Weekly Summaries: Win a License Restoration Without AA, the First Time

1. You DO NOT need to go to AA to win your License Back

Each of the 2 articles from this week addressed a misconception about the Michigan driver’s license restoration/clearance process. In the first article, I explained that it is absolutely NOT necessary to go to AA to win your license appeal case. For whatever reason or reasons, many people find that they can maintain sobriety without having to go to meetings. I pointed out that AA provides the “language” of recovery, meaning that it helps define and shape the way we understand a drinking problem and how someone moves past it. It is an important part of my job to learn about a person’s journey from drinker to non-drinker, get a clinical understanding of that (I have extensive, post-graduate education in the field of addiction studies) and then help frame that process in terms the hearing officer will understand, especially in those cases where a person does not rely on AA for his or her sobriety. Here are some of the main points from the “no need for AA” article:

  • Conclusion first: You do not have to be in AA to win a license appeal
  • Years ago, things were different, and you had little chance without AA
  • Things have changed, and AA is finding its place as one of many treatment options
  • It is now understood that AA is not for everyone
  • Most people with multiple DUI’s did some AA, often by court order
  • Some people love and thrive in AA
  • More people leave the program than stay in it
  • AA can help a person establish a foundation for sobriety
  • The real concern in a license restoration case is proving that you won’t drink again
  • Addressing that concern is usually done in terms defined, or redefined by AA
  • My clinical education and legal skills allow me to help “translate” a person’s recovery into the proper form to win a license appeal
  • I guarantee a win in all my license appeal cases, so I wouldn’t take cases for people who aren’t in AA if being in it was in any way necessary


Now that we’ve seen you don’t need to be in AA to win your license appeal, let’s look at why you can and should win it the first time you try…

2. You can and Should win your License back the First time you Appeal

In the second article, I dispelled the errant notion that a person has to lose his or her first license appeal before he or she can win. This idea is entirely false, and the fact that I guarantee a win in every license appeal case I take should be more than enough to disprove it. There are cases when a person has something like 6 or more DUI’s over 20-plus years followed by just 2 years of sobriety. In these cases, everyone, including the DAAD has to balance that record against new found and not particularly long-established recovery. In cases like that, I try to help my client find the right time to move forward. Again, my win guarantee not only protects my client from risking his or her money, but also means I will try my hardest to not move too soon, because I don’t want to rush into a loss and have to do “warranty work.” Similarly, I don’t get paid in full until we go to the hearing, so I have no incentive to wait to long, either. Some of the more important conclusions from this second article are as follows:

  • There is no practice or rule (not even an “unwritten” rule) that a person has to lose his or her first license appeal before they can win
  • Most of my clients have never tried a license appeal before, and I not only win their cases, I also provide a win-guarantee in every case I take
  • There would be no way I’d provide that guarantee if there was even a grain of truth to this “lose first” idea
  • The reason anyone loses the first time, or any time he or she tries to win a Michigan license appeal is that something was done incorrectly
  • It doesn’t matter how many times you try to win your license back, you will be denied every time until you get everything right
  • Knowing how to get everything right is a matter of perspective
  • This kind of perspective comes from experience, and experience means having learned things the hard way
  • The key to winning a license restoration appeal is proving that your alcohol problem is under control and likely to remain under control
  • This really amounts to proving that you’re a safe bet to never drink again
  • Your proofs must rise to the level of “clear and convincing evidence.”
  • You should win a license appeal the first time you try, if you are genuinely sober
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