Your Request for Hearing and the accompanying documents have been submitted. You opened the mail today and you got the notice for your Hearing date, which is to occur in about three weeks. What do you do now?
Our next step will be to prepare for the actual Hearing. We'll start by identifying which Hearing Officer your case has been assigned to. This is where my experience really counts. Each Hearing Officer has his or her own way of conducting a hearing, and each has his or her own areas of special interest. In other words, no two are alike. Each asks a lot of the same questions, but each asks certain questions unique to themselves. To me, preparing for a hearing means preparing for a hearing before the actual Hearing Officer to whom your case has been assigned.
Add to that the fact that many of them ask very different questions depending on whether your Recovery is based on current AA attendance, or not. If you are not in AA, you'll likely be asked different questions that someone who still goes.
The preparation process is time consuming. That's why I'll want to make sure you'll have at least an hour for us to review your case. There is simply not the space here to even begin to cover all the complexities that go into adequately preparing the client for the Hearing. In the end, however, you will be prepared to go to the Hearing with me and will have a "theme" that is, in essence, your Recovery story.
There are certain questions that will be asked no matter who your Hearing Officer is: When is the last time you consumed any alcohol. Are you currently on probation for any offense? Do you have any pending traffic violations in any court? If you are in AA, Do you have a sponsor? If not, Why not? What was your heaviest period of drinking? What did you usually drink and how much? Aside from this time, what was your longest period of sobriety?
Again, it would take too much to even begin to explain the many facets and issues involved in answering those questions. This is where my experience comes into play. I know exactly what to expect.
I Represent Clients from all over the state, as well as those who have moved out of Michigan, and even people who now live out of the Country. Because I conduct all of my Hearings at the Driver's Assessment and Appeal Division office in Livonia, each of my Client's will have their case heard there.
For anyone in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County, that Office is where your Hearing will be scheduled by default. For someone who lives anywhere else, I'll have it scheduled there. I know the Livonia D.A.A.D., all the Hearing Officers who work there, and what they look for when they hear a License Appeal.
As a Lawyer who handles License Appeals regularly, I know how nervous a person can be as they walk into that Hearing room. My job is to remind you how much preparation we have done up to that point, and that there is no reason to be nervous, because we are going in to tell the truth about your Recovery, and we are therefore going in to win. I will also remind you that everything we've done up to that point has been done correctly, and that this Hearing is just the icing on the cake. I'll assure you that all you'll have to do is follow my lead, because I will be asking you the first round of questions. Finally, I'll reassure you that I will be right there, next to you, and if anything even starts to go off course, I'll be right on top of it. I'll be there to protect you.
The Hearings are scheduled for one hour. Few last that long, and afterwards I usually step outside with you to review the proceeding.
The Decision arrives in the mail several weeks later. My favorite part of the whole process happens in two phases:
First, one of my Assistants, who you will get to know, calls me and says "You won another one!"
Then, Depending on when the client gets home, either later that day or early the next, my Assistant calls me again and says "So-and-so called and wanted to thank you, and has a few questions." I always enjoy answering those question because it means I'm talking to a grateful client who just got their license back!
You notice I don't talk about losing a case. There are no guarantees in life, but there is one when I handle your case.