Michigan Driver’s License and Clearance Appeal “Horror Stories”

I have a guarantee that if I take your Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, I will win it. I’ve had this guarantee for years, and as far as I know, I was the first to offer it in license appeal cases (and the only one doing it) as well as the first lawyer to call himself a “Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer.” The other day, a man came in to see me, along with his father (who drove him), and as we wrapped up our meeting and shook hands, the dad wanted a bit of clarification about my guarantee. He began by saying to me that “I’ve heard horror stories about people paying big money to a lawyer and then losing.” His question was straightforward and simple, and, as you’ll see is both the inspiration for and basis of this article: “So if he doesn’t win this time, you’ll go back with him next time, and he doesn’t have to pay you anything?” Yes, that’s it, except that my guarantee is that I will stick with it until you do win your license back, not merely go back one more time. Fortunately, I have never had to go for a 3rd appeal, but I take every case with the promise to actually win it, not just try to win it once or twice.

Boxshot simple truth is that I earn my money winning licenses back the first time, not having to go back and do “warranty work.” That means that I’m really “in it to win it.” That also means that your interests in winning the first time line squarely up with mine in not having to come back a second time. It is understood that everyone who has lost his or her license wants it back, but it is essential to success in a license appeal that one understands who really qualifies. Everyone “needs” a license, but that has absolutely nothing with being able to win it back. Neither does the amount of time you’ve been without a license. The Michigan Secretary of State delegates the responsibility for deciding license appeals to it’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), and has no way to take into account how tough it has been without a license, how long it’s been since you last drove, or anything other than whether your period of revocation has passed (meaning that you’re eligible to appeal) and whether or not you’re really sober.

License appeals are hard because they are designed to be hard. The simple fact is that most people who lose their driver’s license for multiple DUI’s don’t ever completely quit drinking, and you must completely quit drinking to have any chance of ever winning it back. The Secretary of State will never contemplate putting someone back on the road that shows up and tries to argue that he or she can drink once in a while. If you’ve had your license yanked for 2 or more DUI’s, the Secretary of State has already decided that you’re a high risk; so high, in fact, that you won’t be allowed to drive again until you show that things have changed, and that “thing” is that you’ve completely removed alcohol from your life. This unbending requirement that you have quit drinking and are committed to complete sobriety substantially narrows the field of people with any chance to win back their license. It is from this field that I get my clients, and is really the foundation of my “win guarantee.”

Over the years, I’ve had lots of clients tell me that my guarantee was an important, if not the most important, reason they called and then hired me. While I’m flattered to hear that, I really wonder why any lawyer would not have a guarantee. I cannot imagine hiring a lawyer for a driver’s license restoration case and NOT getting a guarantee. How can a lawyer screen a potential client and not be able to determine if he or she qualifies? What does a lawyer without a guarantee say when accepting a fee, “I’ll try”? In my mind, a guarantee isn’t any kind of big deal, it’s an absolute minimum. I understand that when you file a lawsuit (or you’re being sued), there are no guarantees, but license appeals are totally different. There are specific, objective criteria you must meet to win a license appeal. What kind of lawyer offers services and then takes money without first determining whether a client meets them or not? When you do meet the requirements to win a license appeal, then it becomes the lawyer’s job to make sure the appeal is put together as a winner. I just don’t get why any lawyer wouldn’t fully commit to succeeding at that, and I simply do not understand anyone paying over money without a guarantee of success.

Truth be told, I’ve seen my own share of “horror stories.” It’s not my place to fault any lawyer for not knowing what he or she doesn’t know, but I think sometimes lawyers fall into the trap of thinking, “License appeal? I can do that!” I’ve been the clean up guy after some rather expensive names have taken their shot at winning back someone’s license and then fallen short. It does not matter if you’re the greatest criminal defense lawyer on the planet, or if you are a trial lawyer par excellence, unless you regularly (as in nearly every day of the week, week-in and week-out, year after year) do license appeals, you’re “playing” in a field that requires substantial dedication and time. You don’t learn the “million little rules” of license appeals easily; in fact, you learn most of them the hard way. I certainly did.

I can obviate all those concerns. If you’re really sober, I can get you back on the road. If you’re still wrestling with complete sobriety, perhaps I can offer some insight that will help you get there. One of the most significant moments of my career came when I was sitting with a client and asked him, “What made you decide to quit drinking?”

“You,” he answered. He then went on to explain that he had called my office a few years before and got mad because we wouldn’t take his case even though he wanted to argue that it was okay for him to have a drink once in a while. He said he hung up frustrated, but as time went on and he kept thinking about it, he realized that drinking wasn’t all that much fun for him anymore, and certainly not worth all the trouble it had caused him. Moreover, he said that he was sitting there thinking that not only was alcohol the common denominator to all the problems in his past, but it was still there in his life, the lone impediment to him getting back on the road. It was then, he realized, that alcohol held a disproportionate influence over him and his life. He started to get mad the other way (meaning mad at his drinking), and eventually threw the gauntlet down and declared, “Enough is enough!”

You don’t have to be sober to call me, but you do have to be sober before we can move forward with a license appeal case. When the time comes, you’ll never have to worry about gambling your money. You’ll pay me once and then I will put a valid license back in your wallet. No horror stories, no risk, no anything other than a simple, ironclad guarantee. To find out more, call my office anytime Monday through Friday, from 8:30 to 5:00 pm (EST) at 586-465-1980.

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