The Real “Meat and Potatoes” of a Michigan License Restoration Appeal

This section will zone in on the real "meat and potatoes" of license appeal cases and look at what they are really all about.

In the years since this site was published, I have written and published hundreds and hundreds highly detailed, informational articles examining and explaining every facet of the Michigan driver’s license restoration process on my blog. I encourage the reader to follow the previous links and click through my library of articles and read those that are of any interest or relevance to his or her situation.

There is a lot to a license appeal. It seems that the more one tries to simplify it, the harder the task becomes. There are factual issues, legal issues, and procedural issues that must all be satisfied in order to win a case. 

If you miss any one of them, then you’ll be trying to fix things next year, when you can appeal again. Yet within all the complexities and contingencies that underlie a Michigan license reinstatement appeal, there is one core issue that controls everything else.

Legally speaking this issue can be paraphrased as follows: That the person’s alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.

In the real world, this means that the person filing a license appeal must prove that he or she is a safe bet to never drink alcohol again. 

Not a sip, not a drop, not ever.

Moreover, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office of Administrative Hearings and Oversight (OHAO) requires that the legal issues in a license restoration or out-of-state clearance case be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.” 

This is a high standard, and, for reference, isn’t much different than the “proof beyond a reasonable doubt" needed to convict someone of a criminal charge. 

In practice, proving a case by “clear and convincing evidence” means that the person deciding it (in a license appeal case, he or she is called a "Hearing Officer") is left with no unanswered questions or unresolved doubts after all the evidence has been presented. 

It means, in effect, that in order to win, you have to hit a home run.

As I noted, there are very demanding factual and procedural requirements involved in a Michigan license restoration appeal. However, falling short in any of those things almost always translates to having fallen short in proving that, as the law state, your alcohol problem is "likely to remain under control." 

Put another way, for all the many reasons that a license appeal case may be denied, it almost always comes back to a person's failure to have proven that he or she is a safe bet to never drink again.

There are many myths about license appeals. Some people, for example believe that you can’t win a license appeal the first time. 

That's totally wrong. My team and I guarantee to win every case we take the first time around. In other words, we literally put our money where our mouths are.

Other people completely underestimate the process and think all you need to do is show up and say, “I quit drinking.” 

That's also dead wrong. Instead, you have to prove that you have quit drinking for good, and are safe bet to never drink again by clear and convincing evidence.

My team and I know exactly how to do that, but there's a catch - it must be true

As Michigan drivers license lawyers, we do more than just talk a good game - we back up our promises with a guarantee. 

As it turns out, a lot of the work we do involves fixing things the second time around for those people who thought they could do it on their own, but lost.

At the end of the day, every license appeal case requires proving to the hearing officer that you have honestly quit drinking and are a safe bet to never drink again.

It sounds simple, and, in a way, it is.

But there’s a problem. 

And it’s a big one.

The Secretary of State knows that the vast majority of people with a drinking problem will not get over it. The statistical reality is that only a slim minority of people with an alcohol problem are able to beat it.

Think about those people you knew growing up who were "old drunks.” Do you remember any of them ever getting sober? 


Chances are, they died “old drunks,” and they died earlier than they otherwise would have.

What about the people from high school who were big drinkers? How many of them straightened out and got sober? 

How many are still “big drinkers?”

My mom used to tell me “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” 

While there are plenty of people who are in denial about having a drinking problem, there is also no shortage of those who know they have a problem, but just can’t fix it. Many problem drinkers know they have some kind of troubled relationship to alcohol. 

Can you imagine how many promises to never drink again are made every single day around the world, and how many of those are subsequently broken (often the next day)?

As a result, the Secretary of State needs to be VERY cautious when someone shows up a couple of years after their last DUI and says, “I’m all better now. I quit drinking.” 

Lots of people will say that, but many will fall short in being able to prove it.

What's required to win is really the "meat and potatoes" of a license appeal. The Secretary of State needs a person to prove, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that he or she is a safe bet to never take a sip of alcohol again. 


Anyone who fails to prove this, by "clear and convincing evidence," will lose.

Everyone who understands this, however, knows that there are no shortcuts, and that winning a Michigan drivers license reinstatement appeal means taking the time and putting in the effort to do it right. 

That's where my team and I come in. We know how to win cases, and we do just that. 

Remember, if we take your restoration or clearance case, we guarantee to win it.

No lawyer can do more, and our firm will never do less.

Client Reviews
Five stars hands down!! Jeff and his legal team represented me in a seemingly impossible situation. I had many obstacles to overcome, in the end I walked out with with my driving privileges reinstated. Jeff and his team were very helpful Peter
Thank you for your knowledge and help in winning restoration of my driving privileges. I tried before on my own, lost (of course) and am glad I found your site. Katie
Just wanted to thank you for winning my license appeal. I was so happy when I got the letter in the mail that said I had won. I thank you so much for all your help and would be so happy to give your name to anyone who needs to get their license back. Mike
I wanted to thank you for taking my case. I would tell anybody trying to get their License back they need to talk to you. I should have done this a long time ago. Doug