Michigan Driver’s License Restoration – No Guarantee? No Way – Part 1

In our practice as Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, my team and I guarantee to win every license restoration and clearance appeal case we take. We’ve had this guarantee in place for so long, I honestly don’t remember when it was first established. One thing I do know, however, is that over the last several years, a whole herd of newcomer-attorneys have tried to enter the license restoration field, and many of them have done so by putting up websites that use some combination of or play on the words “Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer,” but without  offering any kind of guarantee of success.

Dude4-275x300The inspiration for this article came the other day, as I was doing research for another article, and stumbled across one of these “McLicense” websites. I got to that site trying to look something up, and as luck would have it, nothing on it came close to answering my question. Once again, Google had failed me. Even though the site upon which I landed didn’t provide the information I was looking for, it did direct the reader to check out its companion blog for more information, so I decided to poke around there a bit. When I did, I was disappointed to find that less than 10 articles about Michigan driver’s license restoration had been put up over the several years of its existence.

By comparison (and yes, I am bragging), as of this writing, I have composed and published nearly 600 articles (this is #597) specifically about driver’s license restoration. That’s an order of magnitude more than all the other Michigan license restoration articles out there COMBINED. This blog has been been growing by 2 new articles added every week for over 12 years as of today’s date. I doubt any of these “McLicense” operations has even handled anywhere near 200 license appeal cases in the entire time they’ve been around, whereas our firm, by contrast, handles more than 200 of them per year.

As I was looking around, I also noticed that the website clearly noted that the attorney had “affordable fees,” although it did not list them, like we do. What really struck me, though, was that for as much of a sales pitch (and lack of detailed information) as that site had about license restorations, the lawyer behind it did NOT have any kind of “win guarantee,” like our firm does. In other words, he didn’t back up his work, or otherwise put his money where his mouth is.

At that point, it occurred to me that if I was a person looking to hire a lawyer for a driver’s license restoration or clearance case, no matter what other information any legal site might otherwise contain, I would NEVER consider hiring anyone who didn’t provide a guarantee to win.

In other words, “No guarantee – no way!”

On countless occasions, my team and I have been told how important our guarantee has been to those who have hired us.

While we’re proud of our guarantee, we’ve also grown accustomed to it. The simple truth is that we’ve had it in place for so long, it doesn’t seem like anything special to us anymore – at least until we consider the idea that someone would ever pay over their money to a lawyer for a license restoration or clearance appeal case who didn’t guarantee to win it.

I can’t help but think that’s just crazy, because, well, it is!

What’s even more perplexing to me is why a lawyer wouldn’t provide a guarantee to win every driver’s license restoration or clearance case he or she takes.

To be sure, given the potential unknowns involved, no lawyer can guarantee results for things like ignition interlock violations or appeals to upgrade a person’s restricted license to a full license (technically called a “change and removal of restrictions”), but an initial restoration or clearance appeal case is altogether different.

There is really no good reason for a lawyer to not have a guarantee in such matters.

When our office screens a potential client, we know exactly what questions to ask. My team and I have to inquire about specific things, and must get clear answers in order to be sure that we can make a potential case into a winner. While it might seem, at times, like we’re being “tough,” the fact is, we’re just being thorough. That’s how we win cases, and why we can guarantee our results.

We provide our guarantee because we’re good. We couldn’t do that if we were sloppy, or anything less than thorough.

In fact, precisely because of our guarantee, we have to be both careful and thorough. Our promise is simple, but strong: If we take your initial driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal case, we guarantee to win it. If we don’t, we’ll stick with it and charge no further legal fees until we do win your case before the Michigan Secretary of State.

About the only exception is if a person lies to the hearing officer, lies to us, or otherwise uses, or starts using, alcohol or drugs again.

The bottom line, for our firm, is that we earn our money and make our livings winning these cases the first time around. It is NOT in our financial interests to take a case that we can’t win right out of the gate, thereby obligating ourselves to have to do the the whole thing all over again – for free, no less – the next year.

With all of that on the line, you can be sure we know how to sort out potential clients who have what it takes for us to make their case a winner from those who don’t.

The end result of this is that any potential client who hires us doesn’t have to worry about risking his or money for a mere “shot” at winning his or her license back, because we will win it, and our guarantee makes us equally invested as our clients in the success of every case we take.

Even so, I can’t help but laugh a little to myself if a person asks something like, “So what do you think my chances are?”

Like, as close to 100% as can be, and certainly close enough that we’re willing to bet that we WON’T have to re-do the whole case all over again – for free – next year!

License appeals are complex, but that’s why we’re bona-fide driver’s license restoration and DUI lawyers who specifically concentrate our work in these related fields. I often point out that our firm’s 2 main practice areas are like a Q-tip, with license restoration cases on one side, DUI cases on the other, and the stick joining them together being alcohol.

Winning a license restoration case requires a person to prove to the Michigan Secretary of State that he or she has quit drinking for good (and does NOT use marijuana, either). A little explanation is in order here, so let’s first look at how the law puts it, then we’ll see what it really means.

While I’ve reprinted the opening section of the main rule (Rule 13) governing license appeals below, I’d direct the reader to pay particular attention to the first 2 paragraphs, because that’s what matter most:

The hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence, all of the following:

I. That the petitioner’s alcohol or substance abuse problems, if any, are under control and likely to remain under control.

II. That the risk of the petitioner repeating his or her past abusive behavior is a low or minimal risk.

III. That the risk of the petitioner repeating the act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by, or under the influence of, alcohol or controlled substances or a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance or repeating any other offense listed in section 303(1)(d), (e), or (f) or (2)(c), (d), (e), or (f) of the act is a low or minimal risk.

IV. That the petitioner has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law.

V. Other showings that are relevant to the issues identified in paragraphs (i) to (iv) of this subdivision.

Note that the rule begins by mandating that the hearing officer shall NOT grant a license appeal unless the person who files it proves the relevant legal issues by what is next defined as “clear and convincing evidence.”

To summarize, then, the 2 key legal issues from the rule that apply in every case are:

1. That the person’s alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning that he or she has been completely abstinent from alcohol (and drugs, including marijuana) for a legally sufficient period of time. In our office, we generally require a person to have been alcohol and substance-free for at least 10 months before we’ll move forward with a case, and,

2. That the person’s alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” meaning that he or she has both the ability and commitment to remain alcohol-free for life. Put another way, a person has to prove that he or she has not only quit drinking, but is also a safe bet to never drink again.

We’ll stop here for now, and come back, in part 2, to see why these 2 issues are so important to our guarantee to win every Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance appeal case our firm takes, and how they can also be the reason that almost no other lawyers don’t.