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License Revoked for DUI’s? Here is the Process to get it Back

Home Blog Driver's License Restoration License Revoked for DUI’s? Here is the Process to get it Back

In Michigan, there is a very specific license appeal process a person must follow to regain driving privileges after having his or her license revoked for 2 or more DUI’s. Everyone who has lost the ability to drive has probably said, a million times over, “I need my license back.” Not being able to drive isn’t just inconvenient; it can have a seriously negative impact on a person’s life. As a driver’s license restoration law firm, we know, first-hand, how hard it can be try and get by without driving.

Understand the Michigan license appeal process.There are those who just take their chances, and drive anyway. Most of these people feel that they don’t have any other choice. Some of them get caught, and find themselves at risk of being revoked again, and for even longer. Not surprisingly, my team and I also wind up dealing with a lot of revoked license charges, in court, to avoid that. We understand, of course, that these people feel desperate. They’ll explain that they weren’t driving for fun, and will say, without fail, “I need my license back.”

In this article, we’re going to look at what many people don’t understand about the license appeal process, and why “needing” a license doesn’t matter. We’re going to address some of the most common misconceptions that my team and I hear all the time. This article was inspired by an email that Ann, our senior legal assistant, sent to me. I’ve reprinted it below, because it really does nail some of the things people get wrong, and that nonetheless hear all the time. Here’s how Ann put it:

Every day our office get calls from potential clients who need to drive and say “I need my license back.” Most generally understand that something is required of them in order to get that picture driver’s license again. However, after all the time, money, testing, probation, and in some cases, even jail time, many wonder why should there be anything else necessary to get their license reinstated.

I have heard people say, so many times, things like “I need my license back,” “I need to get a job,” “I need to drive my kids here and there,” “I will my lose my job,” “I can’t get promoted without a license,” and other things that boil down to “I can’t be without a license.” Then, they will explain how they feel this is unfair, specially after having gone through everything with court and probation, plus having paid their fines and costs.

As Michigan drivers license restoration lawyers, we understand those feelings. However, that frustration doesn’t help one bit toward actually winning a license appeal.

By contrast, there are some people who simply accept that not having a license is just part of the fallout from picking up 2 or more DUI’s. They’re not happy about being unable to drive, but they understand that there is a process, and that just saying “I need my license back” doesn’t play any part in it. They’ll call us and ask what they need to do, and be genuinely interested in what’s necessary to get back on the road.

No matter who calls, my team and I will always take the time to thoroughly explain why the person’s license was revoked, and exactly how the license appeal process can restore it.

It’s understandable that people can be put off by everything that’s required to file and win a driver’s license restoration appeal. It’s complicated. Often enough, we find ourselves making clear that we didn’t write the law. Neither do we control the Secretary of State’s practices and rules, either.

We’ll point out that there IS a clearly defined license appeal process, and that our blog has countless articles that explain every last facet of it. While there is definitely a lot to winning a license appeal, there shouldn’t be any mystery about it. My team and I make sure everyone who contacts us knows that we are never more than a phone call away from being able to answer any questions and explain things.

No matter what, when someone Googles anything like “how to get my license back,” they’ll find that our blog is THE the most helpful resource to learn how this all works under the Michigan Secretary of State and it’s Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight (OHAO), the body that decides these cases.

Here is the cold, simple truth: The license appeal process is demanding, and it was created precisely because people who rack up multiple DUI’s are seen as a risk on the road and to the safety of others. It certainly was NOT designed for those who followed law and didn’t get convicted of drunk driving 2 or more times. Those people don’t have to go through any of this.

Tough as that may be to hear, nobody is going to get anywhere just repeating that “I need my license back.” A person either meets the state’s requirements to do so – or not. It’s that simple.

There’s a curious irony here. Our firm guarantees to win every driver’s license restoration and out-of-state clearance appeal case we take. We know all about winning. Fortunately, for us, the experience of losing is rather foreign.

However, my team and I have learned a lot about losing in general, because many of the people who hire us do so after having tried and lost a “do-it-yourself” license appeal. Plenty of others come to us after having lost with some “McLicense lawyer” who didn’t guarantee his or her work, like we do. Once somebody goes through that kind of disaster, they’re usually ready to get proper representation for their next license appeal.

Reading these denials has provided our firm with countless opportunities to evaluate and learn from the mistakes of others. We have seen just about every way a person can lose a license appeal.

One common thread is that in just about all of those cases, there was at some misunderstanding that “I need my license back” has anything do with actually being able to win it back through the license appeal process.

This brings me to a warning that I wish I could skip, but morally, I cannot:

Given the reality of the overwhelming pressure a person feels when being in a position to have to say “I need my license back,” many are ready to hand over their money to a lawyer to make that happen. Being able to pay legal fees, however, is not enough to actually win a driver’s license restoration or out-of-state clearance case.

Unfortunately, way too many lawyers don’t really understand all the nuances involved in the license appeal process. That may sound harsh, but let me be crystal clear: Any lawyer worth hiring should ABSOLUTELY guarantee to win your license back, like our firm does.

We have our guarantee precisely because we know all those legal nuances, and we know exactly how to win. Seriously, would anyone by a car, or a refrigerator or TV that, although brand new, didn’t carry at least some kind of warranty?

Why, then, would anyone pay a lawyer who is unwilling stand behind his or her work with a guarantee?

Here’s why that’s important: There are far more people willing to pay for a license appeal than there are those who are actually in a position to win one. Part of our job, in explaining things to someone who calls us and says, “I need my license back” is determining whether they meet the Secretary of State’s requirements to do so.

If not, then we won’t take the case. My team and I will only take on a client if we know that we can make his or her appeal a winner.

The cold reality is that it’s economically hard for many lawyers to turn down a client who is ready to pay. This is why our guarantee is so important, because as much as it protects a client from risking his or her money with us, it also keeps on guard to never take a case that can’t win. If we did, then our guarantee would obligate us to do it all over again, without charge.

At a MINIMUM, that would double our work and cut our earnings in half.

No thanks….

To win a license appeal, a person must prove 2 things by what is legally defined as “clear and convincing evidence.” The best way to understand “clear and convincing evidence” is to think of it as the equivalent of hitting a home run. In other words, in terms of proving his or her case, a person really has to step up and crush it.

In plenty of my other articles, I dive into what it takes to win a license restoration case. We’ll skip the longer explanation here and just cut to the chase:

Under Michigan law, anyone convicted of 2 DUI’s within 7 years, or 3 within 10 years, is legally categorized as a “habitual alcohol offender.” As a consequence of that, he or she is also legally presumed to have some kind of alcohol problem.

This is where a lot of people get stuck. The law presumes an alcohol problem, but it does NOT presume that a person is some kind of raging alcoholic. Some people get all worked up and say things like “I know that they [meaning the Secretary of State] want me to say I’m an alcoholic.”

No, “they” don’t.

Instead, in order to grant a license appeal, the law requires a person to prove, by”clear and convincing evidence,” that he or she has COMPLETELY quit drinking (and using any drugs, including recreational marijuana) for a “legally sufficient” period of time (usually, at least 2 years), and that he or she is committed to never drinking again.

In other words, a person has to prove his or her sobriety. The state basically requires a person really believe, and then say, from the depths of his or her heart, that they got sick and tired of the problems caused by their drinking (and not having a license is certainly a huge problem) and realized that the only way forward is a life without alcohol.

There is only one thing certain about all of this: People who do not drink are exactly zero risk to ever drive drunk again.

Accordingly, there is no chance of success in the license appeal process for anyone who so much as even thinks he or she can ever drink again. These requirements disqualify a lot of people. As we’ve noted, that’s by design.

Think about it this way: No person who has lost the ability to drive for racking up multiple DUI’s can point to alcohol and say that it has been a benefit to his or her life. That’s clearly a problem. By the time a person has his or her license revoked for too many drunk driving convictions, it’s difficult to imagine that the rest of his or her life has been trouble-free, at least as far as drinking is concerned.

Yet many will still try and fight a losing battle to keep on drinking. They’ll try to control, limit or somehow manage it (that never works). My team and I hear certain things, like the following, all the time:

  • “I don’t drink like I used to,” or
  • “I only drink once in a while,” or
  • “I only drink on special occasions,” or
  • “I only drink at home.”

People will try and sell us the idea that they just have the occasional glass of wine with dinner, or the odd beer every so often. Even if that was true in some case, ANY drinking at all will GUARANTEE that a person will lose his or her case.

Remember, the 2 key things that must be proven in a license appeal is that a person has completely quit drinking for that “legally sufficient” period of time, and that he or she has both the ability and commitment to remain alcohol-free for life.

Anything less won’t work – period.

When a person has truly embraced sobriety, his or her whole attitude and outlook on life is different. Everyone who genuinely gets sober does so after having had an “epiphany” or “light-bulb” moment of sorts. Sober people know this – really know it – and so does the Secretary of State.

What’s troubling is that so many lawyer aren’t clear on this point. Again, it’s easy to understand a lawyer wanting to help (and get paid for it) when someone says “I need my license back,” but taking a case for someone who isn’t genuinely sober or who is otherwise unable to prove that sobriety, as required by the license appeal process, is just plain wrong.

One of the Secretary of State OHAO hearing officers puts it this way – “everybody needs a license.”

As we observed at the outset of this piece, just about everyone who has lost it will say “I need my license back.” My hope is that what we’ve covered here makes clear that merely needing a license doesn’t matter. The only thing that will win a case is really being sober, and then being able to prove it.

If you are looking for a lawyer to win back your license, or remove a Michigan hold on your driving record so that you can get a license in another state, be a wise consumer and read around. Pay attention to how different lawyers break down the license appeal process, and how they explain their various approaches to it.

This blog is a great place to start. It is fully searchable and updated weekly with a new, original article. To-date, I have written and published 0ver 690 articles in the driver’s license restoration section. It is, by far, the single biggest resource for helpful information to be found anywhere, but don’t take my word for it – check for yourself.

When you’ve done enough reading, start calling around. You can learn a lot by speaking with a live person, and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you contact our office. All of our consultations are free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call.

My team and I are very friendly people who will be glad to answer your questions and explain things. We encourage everyone to talk to different attorneys, and then to call us back, even if just to compare notes with anything some other lawyer has said.