In numerous other articles, I have noted that the substance use evaluation (SUE) is really the foundation of a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case. While true, that’s also a rather general observation, because there is actually a specific section of the SUE that is really critical to the outcome of a license appeal: the prognosis. The importance of the prognosis cannot be overstated, as it is the evaluator’s professional judgment about how likely the subject is to remain alcohol-free for life.
This is important, because winning a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal requires a person to prove that he or she has not consumed any alcohol (or drugs) for a legally “sufficient” period of time (our firm typically requires a client to have at least 18 months’ of clean time before we’ll move forward with a case) and that they have both the ability and the commitment to never drink again. In that sense, the evaluator’s prognosis is really the main point and “bottom line” of a substance use evaluation.
A person MUST have a favorable prognosis in order to win a license appeal, but, like so much else involved in these cases, there is a lot more to all of this, and much of it is rather subtle. That brings us to the real point of this article: a prognosis must be good enough to win, but when it seems too good to be true, it’s no good at all. This most often becomes an issue when an evaluator gives someone an “excellent” prognosis. It may seem counter-intuitive, but a prognosis of “excellent” can often be a problem, rather than a good thing.