Preparing to Win a Driver’s License Appeal Hearing
A primary area of practice for LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is representing those who have lost their driving privileges as a result of a habitual or multiple drinking and driving offenses. We constantly hear story-after-story about those who have gone before the Driver’s License Appeal Division either unrepresented or under represented (represented by an inexperienced or ineffective attorney) and lost once…twice or even more times.
The fact is that successfully and consistently achieving restoration of driving privileges after multiple convictions is complex and takes many years of experience and finely crafted, persuasive arguments. Regretfully, many practicing lawyers take on DLAD cases without a clue as to how to be successful and make misleading representations to potential clients that they are experienced and effective. Based upon the number of cases where LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is hired to take over these cases, it appears very likely that the pool of knowledgeable and qualified attorneys is much smaller that they would have you believe.
What must be included in a request for a hearing before the DLAD?
Request for a Hearing
To get a DLAD hearing, you must present several different documents, including a Request for Hearing, Substance Abuse Evaluation and letters verifying abstinence from alcohol and/or controlled substances. The Request for Hearing must include specific, verifiable information that is supported by evidence to be admitted at the hearing. Even a minor mistake in any of this documentation can prove fatal to achieving restoration and great care must be taken to ensure that all documents are in order and done properly.
Substance Abuse Evaluation
All Substance Abuse Evaluations are not the same and some evaluators have more weight with the Michigan Department of State than others. Further, the evaluation itself must contain information and findings that are consistent with other evidence to be submitted in the case, findings that are credible and persuasive and that that will be consistent and corroborate the testimony of the petitioner at the hearing. An experienced driver’s license restoration attorney may insist that the evaluation be done and re-done multiple times until it is correct, error free and properly drafted. It is amazing that many people seeing driver’s license restoration will just look on the internet or in the Yellow Pages for a certified substance abuse counselor to do an evaluation. Even many lawyers will just refer a client to just anyone or, even worse, let them go find their own evaluator. Each region of the DLAD has its own idiosyncrasies and the lawyer has an obligation to ensure that the substance abuse evaluator is knowledgeable about how the evaluation should be completed and that it is done correctly.
Letters of Community Support
You must obtain documentation of your drinking and drug use habits in the form of notarized letters from people in your community who have frequent contact with you and may know something about your drinking habits and/or use of controlled substances. These would include immediate family members, other relatives, employers, friends, pastors, local police, a recognized support group such as 12 step meetings or Women for Sobriety, neighbors or others with whom you associate. It is required you submit at least 3 letters, but not more than six. These letters should be signed, notarized and dated and include the complete mailing address and daytime telephone number of the writer, and contain at least the following information about you.
- What their relationship is to you.
- How long they have known you.
- How often they see you.
- Have them describe their knowledge of your past and current use of alcohol and/or drugs including frequency of use, amount used, beverage and/or drug of choice, etc.
- When the last time was they saw or had knowledge that you had used any alcohol and/or drugs.
- What their knowledge is of your past and current involvement in treatment and/or a support group.
- Have them include other information they believe is important.
One of the most frequent reasons people are denied at the DLAD are insufficient letters. The format for these letters as recommended by LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has been developed over almost two decades and over the course of representing hundreds of clients. Even when we give clients and outline as to how the letters are to be drafted, it is not uncommon that the letters need to be revised, edited and corrected multiple times. If the letters are not exceptional, it is very unlikely the petitioner will be successful. Trying to figure this out on your own is very risky and your chances of winning without sufficient letters is very, very low.
What can you do to win your DLAD appeal after habitual drunk driving or OWI/DUI offenses?
Call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for help. Simply put, these cases are too complex and the outcome is too important to risk things on self-representation or discount lawyers. Failure generally results in a one year delay until another opportunity to request reinstatement. The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experienced successfully prosecuting appeals for driver’s license restoration. We know the hearing officers, the most successful techniques, and the most persuasive arguments. Although restoration cannot be guaranteed in any case, if you want to maximize your chances of having your driving privileges restored, call us for a free consultation at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a seriously experienced attorney will promptly contact you.