No matter how much you may need or want your license back, you have to meet certain legal criteria to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration or clearance appeal.
Our firm guarantees to win
every restoration and clearance case we take, but we only
accept those that qualify.
Although there is a lot that goes into a license appeal case, none of it matter unless a person has honestly quit drinking. The entire point of the legal process is to screen out anyone who still drinks, or even thinks they can ever drink again, and prevent them from being reinstated.
The driver’s license restoration processes requires that a person be clean and sober, and that he or she proves that sobriety to the Michigan Secretary of State within the specific, established rules that govern these cases.
Here is the thing about license appeals that is almost always overlooked: Under Michigan law, anyone who racks up 2 DUI’s within 7 year, or 3 or more within 10 years will automatically be categorized a “habitual alcohol offender
That matters because any person in this category is presumed, by law, to have some kind of alcohol problem. Accordingly, it is assumed that anyone who has to file a license restoration or clearance after losing his or her license for multiple DUI’s has some kind of risky or troubled relationship to alcohol.
This means that the Secretary of State will NOT buy into any notion that a person who has racked up multiple DUI's was just unlucky, or that he or she has learned their lesson, and can now drink safely.
Instead, the rule requires that the hearing officer who decides a case to be convinced, by what the law specifies as “clear and convincing evidence,” of these 2 things:
1. That the person has been COMPLETELY abstinent from alcohol (and drugs, including recreational marijuana) for a legally sufficient period of time. Although the precise amount can vary from case to case, as a general rule, our firm will never move forward with a case until a person has been clean for AT LEAST 18 months, and,
2. That the person has both the ability and commitment to remain completely abstinent from alcohol (and drugs, including recreational marijuana) for life. In other words, a person has to convince the hearing officer that he or she is a safe bet to never again drink, get high, or even smoke weed recreationally.
To be clear, under the governing rules, a person must prove that he or she had been and is likely to remain completely alcohol and drug free for life.
In other words, the state wants to make sure a person no longer has any relationship to alcohol or drugs.
A lot of people misunderstand this. They think that they can explain how they’ve learned their lesson, and swear to never drink and drive again. It doesn’t work like that.
Once a person has lost his or her license for being a repeat DUI offender, the only way to get it back is by proving that he or she has honestly quit drinking and has the ability, commitment, and tools to never drink again.
Anything less is NOT enough.
Yet for as clear as that is, lots of people resist. Here are some common things people who still drink often say to try and explain themselves:
- I don’t drink like I used to...
- I only drink once in a while...
- I only drink on special occasions...
- I only have a glass of wine once and a while with dinner...
- I only drink at home...
- I would never drink and drive again...
In addition to such self-declarations, people will often say things like:
- Drinking is legal...
- Marijuana is legal...
- They want me to say I’m an alcoholic...
And then there’s our all-time favorite -
If there is one thing the reader should understand about license appeals and take from this section, it’s that the Michigan Secretary of State knows that people who don’t drink are exactly ZERO risk to ever drive drunk.
When it comes to restoring driving privileges for anyone whose license has been revoked for multiple DUI’s, the law was designed to eliminate as much risk as possible.
As a result, the Secretary of State has to take the safe bet, and only issue a license to those who can prove that they’ve been completely free of alcohol (and drugs) for a legally sufficient period of time, and who prove themselves to be a safe bet to never drink (or use drugs) again.
It does not matter how much someone may not like these rules, nor does it matter how much he or she needs a license, or how long he or she has been without one.
Instead, the whole point of the license appeal process is to separate out those people who have truly quit drinking and who fully intend to remain sober from everyone else.
In other words - Winning back your driver’s license after multiple DUI’s is all about NOT drinking.
The Secretary of State knows that lots of people are going to come forward and claim to have quit drinking, even though that’s not completely true. The hearing officers who decide these cases expect to be lied to, and one of the first things they learn is how to become expert BS detectors.
Our firm wants no part of that. We win our cases fair and square, by only undertaking representation for people who have honestly been alcohol-free.
For some people, the driver’s license sobriety requirement comes as something of a surprise, because neither the lawyer who handled their DUI case nor anyone in the court system said anything about it being necessary to win a license appeal.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter that, when he or she was going through their DUI, they were never told that winning back a driver’s license after multiple DUI’s requires proving that he or she has given up drinking and is a safe bet to never drink again. As the old saying goes, “it is what it is.”
Unfortunately, lots of people mistakenly believe that having paid their fined and costs and having completed probation is enough to win back the privilege to drive.
This is worth repeating: License appeals are all about NOT drinking, and winning a license appeal is all about proving that, and nothing else.
In the sections that follow, the reader will find information about the Michigan driver’s license restoration process.
It’s also a good idea to check out our blog
- particularly the Driver’s License Restoration
section. It is - by far
- the single biggest resource for useful information about Michigan license appeals to be found anywhere. The blog is updated twice weekly with new articles, and is fully searchable.
Our firm is here to help people win back the ability to legally drive again, but that can’t start until a person has first quit drinking.