The Cost of Losing Your License Appeal
The first cost is the actual monetary expenditure of hiring me and paying to have a substance abuse evaluation completed. This is a fixed cost. I charge $3900 for a license appeal, and I guarantee I will win your license back. Add another $250 to $300 for the substance abuse evaluation, and a person is roughly about $4200 away from slipping a valid driver’s license back into their wallet.
The second cost is the potential overall cost of losing a license appeal and having to spend another year bumming rides before you can try again. If you chanced your money on the wrong lawyer (which, to my mind, is anyone who doesn’t have a guarantee) and lost, you can add that sum to the expected cost of maintaining whatever “transportation network” you have for getting rides to wherever you need to go, and the emotional cost of remaining dependent on other people to get around.
While the cost of a guaranteed win is fixed, the potential cost of a loss can be devastating. I truly feel bad for anyone who has really quit drinking and tried a license appeal on their own, or with some lawyer who came up short, because they often perceive their loss as a rejection, or a kind of slap in the face. They cannot understand how they could lose because they really are sober.
Trying to "feel" your way around a Michigan driver’s license restoration appeal is like finding your way through a maze in the dark. There are seemingly a “million little rules” that one must observe in order to present a proper case. The substance abuse evaluation has to be done a certain way, and the letters of support must contain certain information, and it all has to be submitted “just so.” If all those “million little rules” have been carefully observed, then, and only then, does the Michigan Secretary of State, through it’s Administrative Hearing Section, or AHS, even begin to look at the merits of the case.
Miss something along the way, and it’s “game over.”
If all the evidence a person submits does survive all of that initial scrutiny, then it will actually be considered by a hearing officer. The short version of all this is that the person must prove, “by clear and convincing evidence,” that their alcohol problem “is under control…and likely to remain under control.” This means that a person has to prove the date that they last drank alcohol, and, more importantly, that they are not likely to ever drink again. It is an absolute fact that sobriety is first and necessary requirement to file a license appeal, but it is equally true that, standing alone, sobriety is far from enough to win. I discuss these things in detail within the other sections of this site. The point here is that there are a lot of details to manage before a license appeal ever even gets on the table.
Anyone who has tried a prior license appeal and lost understands the complexity involved. Many of my clients are people who have been down this road before, and have had to wait another year to file their next appeal. It is precisely the costs of that prior loss that motivates them to hire me so they can win the next time.
On any level, the costs of losing a license appeal far outweighs the fixed cost of a guaranteed win. With a first-time win rate around 98%, I have very little experience losing. A person will pay me once, and only once; in exchange for that fee, I will get them back on the road, period. This is where my guarantee really means something; there’s no risk involved in hiring me. I make my money winning my cases the first time around, but there’s also a no-cost safety net, just in case.
If a person loses their driver’s license restoration appeal, they have to wait until next year to try again. They’re going to have to find out what went wrong in their first appeal, and then fix that next time around. They’ll have to keep getting to wherever they need to go however they’ve been getting there. Any hope for some independence is dead, at least for a while. This adds up to a huge emotional, financial and practical drain. If you’re on the losing end of a failed license appeal, there’s no comfort in having saved the money that would have been the difference between winning and losing. In the final calculation, the cost of losing is huge by comparison to the fixed cost of being able to drive again. The value of winning is, without a doubt, simply priceless.