The Real “Meat and Potatoes” of a Michigan License Restoration Appeal
This section will focus on the real “core” of a Michigan license reinstatement appeal. Here, we're going to zone in on what license appeals are really all about.
In the years since this site was published, I have written hundreds and hundreds highly detailed, informational articles examining and explaining every facet of the Michigan driver’s license restoration process. 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. Miss any one, and you’ll be trying to fix it 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 informs, if not controls, everything else.
Legally speaking this issue can be paraphrased as follows:
The person’s alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.
In the real world, this means that the person filing a license appeal is a safe bet to never drink alcohol again. Not a sip, not a drop, not ever.
Moreover, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) requires that the legal issues in a license restoration or out-of-state clearance case, including the one set forth above (which is by far the most important), be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.” This is a high standard, and, for reference, isn’t too far removed from “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” In practice, proving a case by “clear and convincing evidence” means that the Judge or Law Examiner (Hearing Officer) has no unanswered questions or unresolved doubts. It means, in effect, that you’ve hit a home run.
As I noted, there are very demanding and precise factual and procedural requirements involved in a Michigan license restoration appeal. However, falling short in any of those categories almost always translates to having fallen short in this one. In other words, for all the many reasons that a license appeal may be denied, they all kind of trace back to a failure to have proven, within the rules, that the person’s alcohol problem is likely to remain under control.
There are many myths about license appeals. Some people believe that you can’t win a license appeal the first time. Others completely underestimate the process and think all you need to do is show up and say, “I quit drinking.” Both are dead wrong.
As a Michigan drivers license attorney, I win first time appeals frequently. I have a guarantee that I will. Unfortunately, a lot of that involves fixing things the second time around for those people who thought they could do it on their own the first time.
No matter how you cut it, in ever license restoration appeal, the hearing officer needs to be satisfied about certain things. In a license appeal, the hearing officer needs to be able to conclude you're a safe bet to never drink again, and that you've proven it by “clear and convincing evidence."
It sounds simple, and, in a way, it is.
But there’s a problem. And it’s a big one.
The AHS 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 finding sobriety? Nope. 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.” Sure, there are plenty of people who are in denial about having a drinking problem, but there is no shortage of those who know they have a problem, but just can’t fix it. Not every problem drinker is unaware of his or her situation. Can you imagine how many promises to never drink again are made everyday around the world, and how many of those are broken?
As a result, the AHS needs to be cautious when someone shows up a year or two after their last DUI and says, “I’m all better now. I quit drinking.” They need more than that.
And what they “need” is really the meat and potatoes of a license appeal. The AHS needs a person to prove, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that they are likely to never take a sip of alcohol again. They need to have no doubt about this.
Anyone who falls short in proving that will have to try again, a year later.
Everyone who understands this 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. And doing it right means, above all else, that a person has proven that they are convinced they can never drink again, and that they are, in fact, a safe be to never drink again the rest of their life. To get help formulation a strong case call me, the Michigan drivers license reinstatement attorney who will guarantee a win if you're genuinely sober.