The goal of every Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal is, of course, to win. Let’s skip over all the fluff and not mince words here, so we can be clear: the bottom line is that when you hire a lawyer, you want to win your case, not just pay some lawyer to keep you company at the hearing. I raise the bar a bit on that score, because I believe that when you hand over your money, you should expect to win, and I actually guarantee to do just that. When I take someone’s money, that’s exactly what’s going yo happen – they’re getting their license back. I can speak about this with such confidence because I concentrate in the license restoration field, and know exactly what to do to win. I handle about 200 license cases per year, more than anyone I know. As a result, when I state something as a matter of fact, it is. That may sound cocky (although it’s not meant to), but if that wasn’t true, then I wouldn’t be where I am, and wouldn’t be providing a guarantee in every case I take. Therefore, when I say you should never call a witness at a license restoration hearing, and that doing so is almost always a mistake, you can take that to the bank.
I was reminded of this the day I started this article, at an early morning license appeal hearing at the Livonia office of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS). At the conclusion of my client’s testimony, the hearing officer asked, with a smile, if I had any witnesses, because he knows I I NEVER bring in witnesses. Calling witnesses is a first rate amateur mistake, that, if it doesn’t backfire, means you got damn lucky. I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit I learned this lesson the hard way, many, many years ago. In fact, the thing about doing license appeals is that you just have to learn much of it the hard way. It’s kind of the same thing for riding a bike; you can get some of it right, but the most important part – not falling off – is one of the things you only learn through trial and error. And it doesn’t matter how smart you are, either. Einstein could have probably written out an equation about how the rider stays upright by maintaining a certain minimum speed that involves a particular balancing of his or her weight, but for all of that, he’d still would have landed on his a$$ until he jumped on and tried enough times to just “figure it out.”
Most of the lawyers I see at the Livonia office of hearing and appeals I never see twice. There is a small handful of familiar faces that I see from time to time (this is a very niche field in which to concentrate one’s practice, so in terms of being a real “license restoration lawyer,” you can pretty much count us on one hand, not including your thumb). If I’m in the waiting room with my client and some lawyer comes out to retrieve a witness, you can be sure it’s always someone who won’t do as many license appeals in his or her whole legal career as I will in a single year. In other words, it’s some poor lawyer who just doesn’t know better. By now, I think I’ve made clear that I don’t call witnesses, and that doing so is a mistake, but why? What’s so bad about calling someone in to testify?