The First Meeting (In-Person and Remote)
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, our office has adapted to conducting our initial meetings virtually, and it has worked out extremely well. We are now able to offer our clients the choice of either coming to the office, and meeting in-person, or the convenience of "meeting" remotely.
The first time we meet - whether in person or remotely - we’ll spend several hours just preparing you to undergo the substance abuse evaluation.
Often, when someone hears this, they say something like “several hours?” as if they think they might have heard incorrectly.
Yes, our first meeting will last awhile. As Michigan driver's license restoration lawyers, we guarantee to win every restoration and clearance appeal case precisely because we are thorough.
There are no shortcuts to doing things the right way.
Winning a license appeal the first time around takes a lot of work. Details aren’t just important; they’re critical.
It's the attention to detail that my team and I put into every case we take that allows us to guarantee success in all of our driver's license restoration and clearance cases.
There is one detail that we don’t negotiate, however, and it separates our firm from almost everyone else:
We require a person to have honestly quit drinking before we’ll take his or her case.
Sobriety is a non-negotiable requirement to winning a license appeal.
There is a lot to actually getting sober, and once a person has undergone the profound and life-changing transition from drinker to non-drinker, his or her life story picks up lots of “details.”
This part of a person’s life story is called his or her recovery story.
An important part of what we go over during that first meeting is that story.
Some people seem have their recovery story right at the tip of their tongue, and can reel it off on cue. Often, these are people active in a support group, like AA, where telling one’s “story” is rather regular occurrence.
To be clear, however, you don't need to be in AA to win a license restoration or clearance case, and most of our clients are NOT.
Most people don't go to AA, and they get along just fine and manage to stay sober on their own, living an alcohol-free lifestyle that doesn't give them any reason to organize their story in a kind of linear way in order to re-tell it.
Even so, everyone who is sober does have a recovery story, and it is central to a license restoration case.
Therefore, an important part of our job is to take a person back down memory lane and help them put the words to the what led up to his or her decision to quit drinking for good.
And to be clear, we really do go over these things; this isn’t some appealing description that just sounds good.
We've had plenty of people get emotional and cry as we go over these details, including some pretty big and strong guys. That's why we keep a box of tissues right on our conference table.
To win a Michigan driver's license restoration or clearance case, you must prove 2 main things to a hearing officer, by what the law defines as clear and convincing evidence, that your alcohol problem both “is under control," and "likely to remain under control.
• "Under control" means that you have been completely alcohol-free for a legally sufficient period of time. Usually, we'll require a person to have been abstinent for at least 18 months before we'll move ahead with a license appeal case.
• "Likely to remain under control" means that you have both the ability and commitment to remain alcohol-free.
The Michigan Secretary of State's Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight (OHAO) interprets this to mean that you have honestly given up drinking, and are a safe bet to never drink again.
It means showing that you are, in fact, genuinely sober.
In the real world, this requires digging into your past until we come to your “a-ha” moment, when it hit you like a ton of bricks that you had to quit drinking.
This is way different than just “knowing,” or intellectually understanding, that your drinking is causing problems. What we’re looking to recapture is that punch in the gut moment when you hit your bottom and decided you'd had enough, or as the AA people say, became “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
You don’t get there by filling out intake forms, or by merely talking about the legalities of the license appeal process.
With more than 30 years of experience winning cases, our firm knows all the legalities very well. In fact, there’s probably not a “legality” we don’t know like the back of our own hands.
But that’s only half the story.
The other half is YOUR story:
• What made you decide to quit drinking?
• Is or was AA any part of that - or not?
• If not, then how do you frame your story in a world that still tilts, at least a little bit, in favor of AA?