Winning a DLAD Hearing (or a DAAD hearing)

How do I win a driver’s license appeal hearing with the Michigan Department of State?

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It is Possible to Win a DLAD Appeal the First Time

Winning a DLAD hearing and getting your driver’s license restored is possible. The process is highly complicated, and winning takes near-perfect preparation. Technically, the DLAD is now called the Drivers Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD), but for this blog, it will be referred to as the traditional acronym, “DLAD.”

Although many people and lawyers may dispute it, it is possible to win a DLAD hearing on the first attempt. The Driver’s License Restoration Lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are almost always successful with the Driver’s License Appeal Division. Winning a DLAD appeal takes impeccable preparation and thoughtful attention to detail.

Evidence Needed to Win a DLAD Appeal

The law in Michigan requires that all of the evidence for the DLAD hearing officer be prepared and filed along with the Request for a Hearing. It frequently takes about six weeks to get a hearing after your lawyer files the request with the Michigan Department of State.


According to the Secretary of State, a habitual offender requesting restoration must submit a current substance abuse evaluation and three or more notarized letters attesting to your sobriety. A habitual offender is someone with multiple convictions for DUI, OWI, Impaired Driving, and OWPD. If a person is requesting full restoration after already being granted a restricted license, an ignition interlock Final Report must also be submitted.

So if you provide all the information, shouldn’t you win? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” We have found through decades of experience that hearing officers require much more than the Department of State tells you on their website. The hearing officers are often like prosecutors and look for reasons to deny relief.

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Letters of Community Support for DLAD Hearing

The three letters must contain every element the hearing officer is requiring, or they will simply disregard them in their entirety. Over several decades and hundreds of DLAD appeals, the DLAD Restoration Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has developed the experience to assist our clients in drafting letters that meet the necessary criteria. Also, we help our clients format the letters in a persuasive, professional manner. It is important that the letters are accurate, truthful, and state all of the essential information in the most compelling way possible.

Substance Abuse Evaluations

All substance abuse evaluations are not the same. Many evaluators have poor reputations with the Michigan Department of State or simply misstate their experience in preparing the necessary documentation. The DLAD hearing officers will be unforgiving if a substance abuse evaluation is not credible or if it is incomplete. We have the experience to review the Substance Abuse Evaluation to ensure that it is complete, accurate, and sets forth the information required to achieve restoration.

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Testimony at a DLAD Hearing

The DLAD hearing officer is a lawyer who is going to grill you on your sobriety. We take the time to work with our clients and teach them how to be effective, persuasive, and confident witnesses. Being a convincing witness takes careful planning and preparation.  Petitioners generally have minimal experience testifying in court or at an administrative hearing, and lack of preparation can be fatal to an appeal. We will work with you so that you are comfortable, self-assured, and ready to tell your story of recovery convincingly.

The Burden of Proof at a DLAD Hearing

The burden of proof at a DLAD hearing is “Clear and Convincing Evidence.” Clear and convincing means compelling, credible evidence that corroborates the petitioner’s claim that any substance or alcohol problem is under control and likely to remain under control. Additionally, he or she must be confident that you are not a danger to yourself or others if you operate a motor vehicle. The stakes are high in this hearing, and the hearing officer is not going to want to take a chance on you if there is any doubt. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. gives you the best possible chance of having a successful hearing and achieving restoration.

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We have the experience, track record and knowledge to help you win. A law firm gives you the advantage of a team of lawyers working together to help you rather than a solo practitioner or multi-practice lawyer. In our experience, the collective experience and knowledge of the various attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has produced results that would not have been possible with just one lawyer, regardless of his or her expertise. If you hire an inferior lawyer or try on your own and lose, you will have to wait a full year to be eligible to request restoration, or you will have to hire a lawyer to appeal the outcome of the hearing to your local circuit court. There are times to bargain hunt, but not when it comes to your lawyer or your driver’s license. Don’t trust your fate to the lowest bidder.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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