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Many people and their attorneys going through this process understand at least the basics of a typical Driver’s License Restoration case in Michigan:  sobriety for a minimum of one year; some type of alcohol and/or drug treatment is preferred, new moving violations can cause additional revocations, letters and an evaluation are required and knowledge of AA can be helpful. Unfortunately, just knowing “the basics” is not enough.

Did you know that there are several “myths” about license restoration in Michigan (often repeated by attorneys) that you should not believe?

  • MYTH #1
    If you lose at DLAD/DAAD, no problem. Just appeal it.
    A denial at DAAD after an OWI/DUI revocation generally results not only in having to wait another year, but often causes worse problems. If you are denied: Expensive and time consuming Circuit Court Appeals rarely result in full reversals (“remands” to allow you to go back to DAAD again are more common). This is due to the overwhelming amount of discretion Michigan Law gives to the Hearing Officer. Further, any problem evidence at all given at the first hearing can and often does harm your chances at any future hearing, as even minor inconsistencies and conflicts can severely hamper future attempts. It is not uncommon for people to be denied year after year, each time making their case worse than the last time. Our philosophy is: “do it one time and do it right”.;
  • MYTH #2
    If Michigan won’t give you a license, you can simply move to another state and get your license there.

    Moving to another state will generally not allow you to get a license. With the computerized “National Driver Index”, once you are suspended or revoked in any state, other states require that you clear that matter up first. If you don’t, they may deny you a license until you successfully take care of it. We have numerous clients from all over the country, who once were ineligible for a license in that state because of a Michigan revocation. They then successfully used our services and are now driving with full driving privileges.
  • MYTH #3
    Having any attorney is better than no attorney at all

    Having the wrong attorney on your case can be worse than having no attorney at all. If you are denied by DAAD even though you hired an attorney, you actually lose certain crucial benefits on appeal. You may well have been better off on your own, especially considering the number of denials issued to people who thought they were being “safe” by spending money to hire an attorney.
  • MYTH #4
    Anyone can do this. You don’t need an expert.

    It is possible for anyone to get lucky at a hearing after “winging it” on their own, or just getting a sympathetic Hearing Officer.  Someone might also get through a License Restoration case with an attorney who is not very familiar with the process.  We have all heard of cases like that.  However, the denial rate in Michigan is very high and, as stated in MYTH #1, the consequences of a denial can be devastating.  Is it really worth taking the risk of a “coin toss” or do you deserve the advantage of the best representation available?
  • MYTH #5
    The issues at your hearing are pretty basic, so you shouldn’t have any problems.

    There are dozens of issues that many attorneys do not focus on or even know about that can seriously affect your case. Medical and/or psychological issues that seem irrelevant can severely complicate your case, as can: prior hearings; a seemingly non-related criminal record; a relapse history; credibility issues; recent parole, probation or court supervision; pending cases; minor drug use from years ago; employment required drug and alcohol testing; use of witnesses and even traffic tickets, to name just a few. Be sure any attorney you are talking to understands this and can tell you specifically how each of these issues can affect your case.
  • MYTH #6
    As long as you have an evaluation, letters of support and some alcohol treatment, you should do o.k. at your hearing.

    Evaluations received by DLAD/DAAD are very often incomplete, inconsistent with other information and commonly contain incorrect or even harmful information, even though they appear “fine” to the average person and many attorneys. Having a qualified professional for the Substance Abuse Evaluation is key, as is proper preparation and careful attention to accuracy and detail. Poor quality and improperly prepared evaluations are the cause of countless denials at DLAD/DAAD. 
    The requirement for “letters” from people who know you must be done with extreme care and strict attention to detail. A single wrong word, vague phrase or omission of a seemingly insignificant detail can make a letter worthless, or worse. We provide our clients thorough instruction, guidance and our own careful review to ensure the letters are as complete and perfect as possible. After having reviewed thousands of leters, we know what is expected by SOS/DAAD. 
    Alcohol treatment should be a type accepted by the department, done properly, well documented and addressed in your testimony the way DLAD/DAAD expects it to be. Lack of preparation, inconsistencies or any other mistakes in this area can be a reason for a denial of driving privileges. In short, you must prepare your information, submit it and explain it carefully and properly when making your case to the Hearing Officer.
  • MYTH #7
    The SOS provides you all the information you need to successfully prepare your own case.

    Information supplied to you by SOS is often not nearly enough to successfully guide you through a license restoration case. Official SOS information about “How to get your license back” (e.g. how to write letters, what type of alcohol treatment is acceptable, etc.) is generally just a very basic format. The information is often not adequate in preparing a person for many of the common issues raised in cases as well as the difficult interrogation one can expect while testifying under oath before a Hearing Officer. It may also not address the facts of your specific case. Nothing can substitute for well over a decade of experience and dedication to winning these cases.
  • MYTH #8
    Everybody loses on their first attempt at DLAD/DAAD.

    This is probably the most common and absurd myth of all. Surprisingly and unfortunately, we hear it all the time, even from other attorneys. Do not believe it. It is wrong. Most of our clients are first time applicants and we have a nearly perfect record on these cases. A “first attempt” just needs to be handled properly.
  • MYTH #9
    After 10 years, if you haven’t gotten it already, they have to give you your license back.

    Generally, there is no amount of time that passes at which point the revoked driver automatically gets their license back. A Michigan revocation is “indefinite” and lasts forever, unless and until a person goes through the proper procedure to restore it. They might wait for the rest of their life for SOS to hand them a license. Many people, relying on this myth, have waited several years, only to find that they have waited for nothing.
  • MYTH #10
    A “major violation” on an Alcohol Interlock Device, commonly required by DLAD/DAAD for Michigan residents, is impossible to challenge.  You are automatically re-revoked.”  
    Alcohol Interlock devices often have issues which cause false positives and can be successfully challenged:
    Alcohol Interlock devices, like any machine, can be faulty.   Mouthwash, cigarettes, fragrances or lotions, certain foods, gas, oil and/or exhaust fumes, electrical/battery problems, heat, etc. might all affect an Interlock Device.  Even more frustrating, people often have difficulty proving they were not using alcohol that day at a re-revocation hearing later. 
    We have successfully challenged these alleged violations and prevented re-revocations.  One client of ours came to us after being denied full privileges at DAAD for allegedly getting eight separate Interlock violations on his restricted license.  After a thorough review of the facts, we presented evidence that seven of the eight were “false positives” and the eighth was quite likely the result of a faulty Interlock unit.  A Circuit Court Judge signed our order allowing the client to get back on the road without another interlock device.