Articles Posted in Driver’s License Restoration

The law specifies that, in order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration case, a person must submit proof that meets the “clear and convincing evidence” legal standard. Every license appeal case is decided by a hearing officer, each of whom is a trained professional tasked with evaluating the evidence submitted, listening to what is said, and then concluding whether or not it meets that standard. This installment will tie in to the previous article about how any notion of “you tell me what I need to say” is almost proof-positive that a person is NOT sober, and in no position to win a license appeal.

HOs-2-300x291The inspiration for this piece, like so many others, came from our senior assistant, after another busy day at the office. As we got ready to close up shop one recent afternoon, she remarked that some people mistakenly think they can BS the hearing officers, and that’s because these folks don’t have a clue about the skill those hearing officers bring to their jobs. Unless someone does license appeals for a living, they simply can’t grasp the absolutely central role of the hearing officer, and the depth of experience they have listening to people testify. In the context of a license appeal, that can be a fatal mistake.

It’s critical to understand that, in addition to the key role the hearing officer plays in all of this, he or she does so pursuant to very specific rules, and very clear instructions spelled out in the law. This is huge, but also largely overlooked, and is no doubt one of the reasons that so many license appeals (and especially those of the “do-it-yourself” variety) wind up getting denied. By contrast, our firm GUARANTEES to win every restoration and clearance appeal case we take (more on that later), precisely because we understand the subtleties of the law and rules, and the role of the hearing officer in applying them.

In order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration case, a person has to say certain things, and as far as that goes, not say other things. As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, our ears are basically “tuned” to pick up on certain buzzwords that clearly communicate to us that a person either has – or has not – given up drinking and embraced a sober lifestyle, 2 things that are key to winning a license appeal. The hearing officers who decide these cases also listen for these things, and are highly skilled at distinguishing genuine and real sobriety from anything less.

vectorstock_1613620-300x293They should be, given that they hear driver’s license restoration and clearance appeals all day, every day. Of course, given that this is also what my team and I do all day, every day, we know exactly what things will cause the hearing officers to respond favorably, and what will have the opposite effect. In our many conversations with callers each day, it’s not that uncommon for a person to say something to us like, “You just tell me what to say, and I can do it,” or “I can say whatever you need me to.” That’s a huge red flag for us, and an almost certain (and unwitting) assurance that the speaker is NOT sober.

That’s also about the fastest way to make sure that our firm won’t take a case. While sobriety is a key requirement to win a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal case, so is honesty. When someone tells us that they’ll repeat anything we instruct them to say, it means that, beyond not being sober, he or she is also willing to BS, and even do so under oath. We don’t want any part of that: We win our cases fair and square by being honest and truthful. We play by the rules, and guarantee to win every case we take precisely because we don’t cut any corners.

Our goal, as Michigan criminal, driver’s license restoration and DUI lawyers, is to produce the best results possible in every case we take while being fair and honest. We are a premium service law firm, and therefore don’t compete with any other lawyers or law firms on price. However, we are the ONLY law firm that actually lists its prices, and also the only one that talks about money, as I’m going to do here. Frankly, I cannot understand why the subject of cost is treated like some big secret, especially because it’s such an important part of hiring a lawyer. are 2 important things about money and legal services worth noting, and they’re like opposite sides of the same coin: First – you will never get what you don’t pay for when you hire a lawyer. Experienced, skilled and talented lawyers will never compete to be the most “affordable.” The better class of anything is never cheap. Second, it is an unfortunate fact that too many attorneys charge far more than their representation is worth. It’s much easier to wind up paying too much for an average, mediocre lawyer than to get any kind of “deal” for top-notch legal services.

Our firm hasn’t raised prices for almost 2 years (since November 19, 2019, to be exact), but recent cost increases have left us with no other choice. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused just about everything to go up in price, and the expense of that has reached our door, as well. In addition, we’ve added staff to our team, so our overhead costs have grown, and we had to offset some of that by increasing our fees. In this article, I want to explain why it had to be done, and to talk about legal fees in the context of criminal, driver’s license restoration and DUI cases.

In our capacities as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we deal with all kinds of cases, from those that are super-easy to others that are really hard. Because we guarantee to win every license restoration and clearance appeal case we take, “hard,” at least for us, still means winnable, but who wouldn’t prefer easy, instead? Like many of my other articles, this piece was inspired by a recent situation in our office that presented an opportunity for use as an example explain some important things about license appeal cases.

vectorstock_35269171-copy-300x289A person called our office from out of state about getting his license back. In this case, because he has a Michigan hold on his driving record but no longer lives here, he would be seeking a “clearance,” meaning a removal of that hold so he could get a license in his new state. After he spoke with Ann, our senior assistant, she related a few interesting details about their conversation: The caller had been sober for over 15 years, had quit drinking immediately after his 4th (and last) DUI, had not driven since then, either, and had also gone to AA early on, up until he felt he had gotten enough out of the program.

She smiled a she prefaced her remarks to me by light-heartedly saying that she wished all cases could be this easy and solid, noting that this fellow was kind of like the “perfect” client. When she said that, I first agreed that he seemed to “check all the boxes,” and then, as I thought about it, realized that very few people every do actually check all the boxes, and that’s okay, because that’s how real life works. However, I also realized that, given how fortunate it was for us to have this kind of rare bird fall into our laps, I could use him as an example of sorts.

As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we evaluate and screen potential clients multiple times every day. When we agree to take a case, people will often ask us something like, “What do you think my chances are?” This is a really frustrating question for us, because our firm guarantees to win every driver’s license restoration and clearance appeal case we take. In other words, if we take your license appeal case, and precisely because of our guarantee, your “chances” of winning are 100%!

vectorstock_36511304-300x300My team and I won’t take a case based upon anything other than our complete confidence we can win it, and in that regard, we put our money where our mouths are. Of course, there is a catch: In order for us to take on a driver’s license restoration or clearance case, we need to know that someone has honestly quit drinking, and is genuinely sober. This filters out a lot of people, because while it’s a fact that everyone who has lost his or her license for multiple DUI’s wants it back, it’s also a fact that only a minority of those people have truly given up drinking and adopted an alcohol-free lifestyle.

There is a lot more to this, however, than someone just saying they’ve quit drinking. People try that trick all the time, but the whole point of the license appeal process is to carefully examine such claims and require a person to actually prove that he or she has made the rather dramatic transition from drinker to non-drinker. What a lot of people don’t get is that, in the context of a license appeal, having “quit” drinking and being sober means being 100% completely abstinent. “Sober” is not about someone saying they drink less, or they only drink once in a while, or anything like that.

In the world of Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration cases, this blog is the biggest ongoing resource to be found anywhere. Recently, while trying to do some online legal research, I discovered that a lot of the articles I put up here get “borrowed,” and a sort of cannibalized version of many of them can be found in other places. For as much “borrowing” as has been done from my articles, I know that nobody is going to copy any part of this article covering some largely and otherwise ignored truths about DUI and driver’s license restoration cases.

vectorstock_23731855-300x254It is said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” so I’m kind of flattered, in a sense, that other lawyers use my blog posts for their ideas. However, I do put a lot of effort into the analysis that goes into some of these installments, and I wonder if I should be mad at the fact that most of the copy-cat versions that I ran across edited much of that out, and thereby really amount to little more than “cheap knock-off” versions, or whether I’d be even madder if someone did try to pass off my analysis and reasoning as his or her own.

To be sure, nobody can claim any kind of copyright or proprietary interest in legal strategy, but it is kind of mind-blowing to find one’s own ideas put on another person’s blog, or site, as if it’s that person’s original thought. For example, I have put up quite a few articles that were “numbered,” in the sense that they would have titles like, “4 things to look out for….” or “The top 3 things…” and then get into an enumerated discussion of that topic. Imagine my surprise to find quite a few reconstituted versions of those pieces on other blogs and sites.

I have written a number of previous articles about the joy of winning a Michigan driver’s license restoration case and getting back on the road, and the incomparable job satisfaction my team and I get in helping people do that. Of course, this is how we earn our livings, but, at least in the legal world, I can’t imagine that any other practice area that gets the kind of heartfelt “thank you’s” we get. Our clients are people who have worked hard to get sober, and have really earned back the privilege to drive again. This article was inspired by one such recent experience.

3-300x275The picture you see here is of our actual client, who sent it along with his “thank you” email, and told us to use it on our site or blog (I obscured the company logo on the side of his truck). With the exception of one sentence I took out about him having posting posted a positive review of our firm, what follows are the exact words from that email: “I am so happy and grateful for your law firm! You guys did an amazing job on my case and I am already on the road and driving! Thank you for everything, this is just the beginning of my journey in my new life and I appreciate your efforts!”

As I do with many clients who express their gratitude, I reminded him that, while we appreciate his kind words, there is a lot to winning a license appeal, and even though my team and I did our part, he did all the “heavy lifting” by getting sober in the first place. Although we do get plenty of “thank you’s,” some thank you cards, and even gifts (like flowers for the staff) from happy clients who have had their driving privileges reinstated, this is the first time someone has actually sent a picture of themselves. This one really captures our client’s happiness at having won his case.

To win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, a person must prove certain legal issues by what the law specifies as “clear and convincing evidence.” In this article, I want to explain, in plain English, what that really means. In addition, I want to show why so many people who try a “do-it-yourself” license appeal, or who hire some lawyer who claims to “do” license appeals as part of a much broader practice, wind up losing precisely because they don’t understand how the proof by “clear and convincing evidence” requirement is actually applied in these cases.

lll-300x281The main rule governing driver’s license restorations begins by stating that “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:” (emphasis added). This can (and, indeed, does) get tricky, because what “clear and convincing evidence” actually means in the context of a driver’s license appeal case is a lot like what it sounds like. A lot – but not completely so – and that’s a very important part of what we’ll be examining in this piece.

A little legal research will quickly reveal that “clear and convincing” is the highest civil standard of proof, while “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is the highest criminal standard of proof. It’s easy to understand a civil versus a criminal situation this way: If a person is facing a criminal charge that carries a potential jail or prison sentence, then the criminal standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” applies. In every other setting – meaning in any case where jail isn’t a possibility – its a civil standard of proof that applies

In a recent article, I pointed out that even after being advised about the law and how things work in Michigan DUI and driver’s license restoration cases, many people will try to explain why they should be on the receiving end of some kind of special exception, often responding by saying, “yeah, but…” I noted that, in our office, that phenomenon has become known as “yabut,” which is our homemade term used to describe somebody who, like when facing a DUI charge, wonders if there is some way for him or her to get out of what everyone else has to do.

crxrxrxrx-300x277In the context of license restoration appeals, some “yabut” people just need help to understand that the rules regarding driver’s license appeals don’t have any flexibility to provide an exception based upon their individual circumstances. Most of them will ultimately accept what they’re told, even if somewhat begrudgingly. There is a rougher side, to this, however, and it’s something that, as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we hear from some people, who, even after being told how the law works, impatiently respond by saying, “That’s bull$hit!”

One thing my team and I have learned over the years is that the people who are so hell-bent on having things their own way are almost never candidates with any real chance win a license appeal case in the first place. The key requirement to win a license appeal is proving one’s sobriety, and sober people have a certain calm and humility about them that can’t be missed. By contrast, the kind of attitude that compels a person to bark out something like “this is bull$hit” to someone trying to explain things to them is very much the opposite of how sober people think and act.

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.

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