Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert: Our office is OPEN, and will remain open, to the extent possible, during this crisis. We have long handled consultations and retainers by telephone. We are managing all new and pending criminal and DUI cases under current and evolving court practices.

Driver’s License Restoration and Clearance cases are well-suited to start over the phone, and the “down time” many people have now is a good opportunity to begin this process.

Our consultations have ALWAYS been free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call. We are very friendly people who will be glad to explain things and answer your questions, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST).

Understanding recovery is the key to winning a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance case, as well as proving the 2 key legal issues underlying every appeal: First, that your alcohol problem is “under control,” meaning that you have been alcohol-free for a legally sufficient period of time, and, second, that your alcohol problem is “likely to remain under control,” which means that you have the ability and commitment to remain alcohol-free (i.e., sober) for life.

2073657-1564146951999-29c1b8611d052-300x251Everyone who has given up drinking (and/or using drugs) understands, through hard-won experience, what recovery is all about. Although it sounds like a cliche, the truth is that it really is as much a journey as it is a destination. In order for a lawyer to really be able to prove these issues, and, in the case of our practice, guarantee to win every case we take, a comprehensive and fundamental understanding of recovery is necessary, and I’m not just talking “book knowledge,” either.

In addition to knowing about addiction and recovery from the inside-out, the outside-in, and having spent 30 years dealing with a largely addicted and recovering client base, I have also completed a formal, post-graduate program of addiction studies. My clinical and real world experience means that I know, at the gut-level, about the development, diagnosis, treatment and recovery from alcohol, drug and other addiction issues better than any lawyer I’ve ever heard about.

For all the things we do as Michigan criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers, our practice, like the practice of any good lawyer or law firm, is every bit as much defined by the kinds of cases we don’t handle as those we do. There’s an old saying that “you can’t be all things to all people,” but too often, this is ignored, especially by attorneys who offer a range of services that is simply too broad.

tumblr_ly5jviSHY71r0lzjao1_400-300x230This applies to general field of “criminal law,” as well, with some “criminal lawyers” offering to handle every kind of charge, from driving with a suspended license (DWLS) cases, to rape and murder charges, all the way to post-conviction appeals. In the real world, the best lawyer to handle the appeal of a murder conviction is almost certainly not the best lawyer to have tried the underlying murder case itself, and he or she, in turn, wold be the wrong person to hire for a DUI case.

Better lawyers limit what they do in order to be excellent at a few things, rather than mediocre at many. This is exactly why construction companies use carpenters, electricians, and plumbers on their jobs, rather hiring a few “jack-of-all trades” handyman types to do the same work. Likewise, even though they’re both “surgeons,” it’s an orthopedic surgeon, rather than a cardiac surgeon, that does hip replacements.

In part 1 of this article, we began an honest inquiry of how much you should pay for a DUI lawyer. We looked at how much we charge in my office, and how that includes everything it should, but nothing unnecessary, either. In part 2, we saw that building trial fees into the price almost never makes sense, and then we began discussing what is the most important part of any DUI case that doesn’t get thrown out of court – the mandatory written alcohol screening process.

merlin_136696425_2ccfceef-3b01-45b2-80c7-6d863df7df77-superJumbo-300x233While the alcohol screening test is important, there is more to it than just completing a written questionnaire. In addition to being “screened,” everyone going through the DUI process will also be interviewed by a probation officer, who must also gather comprehensive background information about the person, as well as a clear picture of the DUI itself, and the events surrounding it. If you’re getting the idea that the probation officer is a key player in all this, then you’re following exactly as you should be.

Thereafter, using the “results” of the alcohol screening test, along with all the other information he or she assembles about the person and the DUI incident, the probation officer must come up with a written sentencing recommendation that is forwarded to the Judge and advises him or her exactly what kind of measures to take (like ordering an alcohol educational program, or counseling, or even treatment, if he or she thinks it’s warranted) along with what penalties to impose.

In part 1 of this article, we began an examination of how much you should pay for a DUI lawyer. I pointed out that I’m the only lawyer I know who publishes his fees online and I explained why I do that. I finished up by noting that better lawyers, representing better clients, don’t need to charge up front for legal services (like trials) that aren’t likely to be rendered anyway. That’s not the half of it, though, and this is really where things get interesting.

maxresdefault-300x215For all the “big talk” about trials and “beating” charges, the number of DUI cases that really go to trial is rather low, and the number of those that actually win is RIDICULOUSLY small. Fortunately, we have the actually, official statistics to examine. Frankly, I find the lack of such disclosure on other “legal” websites disheartening, as I think anyone looking to hire a DUI lawyer should be informed about these things.

Here again, just like with legal fees, I’m the only lawyer I know to list actual numbers. By law, the Michigan State Police (MSP) MUST conduct what is call the Annual Drunk Driving Audit. This legally-mandated record-keeping follows EVERY DUI case in the State of Michigan from the moment of arrest through the final outcome. There are no exceptions, and no case can go unreported or escape being tracked.

Perhaps the first thing anyone looking for a DUI lawyer should know is that cost does not equal value. In other words, it’s very easy to wind up paying WAY too much in legal fees for ordinary representation and unexceptional results in a DUI case. On the flip side, you will NEVER get what you don’t pay for, either, and there are no bargains when it comes to quality. This is especially true regarding legal representation.

man-counting-hundred-dollar-bills_gettyimages-89348585-300x215In a very real way, figuring out what you should expect to spend for a good lawyer is very much about learning how to filter out BS, and there is certainly a lot of it out there. If you google anything about legal fees in DUI cases (which is probably how you found this article), you will almost immediately find yourself inundated with messages that practically scream “I’m the best, so I charge the most,” along with the shrieks of alarmists who try to convince you to “Call NOW!”

Relax, and don’t make that mistake. There is absolutely zero downside to taking the time to do your homework and go about finding a DUI lawyer like a smart consumer, and anyone who suggests differently should be avoided like the plague. As you look around, though, remember that because all lawyers (myself included) are in business to make money, you also need to “read between the lines,” so to speak, and always be aware of the ever-present self interest in everything you encounter.

When it comes to driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, the money you hand over to a lawyer should buy you a winning result, and not just pay for services that may or may not be successful. My team and I guarantee to win every first time license appeal we file precisely because, when we take a case, we carefully manage every single part of it at every stage along the way.

Win4-300x219I referenced this in a recent article about how we control everything that happens in an out-of-state clearance case. In this piece, I want to tie that into to how it culminates in our first time win guarantee for both in-state restoration and clearance cases. Sometimes, we are contacted by someone who has already started a license appeal, and then decides to reach out for help. How we handle those inquires helps explain things.

Our reply in such situations is always the same: we won’t step in and do repairs to someone else’s work. Although it’s not meant in a snobbish way, the bottom line is that we don’t find anyone’s work (including any other lawyer’s) up to our standards, and certainly not enough so for us to take over, finish up, and still guarantee the result. If we ever do take on a case that’s already in progress, we scrap everything that’s been done and start over from scratch.

If you’re facing a DUI charge and looking for a lawyer, it’s almost impossible to not be overwhelmed by the endless legal websites that practically scream “Call ME!” or “Call NOW!” On top of that, at almost every turn, you get hit over the head with claims of success and never ending testimonials that can make Mother Theresa seem like a real slacker. all the things to look for in a DUI attorney (and others to avoid), there is one question you should always know the answer to about any lawyer you’re considering hiring: “Do you get to this court regularly?” In this article, we’re going to explore why this so important. Before we get to that, however, let’s define what is meant by “DUI lawyer” and see how that’s different from some lawyer who just “does” DUI cases.

At its most basic, a “DUI lawyer” is an attorney who devotes a substantial part of his or her practice to handling DUI and DUI-related cases. In that sense, a “substantial” part of a lawyer’s practice really means “majority” of his or her caseload. By definition, all DUI attorneys are criminal lawyers, but not all criminal lawyers are DUI attorneys, in the same way that all basketball players are athletes, but not all athletes are basketball players.

While the Coronavirus crisis unfolds, our office is open (remotely) and handling cases, while both following the law and observing best practices. Although some court functions have been limited, in our roles as criminal, DUI and driver’s license restoration lawyers with active and pending cases, we must and will remain available to both our clients and the courts, as well as the Michigan Secretary of State.

unnamed-1-300x234No matter what, some things are time-critical. For example, in a DUI case, it is very important to at least make a request to preserve the video evidence case right away, because many police department recycle (meaning erase) these recordings every 30 days. This is true right now – today – even though any new DUI case itself might not be heard in court for many months, long past the point where the police car dash-cam video has been erased, and therefore unavailable.

As I write this installment, pretty much everything is in-flux, and they will likely continue to change as the situation evolves. This means that any procedure we put in place or promise we make today may go out the window tomorrow. Nevertheless, because we are an established law firm with many ongoing cases, we simply cannot be unavailable to our clients, much less the courts or Secretary of State. This means we’re here for new clients, as well.

In our roles as Michigan driver’s license restoration attorneys who guarantee to win every first time license appeal and clearance case we take, we do, quite literally, hear it all. It is an everyday thing for us to hear how much someone has changed since they gave up drinking, and that they’re now ready to move forward in life and drive again. In much the same way that getting sober is the first thing a person must do to have any chance of winning a driver’s license appeal, actually starting the process to get it back is often the last step in that journey.

servicespuzzle-300x260-300x260I cannot say this enough: the whole point of a Michigan driver’s license reinstatement appeal is to prove to the Michigan Secretary of State that you have given up drinking for good. This requires showing 2 things: first, that you have been completely abstinent from alcohol for a “sufficient” period of time (in my office, we generally want our clients to have a minimum of 18 months of sobriety) and second, that you have the commitment and ability to never drink again. Key to this is that you’ve gotten sober for yourself, not just to get your license back.

It is a huge thing when someone quits drinking because they’ve finally “had enough.” From that point forward, everything about their life changes, and all for the better. This is what recovery and sobriety is all about. The simple fact is that a person cannot really get sober for anyone else or for any reason other than wanting it for themselves. When a person gets sick and tired of all the problems caused by drinking and then finally makes the decision to give it up completely, there is often a lot of repair work to be done in their lives. It’s normal for many of their close relationships to have been damaged (if not broken) because of alcohol.

As busy Michigan DUI lawyers, my team and I deal with the circumstances surrounding OWI arrests every day, all day long. As soon as you begin looking online for anything DUI related, you find hit with more info and analysis than you could ever use (or want). Despite all that noise, the simple truth is that a DUI sometimes just “happens,” and is a single mistake in judgment, not a sign or symptom of some underlying problem. This is a fact too often overlooked in the legal system, and there’s a bit of danger in that.

shit-3-300x266The court system, for its part, is essentially hard-wired to read every possible risk factor into an OWI arrest. As I’ll show later, there is an explanation for this, but it’s cold comfort for anyone who simply screws up one night and then winds up feeling treated like an out-of-control alcoholic. I always point out that success in a DUI case is best measured by what does NOT happen to you. At the end of the day, the fact remains that most people who get a DUI will learn from it, never get another, and therefore don’t need all kinds of classes and counseling.

For starters, it’s pretty much a given that everyone facing a DUI will jump up and down and say that their case “just happened.” On the other side of the coin, however, there are some Judges who are suspicious of any and all such claims. As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, because it has been repeatedly demonstrated fact that DUI drivers, as a group, have a statistically higher incidence of drinking problems than the population at large, meaning those people who have NOT been arrested for a DUI.

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