This article was suggested by Ann, my senior assistant, as a short follow up to my last piece, “Hire the best Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer,” in which I asked (and hopefully answered) the question “why hire me?” Ann, who spends her entire workday dealing with driver’s license restoration and DUI issues, is, of course, a bit biased. She directly fields calls from other lawyers who need help dealing with driver’s license issues. Heck, I’ve been thanked by some of those lawyers for the help she provided to them. She knows that, with this blog, and my website, and 12 or more appeal hearings I hold every month – all covered by a first time win guarantee, we are the best, and set the gold standard for license restoration and clearance cases. Thus, Ann suggested 2 reasons why people don’t hire me: either it’s the money, or they’re not ready.
I’m not cheap. Sure, you can pay less, but you can also pay more for a license appeal. Whatever else, you absolutely cannot do better. I guarantee to win every case I take, but even that assurance, by itself, doesn’t even begin to define the quality of my license appeal representation. More than any lawyer out there, I love this line of work. I am consumed by the cases I take, and throw myself headlong into them. I earn my money, not just by the results I produce, but through the effort I put in to achieve them. To be completely honest about it, there’s not much intrinsic reward for handling a criminal or DUI charge. A driver’s license restoration or clearance case, however, is completely different. In fact, there is no practice (at least that I know of) a lawyer can have that’s anywhere near as rewarding as winning back the ability to drive for people who have done the work to become non-drinkers and gone through the profound life changes required to get sober. Here, my efforts are frequently met with tears of joy and genuine expressions of gratitude. My clients deserve to win, and it’s great reward to make that happen. This reinforces a true passion for my work. At the heart of my passion is the unique mix of legal, clinical and communication abilities that I bring to the table. And before you pass that off as a bunch of hot air, let me be very specific about what that means, and how it comes together to get you back on the road.
In terms of being a driver’s license restoration lawyer, I am as good as it gets. There may be a few old hands out there who “know” as much as I do about the legal process, but in that sense, I belong to a group that is smaller than a handful. There is really nothing about the license appeal process that I don’t know well, or haven’t worked through before. I do more cases in any given month than most lawyer will do in a year, and in the course of any given year, I will have handled more cases than any group of lawyers will in an entire career. Now, multiply that by more than 25 years. But that’s not even the half of it, because I am the ONLY lawyer I know to have a clinical substance abuse background, much less to have completed a post-graduate (as opposed to undergraduate) program of addiction studies. Because of my unique practice (DUI and license restoration), I have, on a professional level, dealt with alcohol (and drug) issues all day, every day for my whole career. Personally, I have had to deal with these same issues across the broad spectrum of family and friends, as well, and I know this stuff from the outside looking in, the inside looking out, and every other perspective in-between. In a field like license restorations, where main focus is the diagnosis, treatment and recovery from alcohol problems, having a clinical background in those very things is helpful, useful and provides an decided advantage in every single case. I have, quite literally, learned and then forgotten things (like theories of addiction) that most people have never even heard about.
That kind of expertise doesn’t come cheap. You don’t get to sit in the finest leather passenger seat of a bargain rental car; you get that in a BMW or Lincoln. When I take on a new case, our first meeting alone will last at least 3 hours. I need to really get to know my client’s recovery story, and how, as well as why he or she transitioned from drinker to non-drinker. When I take on a case, the client and I join forces, and I lead the way to a successful outcome. Part of how I prepare myself for a case is to flat-out memorize it. For all the talk about stuff like evidence and letters of support, when we are sitting in the hearing itself, I will have memorized the names of the people who wrote the letters, what they said about you, and how you’re connected to them. This goes from generic to personal; instead of just submitting “evidence” from Jane Doe, we will present a letter from your aunt Jane, who lived with you for 2 years, wrote about how that last DUI affected you and the counseling you completed right after, and how your life has changed for the better since you quit drinking.
If you can’t afford me, then, whatever else, you’ll have to settle for less. That’s not meant to sound cocky, but why would you hire a lawyer who thinks any differently of themselves? Would you seriously want to give your money to someone who would say something like, “I’m not the best at this, but…”? Money is sometimes an issue. Some of my clients have had to “save up” to hire me. You have to value a driver’s license in the same way you do things like putting a roof over your head, or feeding yourself. It is, in a sense, a necessity, perhaps not for outright survival, but absolutely everyone does better when they have the independence of being able to get themselves around. Not being able to drive is incredibly limiting. If you are serious about getting back on the road, I can get you there. It’s not complimentary to say it this way, but the truth is, if you can’t get yourself around, then you’re a drag, and probably someone else’s drag, at that. Believe me, when you can drive again, no one is going to miss having to cart you around. Ever. Don’t you want to go from being a drag to becoming self-reliant? You may have to make some choices to do this, like cutting back on certain things for a while, but once you get that license, you will absolutely more than make up for it. Everyone who is able to drive again does better in life. Often enough, earning opportunities open up that you didn’t even know existed. Even people who are too broke to pay their bills manage to borrow, save or somehow scrounge up enough money to file bankruptcy, and then feel way better for having finally gotten that weight off their shoulders.
While money may or may not be an issue, another reason some people don’t hire me is because they aren’t ready. Ann has heard plenty of people say, in frustration, that “getting a license back is a pain,” and “unfair,” and “why should I have to do this?” Because you do. It is what it is, and if you want to drive again legally, you’re going to have to do what’s required. It doesn’t matter how fair or hard the process is or not, no one is going to change the rules. I’ve spoken with people who still drink and want to argue that it’s unconstitutional for the state to require them to prove they don’t drink anymore when drinking itself is perfectly legal. Good luck with that, but hey, while you’re making that argument, also throw in there that it’s also unfair that we have to pay taxes, and how let down you’ve felt ever since you found out Santa Claus isn’t real. Either get with the program, or stay on the sidelines.
The “ready” thing applies on several levels. First off, you have to be both legally and practically eligible to win. This means that you must have quit drinking. Unless you can’t get out of bed with a shot of vodka or are otherwise unable to get through the day without a drink because you’re physically addicted, then not drinking is, ultimately, a matter of choice. Sure, I understand the realities of alcoholism, but one thing we seldom mention is that every person who ever got sober had to first choose to do it. If you’ve lost your license for multiple DUI’s and you’re still drinking, then whatever else is going on there (and there probably is a lot), you have chosen to make drinking a priority over driving.
Plenty of sober people, for certain reasons, just aren’t ready to do the work and go through the license appeal process. Close to half of my clients are people who have moved out of Michigan but cannot get a license in their new state because of Michigan’s hold on their driving record. I understand that it’s not the easiest thing to come back to do this, but if you want to win, that’s what you’re going to have to do. Each year, 3 out of 4 out of state “administrative reviews” are denied, and who knows how many years those lucky 1 out of 4 people who do win have tried and lost before finally winning. I make the process as easy as possible, requiring just one trip to Michigan to meet with me and get everything done, followed by another trip a few months later to come back and win your actual hearing. If you’re not ready, do what it takes to get ready. And for what it’s worth, if you want to try an appeal by mail, by all means, do so, but just understand that when you lose, you can’t try again for another year. I’ll be here…
If you want to drive again, it’s going to take some effort and some money, at least if you want to do this right and win the first time. It’s an investment, but certainly not a bank-breaker. It takes some work, but not nearly as much as you’ve probably put in, 100 times over, to get yourself around without a license. Do your homework and check around. This blog is by far the biggest and best resource for information about the Michigan driver’s license restoration practice you can find. Still, you owe it to yourself to explore your options, and anyone who would tell you otherwise must be afraid of the comparison. I’m not, because, frankly, there is none, but I want you to find that out for yourself. When you’re ready to move forward, we’re here to help Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST). You can reach my office at 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980. All consultations are done over the phone, right when you call.