Driver's License Restoration Appeals
Michael G. Brock, MA, LMSW
If you get one DUI you generally get off with a stiff fine and probation, but if you pick up a second within seven years your license is automatically suspended for a year. At least they tell you it's for a year, but in fact it usually takes longer than that to get it back. That is because you first have to have a SUBSTANCE USE EVALUATION according to SOS forms 257/258. The evaluation needs to show that you have learned your lesson, are not drinking or doing drugs, and are doing whatever you need to do to remain completely and permanently abstinent from all substances of abuse. The burden of proof is on you and the standard of proof is clear and convincing evidence. This can be difficult, but not impossible to establish, but it is certain that you need to know what to expect and provide the hearing officer with what they need to feel confident that you will not be a danger to yourself or others behind the wheel of a car.
Michael Brock has done thousands of driver's license evaluations in the State of Michigan. We will guide you through the process and help you put the truth in the best possible light. Our thorough and honest evaluations include preparing clients for what to expect at their Driver Assessment and Appeal Division Hearings. We help you to present a fair and accurate picture of your substance abuse and recovery efforts, and to avoid sabotaging yourself in your efforts to restore your driving privileges.
Our Driver's License Evaluations Include:
Providing and preparing the required substance abuse evaluation as formatted by the state. It is important the realize that the information in form 257 (my evaluation) will help you to provide accurate and consistent information on form 258, the part of the evaluation that you fill out. When you have both of these forms filled out, and have obtained your letters and drug screen, you are ready to apply to the Secretary of State for a hearing. It is worth noting that the most common reasons for denial are poorly prepared evaluations and inconsistency between the information you provide me and that which you provide to the State. Little things you don't consider important often make the difference, and we explore that in depth.
Providing the Michigan Alcohol Screening Testing as part of a thorough SUBSTANCE USE EVALUATION. This questionnaire is a good indication of whether or not you are owning the problem, and how you will answer questions to the hearing officer. It helps me to know if there is any conscious or unconscious denial.
We used to refer out for the required 10-panel drug screen with integrity variables, but now we do them in-house, saving our clients time and expense. Most people test clean on their drug screens, but it's best not to drink an excessive amount of water or the integrity variables may be affected. If the sample is to light, it will be considered to be an invalid test and have to be redone.
An understanding of what information is relevant to the appeal and what is not. Some people tend to talk excessively when they are nervous and that creates two problems: first, the more you say the more chance you have of saying something self-defeating. “I wasn't that bad” is rarely and effective argument. Secondly, the hearing officer is on the clock, and he knows what information he wants from you. If you tell him what you think he should know, vs what he needs to know, he will feel frustrated, and you will be wasting his time. Best to listen to the questions and answer them as concisely as possible.
We also have referral relationships with a few fine attorneys who specialize in driver's license restoration. Is an attorney necessary? Not always, some people do fine without one, but if there are any complications to the case it might be wise to hire a lawyer who knows the ropes. Complications might include three or more DUIs, accidents that involved serious injury, prescription medications on the controlled substances list, or a refusal to take the breathalyzer (implied consent cases) that you are appealing to circuit court.
To learn more about the process, you can read these published articles by Michael Brock: