If You've Lost...
Losing a driver’s license restoration appeal is a setback on many levels. Beyond not just regaining the privilege to drive, a loss feels like an emotional blow, as well. While my whole purpose as a license restoration lawyer is to specifically avoid that result (and I do offer a win guarantee), many of those who ultimately become a client of mine have previously tried a license appeal (sometime multiple times) on their own and lost. Accordingly, I have experience with those feelings, even if only from a distance.
The first thing just about everyone does after finding out he or she has lost a license appeal is get on the computer and start doing some research. Often, that leads to this site, and/or my driver's license restoration section of my blog, and gives rise to questions about “appealing” the loss to a Circuit Court. To be clear, I have no interest in filing a Court appeal on a case someone else put together and then lost. There is about a zero percent chance of success in any such case. Honestly, I could waste the rest of my life looking over these denials, and if I found 2 or 3 that had any chance of being overturned, that would be a lot.
Accordingly, I generally advise against spending any money on a case that has already crashed and burned. You might find some lawyer to take your money, but that’s about the only thing that will happen.
Once a do-it-yourself appeal has been lost, that’s pretty much the end of the story until next year. This is where a person needs to start thinking about winning the next time around, rather than hoping for some entirely unlikely miracle that will resurrect an appeal that has already lost. While I know this may sound a bit “cold,” this is the hard reality. Given the number of calls that come into my office about this very situation, I could make a rather good living appealing lost license restoration cases, but to encourage that, is, I think, rather dishonest. I cannot betray my own conscience just for profit, even if I have people perfectly willing to pay up.
The real mission after a loss is to get it right next time. If you’ve lost a do-it-yourself appeal once, what do you really think will be different next time you take a swing at it? Of course, any number of people will read the denial and think they’ve got it all figured out. I say go for it. I’ll be here the following year, as well, or at least so I hope…
Plenty of people, however, after that first loss, or maybe a second, decide that they need some help, and then call me. I’ve noted before that these people make the best clients because they understand that a license appeal involves what I call “a million little rules.” My job is to gather and coordinate the evidence that a person’s alcohol problem is “under control” and “likely to remain under control,” help frame that into a person’s “recovery story,” and then navigate those million little rules.
It goes without saying that everyone who tries to tackle their own license appeal thinks they can do it. And while I make it a point to never try and dissuade someone from doing so (to be honest, that’s primarily because most of those people will make good clients later on…), it is worth noting that license appeals trip up regular lawyers all the time. Beyond that small circle of lawyers who specialize in this field (and by that, I mean lawyers who concentrate in DUI and license restoration cases), there aren’t many attorneys who really regularly deal with the intricacies of the DAAD rules.
Whatever else, I never hear from anyone who has tried to do his or her own appeal and won. Why would I? Instead, I hear from those for whom things didn’t work out as planned. Now, faced with another year of bumming rides, they feel all the motivation in the world to go to Court and file an appeal. In many cases, the person justifiably feels “screwed” because he or she really is sober. It can feel like a slap in the face to be denied. Without a full understanding of all the rules, and how they apply and work together, the denied petitioner feels like maybe a Judge will see the truth of the matter, see that they’ve quit drinking, or otherwise reevaluate the evidence and reverse the DAAD.
It doesn’t work that way. Even if a Judge could honestly say that he or she would have ruled differently in the original license appeal, unless the person appealing a denial can essentially show a legal error as outlined by the DAAD rules, the decision must stand. That’s why I don’t even bother considering such an appeal. As a group, those appeals are nothing but losing propositions.
Sure, the more cynical reader may think, “Sure, he has a vested interest in saying all this so he can bring in cases.” Here, however, we’re talking about someone who has already lost. In AA, it is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. The same can be said after losing a do-it-yourself license appeal. What’s going to be different next time? And if that one doesn’t work, doesn’t it then make sense to really step up and do something different?
Anyone who has read even a few of my articles likely knows that I’m a sucker for quotes and “old sayings.” Now, I’m going to leave off with one of my own invention: Life is short, but most destinations aren’t; win your license back so you can drive to them.