Weekly Summaries: Detroit-area DUI (self-help) – Michigan License Restoration (the Evaluation)

1. Your role in a Michigan (Detroit-area) DUI case

In this week’s first article about DUI cases, I noted how the superb outcomes in the 4 DUI cases I handled in the Detroit area the preceding week, and referenced in the article before that, were partly the result of my client’s direct interest and participation in their cases. In each of the 4 cases I discussed, my clients were motivated to take the necessary steps to make things better. I had 2 High BAC charges dropped all the way down a beyond simple OWI charge to the least severe “impaired driving” charge, saving each client’s ability to drive. I was able to take a 2nd offense charge, get it reduced to a 1st offense, and then see that my client didn’t get socked with expensive or difficult probation, winding up with only non-reporting probation, instead. In another 2nd offense case, I found a legal issue to challenge the evidence and expect to have the case dismissed. Here are the major bullet points from that article:


  • It takes your input to make a DUI case better
  • Your input in your DUI case can be as little as just paying attention
  • We’re talking a few hours, not days
  • The payoff is absolutely huge
  • The most important part of a DUI is what happens to you, as well as what does not
  • The mandatory alcohol screening is the primary tool used to determine if your drinking is a problem, or you are at risk to develop a problem
  • Being thoroughly prepared to undergo that screening is key
  • I have more than just 24-plus years’ legal experience – I am involved in the formal study of alcohol and addiction issues at the post-graduate, University level
  • This all comes together to make sure you aren’t seen as having or being at risk to develop a drinking problem
  • It also means protecting you from burdensome and expensive counseling that you can avoid
  • The real measure of “success” in any DUI case is more about what does NOT happen to you
  • Avoiding consequences, including driver’s license consequences, is really the end goal



Now, on to driver’s license restoration and the role of the prognosis on the substance abuse evaluation form…

2. Substance Abuse Evaluation Prognosis in Michigan Driver’s License Restoration cases

In this week’s second article, I examined the critical role of the substance abuse evaluation in a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, particularly the “prognosis section.” The prognosis can only be poor, fair, guarded, good or excellent. Poor, guarded and fair must legally result in denial of a license appeal case. Only a prognosis of good or excellent is legally sufficient to win, and excellent is almost always a problem because it is almost never warranted. Given the hearing officer’s perspective in deciding license reinstatement appeals, particularly in cases where a person has previously won a license restoration appeal, and then picked up another DUI, they are skeptical by nature, because their perspective on appeals has been shaped by years of seeing situations such as that. Here are the major bullet points from that article:


  • The substance abuse evaluation is the “foundation” of a driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal
  • The prognosis is really the whole point of a substance abuse evaluation
  • The prognosis must be “good” or “excellent,” although “excellent” is very seldom appropriate and usually brings more trouble than it does any good
  • A prognosis if “poor,” “fair” or “guarded” must, by law, result in a denial
  • It is unreasonable to expect an evaluator to understand these legal implications
  • Unfortunately, many lawyers attempting to “do” a license appeal case don’t understand this, either
  • To get a good evaluation in general, and a good prognosis in particular, requires being thoroughly prepared for the evaluation beforehand
  • I spend 3 hours with each client before the evaluation
  • I guarantee I win every license appeal case I take, but I absolutely require that a person really and truly be sober, first.



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