winning our cases the first time around, not having to come back and do everything all over again, for free, as warranty work. The key to our success is rather simple: We make sure everything is done right before an appeal is ever filed.

Carrie-300x294This is particularly true with regards to the substance use evaluation (SUE), which, in many ways, is really the foundation of a license appeal. A problem with the evaluation can completely derail what would have otherwise been a winning case. Often overlooked is the fact that an evaluation is really only as good as the evaluator who completes it. This is why we send all of our clients OUR evaluator. No matter what, anyone who hires us is going to have his or her SUE completed by that evaluator, so we know that everything will be done properly, and to our standards.

Our office works extensively with one primary evaluator. Within the 7 days preceding the writing of this article, we exchanged 24 separate emails with her, many with multiple replies back and forth. In that same week, we’ve also had countless phone conversations with her, including one she and I had well after 10 p.m., while I was out for a late-night dinner run. It’s these regular exchanges that helps my team and I learn about relevant clinical issues, and our evaluator to keep up with the ever-changing legal requirements involved in license appeals.

As Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, we spend the majority of our working lives handling OWI and license reinstatement cases for people. As attorneys, it’s our job to wrestle with the nuances of the law, and deal with the countless technical things that can make or break a case. Most often, that means helping a client fix some kind of mistake or mistakes they’ve made on this journey called life. The point of this article is to help someone get through that kind of rough patch and not make things worse, or otherwise more complicated than they need to be.

vectorstock_28536718-copy-300x226This can sometimes be a problem when it comes to the intrinsically connected areas of Michigan DUI law and driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, because both involve situations where people are emotionally invested. Every person arrested for a DUI is understandably concerned about what will happen to him or her, and everyone who has lost their license for multiple DUI’s really wants to get it back as soon as possible, because it’s hard to get along without one.

The internet is full of misleading and outright wrong information about the law, and that can stress a person out as he or she tries to sort through it. Despite that, and human nature being what it is, some people can’t resist plowing through website after website, and getting themselves more confused than when they started. Others read just enough to wind up thinking they they’ve actually learned something, when, in fact, all they’ve done is become misinformed, thereby proving the old adage that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we earn our livings by getting people back on the road. However, winning a license appeal is all about proving certain, specific things, and no amount of money can overcome those requirements. One of the more unfortunate things we encounter, as we explain the license restoration process to people, is that some think the only thing that stands between them and driving again is just paying legal fees. In this article, I want to make clear that a person really has to earn – and cannot simply buy – his or her license back.

Money2-300x271Plenty of people feel a sense of frustration when they find out that, in order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, they not only have to be sober, but they also have to prove it, as well (more on that later). Many of them find our site, or this blog, see the more than 600 driver’s license restoration articles I have published so far, and think, “this is the firm I need!” While that’s flattering, the fact is that a person has to meet certain criteria in order to win a formal driver’s license restoration appeal, and no amount of money can get him or her past that.

For example, it’s often the case that, before a person can adopt a dog from an animal shelter, he or she has to demonstrate the ability to care for it. In other words, a person can’t just run in with a wallet full of money and “buy” a dog. Instead, he or she must meet certain eligibility requirements. The same holds true for anyone who has had his or her driver’s license revoked after multiple DUI’s. The state has determined such people to be a risk when it comes to alcohol and driving, and until they can prove that they no longer pose any danger on the road, they can’t win a license appeal.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we spend a lot of our time explaining things and clearing up people’s misconceptions about how the license appeal process works. One of the most common misunderstandings that we run into is that you need to be in AA to win a license appeal. In this article, I want to make clear that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE IN AA TO WIN A MICHIGAN DRIVER’S LICENSE RESTORATION OR CLEARANCE CASE, and also correct the completely mistaken idea that someone who currently is not should start going to AA “to make it look good.”

SoberXX-250x300To win a Michigan Secretary of State driver’s license appeal, you have to prove 2 things, by what the state defines as clear and convincing evidence: First, that your alcohol problem is “under control, meaning that you haven’t had a drink for a “legally sufficient” period of time (in our office, we generally want at least 18 months’ clean time before we’ll move forward), and, second, that it is “likely to remain under control,” which requires showing that you have both the ability and commitment to remain clean and sober for life. In other words, you have to prove that you have given up drinking for good and are really a safe bet to never drink again.

The simple fact is that most people do manage to maintain their sobriety without AA. Of course, some in that program will say differently, but even by its own accounts, AA has a long-term success rate of between 3 and 8%, with most experts pegging it at around 5%. Because it was basically the first real “treatment” for alcoholism, people think of AA the in the same branded way they thing of other “first” products, like Kleenex and Windex. The truth, however, is that AA is just one kind of many recovery methods, just like Kleenex is one kind of facial tissue, and Windex is one kind of glass cleaner.

Most people don’t start digging for information about having problems with ignition interlock devices until they’ve actually run into one. In previous articles, I have examined all kinds of interlock issues, like missed rolling retests, positive test results and “tamper/circumvent” violations, and I will link to some of them throughout this piece. Our focus in this installment, though, will to be much wider, and, instead of concentrating on the mechanics of the interlock, will instead zero in on why a person needs to take the whole thing seriously, and how attitude is everything.

vectorstock_24372941-300x300Like so many other of my articles, this installment is based on the real-life experience my team and I have as a Michigan driver’s license restoration law firm. There are certain things in life that just don’t make sense, and one we have to contend with quite often is that, despite our instructions to our clients who have to use an ignition interlock, and in addition to the clear and explicit directions from the Secretary of State about how to properly operate the device, many people just skip over the details, being satisfied instead to only merely the very basics of how to use it.

Unfortunately, the interlock is not one of those things that will generally work out very well in the long run if someone’s understanding of it doesn’t go much farther than what’s in the “quick start” guide. This goes as much to a person’s attitude rather as anything else, because a person must never lose sight of the fact that a primary purpose of the interlock is for the Secretary of State to keep an eye on them. If that happens, they’re very likely to run into problems later on, because being on an interlock is really a kind of “probation” for anyone who wins back a Michigan driver’s license.

To keep this subject at the top of the heap, I find it necessary to regularly write and post about the “no drinking” requirement to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case. An email that recently came into our office illustrates why this is so, and to help make my point in this article, I’ll reprint it below. However, before we get to that, let’s first go over what a person must do – and prove – to win a license appeal.

Beerhander-300x256Under Michigan law, the only way a  person who has had his or her license revoked for multiple DUI’s can get it back is by filing and then winning a formal driver’s license restoration appeal with the Michigan Secretary of State after he or she becomes eligible. To succeed, a person must prove 2 things, by what the law defines as clear and convincing evidence: First, that his or her alcohol problem is “under control,” and, second, that it is “likely to remain under control.” Let’s look at what that actually means:

In the context of a license appeal, a drinking problem is considered “under control” when a person has been completely abstinent from alcohol for a legally sufficient period of time. In our office, we generally require at least 18 months of sober time before we’ll move forward with a license reinstatement case. An alcohol problem is considered “likely to remain under control” when a person can demonstrate both the ability and the commitment to remain alcohol-free (and drug-free) for life.

If you win your license back through a Michigan driver’s license restoration appeal, you will almost certainly be required to drive on restrictions – with an ignition interlock unit – for one full year before you can appeal for full driving privileges. Although the law does not specifically require that anyone who wins a license appeal must start off with an interlock and/or a restricted license, it is standard practice that everyone does just that.

vectorstock_12506221-300x300And to be clear, by “everyone,” I mean that 99.9% of all people who win the restoration of their driver’s license will be required to start out with both an interlock unit and a restricted license. Our focus in this piece will be on the restoration of a Michigan driver’s license. A restoration occurs when someone who still resides in Michigan obtains the reinstatement of his or her license. This is different than a clearance case, where someone who does not or no longer lives here seeks the removal of  a Michigan hold on his or her driving record so that he or she can get (or renew) a license in their new state.

The Michigan Secretary of State has full licensing authority over all Michigan residents. In that capacity, it has what amounts to an unwritten policy that nearly everyone who wins his or her license back after having had it revoked for multiple DUI’s will have to prove themselves for a solid year before they’ll be considered for full and unrestricted driving privileges. The interlock and restricted license requirements have been the status quo for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been practicing law for 30-plus years, as of this writing.

Contact Information