Attorneys Dedicated to the Successful Representation of Clients Seeking Restoration of Driving Privileges in Michigan
Before August 15, 2016, a person who lost an appeal for restoration with the DLAD (Michigan Driver’s License Appeal Division) could only appeal to Circuit Court and argue that the hearing officer abused his or her discretion or that the decision was not supported by the law. Many people who attempt to appeal on their own, or with an inexperienced lawyer, lose in court. If you lose at the DLAD and the evidence you present is weak, there is little hope for reversing the DLAD denial on appeal. This is because the record at the DLAD hearing was not sufficient to win, and the standard on appeal is an “abuse of discretion.” Abuse of discretion is a very high standard. In other words, an appeal was limited to whatever evidence was admitted at the DLAD hearing, and nothing new could be introduced in court. Because the evidence could not be improved and new evidence could not be added in the circuit court, the judge was often helpless to order the reinstatement of the driver’s license. A recent amendment to the law changes this entire process and makes the chances of winning on appeal much greater.
Under the August 2016 amendment, the person seeking reinstatement of his or her driver’s license can now admit new evidence in the circuit court. The judge must agree to allow for the introduction of the new evidence. The new evidence can be either testimony or physical evidence like letters, expert opinions, documents, and substance abuse evaluations. This is where an experienced and known lawyer is so important because the judge must be persuaded to allow the introduction of the new evidence.
Simply admitting more evidence is not enough for a win. Winning is generally not about how much evidence the petitioner can provide; it is more about the quality and persuasiveness of the evidence. To win restoration of your driving privileges, the judge (or DLAD hearing officer) must be convinced by “clear and convincing evidence” the person can adhere to the rules of the road, that any alcohol or drug problem is under control and likely to stay under control, and that he or she is not a danger to themselves or others. Because petitioners in these cases generally have two or more alcohol-related driving convictions, there is a starting presumption that he or she is a danger.
Why not try a DLAD appeal without a lawyer or with a budget lawyer?
Under the new law, clients frequently ask whether they should just try a DLAD hearing on their own or with a discount lawyer first and then, if they lose, spend the money to hire a good lawyer for the appeal. This would be a dire mistake. Just because new evidence can now be admitted on appeal, does not make the old, inadequate evidence disappear. The Driver’s License Restoration Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. sees that even experienced lawyers inadvertently admit evidence that is harmful to the client’s case; for example, letters that do not use the correct language or a substance abuse evaluation that uses unpersuasive terms to describe a diagnosis or prognosis. Frequently, this evidence is so poor that it is difficult to overcome, even with the introduction of new evidence. There is no substitute for good, experienced lawyers who have a track record of winning.
Winning Driver’s License Restoration Attorneys
The goal of handling a driver’s license restoration case is to win and win early. While most people lose when they represent themselves or have ineffective lawyers, our attorneys have developed a system that is proven and wins on a consistent basis. We will work with you to make sure that your evidence is in order, effective, and admissible before it goes to the Michigan Department of State and that you are totally prepared to testify effectively on your own behalf. If you’ve lost at the DLAD, we can accurately identify the weaknesses in your evidence and make sure that on appeal to Circuit Court, you are in the best possible position to win! For Circuit Court restoration of driving privileges, our team is your best hope of winning.
If you are interested in having your driving privileges restored at the DLAD or Circuit Court, call us at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. If you would prefer, complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.