As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers we handle over 200 license appeal cases per year, my office has pretty much heard and seen it all. My office is regularly contacted by people who want their license back, but who don’t have a clue about sobriety or quitting drinking. This is a real obstacle, because the main focus of a license restoration case is proving that you have stopped drinking for a sufficient period of time, and have the commitment and tools to remain alcohol-free for good.
Let me be blunt and honest here: the license restoration process is tough, by design, to the point of actually being a real pain in the a$$. The state makes it hard. That’s just the way it is, like having to fork over a chunk of the money you earn to pay income tax. Even though the process could always be made “better,” most people who are genuinely sober realize that no matter what, the reason they’re in this boat is because of their own behavior. They understand that, as much as this whole thing sucks, they can’t blame anyone else for their situation. You don’t have to like any of this, but a mindset of acceptance is one of the markers that shows a person has turned the corner in his or her life, quit drinking, and has what it take to get through the process in order to win his or her license back.
By contrast, I can usually tell, right off the bat, just by someone’s attitude, that he or she probably isn’t anywhere near sober or ready to quit drinking, much less undertake a license appeal. The day I began this article, I received an email contact that was a perfect example of this, and inspired me to write this piece. This is it, reprinted exactly as it arrived in my inbox: “I have two dui with in 7. the state held my lic, due to Drs, bill $2500. Now the wan me to jump through hoops, to get it back..” What caught my eye immediately was that the writer essentially complained that they want him to “jump through hoops” to get his license back. When a person has the right disposition to win a license restoration or clearance case, their inquiries tend be more like questions how do we do this, rather than complaints about having to do it at all.
When I say I’ve pretty much heard and seen it all, I’m not kidding. No matter what line of work you’re in, after a while, you begin to see patterns. One pattern I’ve had to deal with for over 28 years are people who complain about everything, and I’ve learned that more often than not, those people are not sober and therefore not yet able or ready to win a license appeal. Sure, some of them may have accumulated some time “not drinking,” but that’s a lot different than being genuinely sober.
The complainers are still mad that the Secretary of State revoked their license in the first place. Then, they’re mad at the way the system works. Often, they’ll take a stab at a “do-it-yourself” license appeal, and, not surprisingly, fail at it. By the time they accept that they need a lawyer, they’re mad about that too. When they call my office, they often want to vent and explain that they really “need” a license (as one of the hearing officers points out when explaining how that has nothing to do with being able to win it back, “everybody needs a license”), or that they haven’t been in any kind of trouble for a while.
I understand that people just want to be heard, and we’re good at listening, even when they complain about the system, and how it’s unfair. Sometimes, though, a person will want to argue that there should be a way they can get a license without having to go through all this…
And then we have to make clear that there isn’t.
To be sure, nobody is thrilled about having to go through the license appeal process. I certainly earn my money fair and square, and even provide a guarantee to win every case I take, but I know that every last one of my clients would have rather spent the money they paid to me on something like a new TV or a vacation. I love my dentist, but I’d rather have spent the money I’ve paid to him over the years on home theater equipment…
The difference, though, is that those who are really sober understand that the damage caused by their drinking required years of repair. Fixing it is hard, and not some quick patch job. Over time, a person who gets sober will regain the trust and respect of the people who matter. They’ll ditch the drinking friends and change just about every single aspect of their lives. They accept that putting the pieces of their lives back in place is not cheap, easy or quick. Part and parcel of real sobriety is letting go of that anger. Sobriety brings about a change of attitude for the better.
For my part, I guess that I can’t help being a sap. I understand how a person can get frustrated by all of this, and I have never lost the patience to listen or willingness to explain things. In fact, that’s what my office does better than anyone (that’s part of the reason I always suggest that anyone looking for a lawyer should call around; I’m confident NOBODY is ANYWHERE near as helpful as us).
Still, there comes a point where I want to ask some people, “then why did you contact me?” Think of that guy who emailed me. Here is my reply to him:
I understand how you feel, but the system is what it is. It’s cold, and there is no one person behind it who cares or wants anything. Instead, it’s just an administrative pain in the a$$, and you have to navigate through it.
If you have quit drinking, then I can help you do that and win your license back. The key to winning a license appeal is proving that you have been alcohol-free to a sufficient period of time, and that you have the commitment and the tools to stay that way:
Please feel free to give my office a call to answer any questions or explain things. All of my consultations are confidential, free, and done over the phone, right when you call. We’re really nice people who will be glad to help. We can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., at 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980.
In the meantime, is there anything I can answer for you now?
Let me know,
As I said the the emailer guy, it is what it is. If you don’t want to jump through the hoops, then don’t. Nobody is forcing anyone else to do anything. It’s just that the state has established a process for winning back your license, and that process requires that you prove you have quit drinking and are a safe bet to never drink again. You either do what’s required to have your license reinstated, or you don’t.
You don’t have to like it, but if you want to get back on the road, then you have to follow the rules. There comes a point where you either accept it or not, and usually, when a person is just overly resistant, it is a sign that he or she is not sober (or at least sober of mind) yet.
Now, for all of that, if you have lost your license for multiple DUI’s and you you really have quit drinking, then I can win it back. If you’re looking to hire a lawyer, do your homework, check around, then give my office a ring, even if you want to bitch about things a little at first. We’re really friendly people who will be glad to answer your question and explain things. All of my consultations are done over the phone, right when you call. You can reach us Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST), at 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980. We’re here to help.