If you used to have a Michigan Driver’s License that was Revoked because you had several DUI’s, and you’ve moved to another state, you either need, or will need a Clearance of the Michigan Revocation that’s currently on your Driving Record. About one-half of the Clients I help in my role as a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer now live outside of Michigan. Some of them have never been able to obtain a License in their new state. Others were able to get a License, but now learn that they are or will be unable to renew it once it expires.
I can get that Clearance for you so that you can drive again, or keep driving. If you’re not drinking, I Guarantee that I’ll win your case the first time. If you’re eligible to start the proceedings to get a Michigan Clearance, the real cost of not doing it right the first time is losing your case and having to wait another year to try again. This can really hurt if you currently have a valid License from another state that’s about to expire, and cannot be renewed because the Michigan “Hold” has caught up with it.
It is understandable that anyone needing a Clearance wants to know if they can do this without having to come back to Michigan, and even without having to hire a Lawyer. Theoretically, it can be done. Realistically, it’s a bad idea. In the year 2010, the last year for which Official statistics are available, the Michigan Secretary of State DENIED 74% of all Appeals filed from out of state where a person did not come back to Michigan. 875 of these Appeals, called “Administrative Reviews,” were filed, and 650 of them lost. On the bright side, about one out of four actually did win…
Within my Practice, a large number of my current out-of-state Clients are individuals who tried an Administrative Review the year before, and lost. Bolstered by my Guarantee to win their case the first time, they make the trip to meet with me and get the process underway. In turn, having made sure that they really are Sober, I know that they are just 2 trips back to Michigan away from being able to drive again, or keep a valid License in their wallet.
Those who have tried their luck on a “do-it-yourself” Administrative Review and lost very often call my Office right after they’ve learned they’ve been Denied, and want to talk about an appeal. I have to explain to them that an appeal from a loss is invariably a waste of time and money. An appeal from a lost Administrative Review is not a chance to try all over again; rather, it is a chance to argue, based solely on the evidence previously submitted, that the Hearing Officer was legally wrong. I don’t take these cases, so I tell the caller they’ll have to wait until next year, when they can file a new one.
An Administrative Appeal is not Denied because someone does everything right. There is precisely about a zero chance that hiring a Lawyer to appeal such a Denial is going to change anything except the balance in a person’s bank account. This is what is meant by the phrase “throwing good money after bad.” In that regard, all the money a person tried to save the first time will probably fall far short of the expense and hassle of not being able to drive for another year. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said they wish they’d have found my site before they plowed into the License Clearance or Restoration process on their own.
It gets worse before it gets better. In some cases, it’s not just that a person missed some little thing in putting together their Administrative Review that results in the Denial. Sometimes, things are admitted or disclosed that result in the Denial, and those things are real “issues” that have to be fixed next year. A person, without understanding the full implications of what they disclose (or not), can lock themselves into something that will absolutely come back to haunt them the next year. In these cases, that means that, before next year’s case is ever begun, some repair work needs to be done.
Even if there is no damaging admission or omission that results in an Administrative Review being Denied, a person’s “Recovery Story,” or lack thereof, begins to be sketched out within the documents they submit for that Review. And make no mistake about it, how that Recovery Story is framed is very important within the context of a Michigan Driver’s License Clearance or Restoration case.
Consider this: If Sober Sam, who hasn’t had a drink in 3 years, is at a social event and someone asks “Hey, Sam, you want a beer?” Sam will probably just say “No thanks.” What if the person presses the issue, and says, “Why not”? Sam might just say something like “Nah, I’m okay,” or “Not now,” or even “I don’t drink.” He is very unlikely to get into exactly when, how and why he had that epiphany that made him decide to stop drinking. It’s not relevant when declining an offer of a drink. Why Sam isn’t drinking isn’t really a big deal.
It is front and center stage, however, in a License Appeal. The problem with an Administrative Review is that, at best, a person can only sketch out a summary version of their Recovery Story. Generally speaking (as in 3 out of 4 times) that won’t be enough, or won’t be good enough. And for better or worse (again, 3 out of 4 times it’s for “worse”), they’ll now be stuck with that framework for all future Appeals. Either that, or they’ll have to explain to the Hearing Officer why their story is changing….
I do not get involved in Administrative Reviews because I think that, as a process, they are fundamentally flawed. The statistics prove that. I refuse any offer (and have, numerous times, declined offers of my full Fee by people willing to pay, but who didn’t want to have to make 2 trips back to Michigan) to get involved in these matters because if I take a case, I intend to win it, especially in light of the fact that I have a first time win Guarantee. I cannot afford to undertake anything without the confidence of knowing I’m going to win.
In various other articles, and on my site, I explain the Clearance process in my Office. The short version is that you will come to see me on the same day we’ve scheduled your Substance Abuse Evaluation at a top-notch Clinic located just a few blocks from my Office. You’ll meet with me first, for about 3 hours, then go directly to have your Evaluation completed. The Clinic also does the urine test at that time, so you can head for home a few hours later, directly after your Evaluation, having taken care of everything. In the meantime, we’ll work on the Letters of Support. In a few weeks, we’ll have everything ready and I’ll file it. Some weeks later (often about 6 weeks after filing), you will need to return to Michigan a second and last time, for your actual Hearing.
We’ll prepare for your Hearing beforehand. I usually “prep” my Client the night before. These “prep sessions” last about an hour. The irony is that we’ll invariably spend more time preparing for the Hearing than we’ll actually spend in the actual Hearing itself. This focus on preparation is how I win my cases, and why I Guarantee it. I’ll make sure that you know exactly what questions I’ll be asking you as the Hearing, begins, and what kind of questions to expect a bit later on, from the Hearing Officer.
The Hearing itself last less than an hour, and then you can go home right after, and wait for the decision in the mail. If I’m your Lawyer, that means you go home and wait to be notified that you’ve won, and you can then go to your state’s DMV and get, or renew, your Driver’s License.
Sure, having to come back to Michigan twice is not the most convenient thing in the world, and, of course, involves some additional expense. Such costs, however, pale in comparison to not being able to drive for another year. There really are not shortcuts to doing things right. Besides, anything worth doing is worth doing right.