Michigan Driver’s License and Driving Record Holds – Fixing or Clearing the way for an out of State License

As a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, my Office is contacted almost daily by someone who now lives outside of Michigan, in another state, and discovers that they cannot get a Driver’s License because of a Michigan “Hold” on their Driving Record as a result of multiple DUI convictions. About one-half of the Clients for whom I win back the privilege to drive again live outside of Michigan. I work with and resolve these issues more in any given month than most Lawyers will ever see in their lifetime. Not only do I have loads of experience fixing these DUI Driving Record problems, I have a first time win Guarantee that assures the Client that, if I accept their case, they’ll only have to pay me once to get back on the road.

Out-of-State/Michigan Driver’s License cases often start the counter of another State’s DMV, the equivalent of Michigan’s Secretary of State. A person will go there to apply for a License, only to learn that a License cannot be issued because of a Michigan “Hold,” or Revocation for multiple DUI’s. Most of the time, the person will have lived in Michigan, at least for a time, and held a Michigan Driver’s License. It does not matter if all (or even any) of their DUI’s took place in Michigan. What matters is that they held a Michigan License at the time they received a 2nd DUI within 7 years, or a 3rd within 10 years, regardless of where those DUI’s occurred.

Mi Map copy1.3.jpgI’ve handled cases where a person NEVER held a Michigan Driver’s License, but picked up 2 DUI’s here within 7 years. As a result, the Secretary of State created a Michigan Driver’s License number for them, then immediately “Revoked” their Michigan License, even though they never really had one issued here. The upshot of all this is that when their out of state License was due for renewal, they could not renew because of the Michigan “Hold.”

Once a Michigan Driver’s License is Revoked for multiple DUI’s, it almost always prevents a person from obtaining a License in another state. In years past, some people were able to slip past this and get an out-of-state License. That was then, this is now…

As the reporting procedures for the NDR (National Driving Register) started to improve, those people who once held out-of-state Licenses began finding themselves unable to renew them. Amongst those calling my Office, a significant number have had an out-of-state License that they are unable to renew because of DUI convictions from years ago.

In either case, the reality is that the State of Michigan has Revoked a person’s Michigan Driver’s License for multiple DUI’s, and the person will never be able to get another License, anywhere, until they fix or “clear” the Michigan Revocation (which amounts to a “Hold” to an out of State DMV). A “Clearance” is identical in every single respect to a regular Michigan Driver’s License Restoration except for one thing:

If a person still lives in Michigan, they can only have their Driver’s License “Restored,” meaning Michigan will grant them a Restricted License at first. If a person no longer resides in Michigan, the State cannot grant them any kind of License. Instead, it can only “clear” its Revocation on their Driving Record, which, in turn, will allow them to obtain a Driver’s License in their new home state.

The procedure in my Office is to handle these cases in a very particular, structured way, designed not only to make it as convenient as possible for the Client, but also to assure that they win their Appeal the first time. In that vein, I am occasionally asked about what is called an “Administrative Review,” which is pretty much an Appeal by mail. I do not believe in Administrative Reviews, and for good reason. Statistically speaking, about 75% of all such cases lose each year. In the year 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) processed 875 Administrative Reviews, and DENIED 650 of them. This means that 74% of all such Appeals lost.

While I understand anyone would rather not come to Michigan if they didn’t have to, given the countless problems inherent with Administrative Reviews, they can safely be considered as nothing more than a losing proposition. If a person was asked to bet $100 for the chance to double their money (meaning get $200 back), or lose their $100 bet and get nothing back, and was told that t odds of them losing was 3 out of 4 (75%), how many people would take such a long shot chance? It seems only an idiot would make such a bet…

I have, on many occasions, been offered my full Driver’s License Restoration Fee ($3600 total) to help someone with an Administrative Review, and have always declined. In the first instance, chances are 3 out of 4 that I’d be backing up my first time win Guarantee after the first attempt failed. I make my money winning these cases the first time. I could, of course, just not offer any guarantee, but I’ve never been inclined toward that “take the money and run” mindset. I am passionate about my work, and truly believe that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

A Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Appeals begins by filing a Request for Hearing and Substance Abuse Evaluation. This Evaluation is the very foundation of a License Appeal case. It must be watertight.

The DAAD decides License Appeals according to the requirements to Rule 13, the governing rule, which sets things up this way:

“The Hearing Officer SHALL NOT order that a license be issued to the Petitioner unless the Petitioner proves [his or her case], by clear and convincing evidence…” (emphasis added)

This means the Hearing Officers are looking for a reason to DENY a License Appeal, not looking for a reason to Grant one. This means that, in addition to the Hearing Officer looking for the faults or flaws in any License Appeal, the person filing the Appeal has to prove their case by “Clear and Convincing Evidence.” This is a high standard of proof. This means, as I noted before, that a License Appeal has to be watertight.

In my Practice, I always meet with any new Client for about 3 hours before they undergo their Substance Abuse Evaluation, which I normally recommend to be completed at a local Clinic a few blocks from my Office. When a Client calls from out-of-state, we’ll schedule their meeting with me on the day of their Evaluation. Typically a person will come to see me around 10 a.m., and have their Evaluation scheduled for 1 or 2 o’clock, or I’ll see them around 1:00 pm, and their Evaluation will be scheduled around 4 o’clock.

As part of that first, three-hour meeting, we’ll also go over the details of the Letters of Support, and my new Client will leave with an understanding of what to get back to me so that I can begin correcting and editing them.

When the Client is done at the Clinic, they can go home. Their next trip back to Michigan will be for the actual License Appeal Hearing. From my perspective, this will be more of a formality than anything else, because in Michigan Driver’s License Restoration cases, as in so many other things, “the devil is in the details,” and these cases are won or lost in the preparation.

Sobriety is, of course, a first requirement in a License Appeal. If a person is genuinely Sober, and they come back to Michigan, once to hire and meet with me, and then a second time to attend their actual License Appeal Hearing, I can send them home to await notification that they have won their Appeal, and that they can finally go and get their Driver’s License.