This will be a short article about when to begin the process of getting your license back. The decision to file a driver’s license restoration appeal is not as easy as just plowing ahead the moment you become legally eligible. As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I make a living handling these cases, but as an honest person who provides a guaranteed win in every case I take, I must strike the perfect balance of filing as soon as a person is ready enough to win, and not filing too soon so as to be denied and have to wait another year to do it all over again. Here is where my guarantee becomes helpful as you weigh your options concerning how to proceed. If I just plow ahead and then lose, my guarantee obligates me to come back next year and try again. Aside from wanting to actually help, and ultimately satisfy my client, I certainly don’t want to take every case that comes along and then wind up doing all kinds of “warranty work” the next year that could have been avoided by having waited just a little while longer to file someone’s case.
Under the rules governing driver’s license restoration and clearance appeals, a person will generally have to show at least 12 months of continuous abstinence from alcohol before he or she can even have any chance of winning. To be clear, 1 year is almost never enough. Personally, I prefer at least 18 months of sobriety, and feel that 2 or more years is even better. To clarify this a bit, I mean that I prefer a person to have at least 18 months of sobriety before he or she meets with me to begin the license restoration process. Yet even this isn’t as simple as it sounds, because the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), the body that decides these cases, requires, beyond just proving a period of abstinence, a person prove that his or her abstinence from alcohol is “voluntary.”
This means that any time you were not drinking, but were on probation will not, for the most part, count as “voluntary.” Here the reader is just going to have to trust me rather than want to argue with me. I certainly know that some people fully commit to never drink again before they ever set foot in court on their last DUI. The DAAD, however, recognizes that it is a standard condition of probation for a DUI that you do NOT consume any alcohol. In many cases, the court ensures compliance by requiring a person to test for alcohol. From the DAAD’s point of view, it doesn’t matter whether you’re ever tested or not; the idea is that because you could be tested for alcohol, and then have your probation violated if the results were ever positive, you are unable to prove, by the required “clear and convincing evidence,” that your abstinence is completely voluntary. There are exceptions, but in my 24-plus years, I have only seen a handful. The plan, therefore, is to determine when you can and should file…
This all presumes, of course, that you have really and truly quit drinking. In many, if not most of the cases I see, people have multiple years of sobriety, so there is no need to wait to proceed, but I do speak with plenty enough people who need to get a little more time under their belts before it would be prudent to forge ahead with a license appeal. This is worth repeating: I am in business to make money, but I also provide a guarantee that I will win any case I take. Moving too soon can be a quick sprint into an otherwise avoidable loss, which then obligates me to handle next year’s appeal for free. I’d be crazy to do that, just as I’d be crazy to let someone who wants to pay me wait too long. Thus, I have every incentive and reason to pick the right time to move forward.
About the best way to figure out when you can and/or should begin the license restoration or clearance process is to call my office and ask. All of my consultations are done over the phone, for free, during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. M-F). Because so many of my clients come from out of state, having left Michigan only to find themselves unable to obtain or renew a driver’s license in another state, about half of my client base are out-of-staters in need of a clearance. If you’re calling from another state, remember that Michigan is in the eastern time zone (same as New York), and on daylight savings time, so our 8:30 to 5:00 may not be the same as yours.
When you call, I promise you’ll find the nicest, most helpful staff you’ll ever encounter. The ability to understand the many subtleties regarding driving records and rules and procedures of license appeals takes years and years to fully develop. My staff knows enough about license appeals to answer any question you could have, and to explain the process in as much, or as little detail as you’d like. It is not unusual for various lawyers who has tried a license appeal and lost to call my office for some guidance. It is amazing for me to listen as someone from my staff gives a crash course in license appeals. It is even more satisfying when those lawyers come up to me later and thank me for the help they got from my staff. You can get all of this, with a smile, when you call my number (586-228-6523).
If you’re interested in getting your license back, and you have honestly and truly quit drinking, give my office a call. I will figure out when to begin the license restoration process. If I can help you get back on the road, I will not only give you my best effort but I will give you a guarantee, as well. You can’t do better than that.