Michigan License Restoration – The joy of Getting back on the road Legally

I am a Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer, and I love my job. I love what I do, and the end product of my work brings great joy to my Clients, and, by extension, to me, as well. Helping someone get back on the road, especially someone who has earned the right to be there, is a rewarding occupation. I get the pleasure of dealing with Clients who have, in essence, turned their lives around. But the path by which they get there can sometimes be trying.

Anyone who has had their Michigan Driver’s License Revoked because of multiple DUI’s knows that if they get behind the wheel and drive and get caught, the consequences are severe. As a Michigan License Restoration Lawyer, I deal with this from all angles. I am hired to represent people charged with Driving While License Suspended and Revoked (DWLS and DWLR) charges all the time. Amongst that group of Clients are people who were either eligible, or close to becoming eligible to have their Michigan License Reinstated (Restored), or to obtain a “Clearance” of the Michigan “Hold” upon their Driving Record.

Happiness jump 1.2.jpgWhether they have not driven at all, or have taken that chance and been lucky enough to not get caught, there is a palpable excitement that charges the atmosphere when I meet with someone to help them get their License back. They look forward to being able to legally get back on the road. Sometimes, when I first meet with a new Client, they are a bit nervous, wondering if the end goal of regaining the privilege to drive is just too good to be true. There are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding License Appeals, and most of them are negative.

Often, I hear someone relate that they “heard” that a person cannot win a License Restoration Appeal the first time. While the statistics are rather bleak for anyone trying it without me, as a Lawyer, my win rate hovers around 98%, and I Guarantee that I will win any License Appeal I accept the first time, or I will continue to represent my Client before the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD) without further Attorney Fees until he or she does, in fact, get back on the road. The prerequisite to my accepting a License Appeal case is that a potential Client must be really and truly Sober.

If a person is Sober, and legally eligible to file a Driver’s License Restoration Appeal, I can get them back on the road, legally. For a Michigan resident, this means that they MUST (as in, there is no way around it) drive on a Restricted License for at least one year, and do so with an ignition interlock device installed on whatever car they drive. If a person has relocated outside of Michigan, and lives in another state, they can seek a “Clearance,” which is a complete removal of Michigan’s “Hold” on their Driving Record. This will allow them to get a License (usually a “Full” License) in another state. Either way, when I win someone’s License back, or get them a Clearance, it’s an awesome feeling…

As much as I do not often come up short on words, it is hard to describe the joy a person experiences when they are notified that they’ve won their License Appeal. I can only experience this vicariously, but it does matter to me. It pumps me up. Winning is generally good in any situation, but when I win a License Appeal, I get a double dose of pleasure, because I’ve won a case for someone who actually deserves it. My Clients have done the work to get Sober. They’ve made a huge and life-changing transition from drinker to non-drinker. Usually, within the framework of their lives, getting back on the road is the last outstanding piece of the puzzle to be put in place as part of their journey through Recovery.

As much as there is joy when a person wins a License Appeal, there is a sense of despair when someone who is either eligible, or close to being eligible to file a License Appeal gets caught driving, and winds up charged with DWLS or DWLR. Under Michigan Law, if a person’s License has been Revoked, and they get convicted of ANY moving violation, they will have their License Revoked for a “like” mandatory additional period. Let’s sort this out…

When a person gets 2 DUI’s, within 7 years, their License will be Revoked for 1 year. If a person picks up 3 DUI’s within 10 years, their License will be Revoked for 5 years. There is no middle ground; these are the exact penalties.

If a person get’s caught driving, then the Law requires that they receive a mandatory additional “like” penalty. This means, then, that if Dan the Driver is Revoked for a year for 2 DUI’s within 7 years, and he’s caught driving, the Secretary of State, upon finding out Dan was caught driving, will slap him with another mandatory 1-year Revocation. This is what’s meant by “like.” For what it’s worth, the imposition of a mandatory “like” additional Revocation applies until the Driver has won a License Appeal. The upshot of this is that even if Dan’s 1-year Revocation was from 2008 to 2009, and in 2009 he became eligible to file a License Appeal, but he never got around to it, and in 2012 he gets caught driving, he’s no less driving on a Revoked License, and precisely because he never “got around” to reinstating his License, the Secretary of State will impose another mandatory “like” (meaning 1-year) additional Revocation upon him.

The same holds true for those who’ve picked up 3 (or more) DUI’s within 10 years, and have their Licenses Revoked for 5 years. Thus, if Dan the Driver had his License Revoked for 5 years because he got 3 DUI’s, and he gets caught driving during that period of Revocation (remember, this means that even if Dan was Revoked from 2002 through 2007, and has long been eligible to file a License Appeal, but hasn’t), the Secretary of State will impose a “like’ mandatory additional period of Revocation, meaning he’ll have his License yanked for another 5 years.

There is nothing that can be done to shorten these “mandatory additional” Revocations, either. The Law SPECIFICALLY provides that they cannot be shortened by a Court, or otherwise, for any reason. In that sense, this is as certain and fixed as “death and taxes.” If there is a lesson here, it is to not drive until you’ve gotten your License back. For some, that advice just comes too late, and there is nothing to be done about it except to wait.

That’s okay. As the old saying goes, you can’t un-spill the milk. What’s done is done. The key thing is to not get caught driving again, and wind up sidelined for another year, or five.

As much joy as there is in winning almost everyone of my cases, there is almost equal pleasure in specializing in Driver’s License Restoration cases. I get to sit across the desk from people who are on the upswing in their lives. Anyone whose Sober knows how much more pleasant a person they are now than when they were drinking. To call it a night and day difference is almost an understatement. Anyone who has gone through it will agree that the change is profound. As the License Restoration Lawyer, I get to deal with the finished product. As a Lawyer in general, that’s a change of pace. Most Lawyer’s are in the “misery business,” meaning they get involved when things go wrong in people’s lives. Most people don’t find themselves in a Lawyer’s Office on a roll.

Lucky for me, I get the exact opposite. I get my Clients in on a roll. I often think of representing the DUI Driver as kind of like being a funeral director; the person is no doubt glad your there for them, but sincerely wishes they didn’t need you in the first place. Being a License Restoration Lawyer, by comparison, is more like being the jeweler who sells a beautiful wedding or anniversary ring to a happy couple. You get to share in someone’s joy, not their misery. Trust me, it ‘s a fine way to make a living.

Getting back on the road legally takes work. It takes patience. As long a person commits to Sobriety, and follows through on that commitment, I can make it happen. I do it everyday, and I love it almost as much as the person who wins back their License. As many times as I have done it, there is really something special about getting that phone call or email from a Client who just wants to say “thank you.” Trust me, that never gets old…

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