You Need to Start Preparing for a Driver's License Appeal Hearing...Yesterday

Reference Letters

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, neighbor and others that know you well

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 person writing the letter and should address the following information:

What a Reference Letter Should Say about You

• What the writer's relationship is to you.
• How long they have known you.
• How often they see you.
• Their knowledge of your past and current use of alcohol and/or drugs including frequency of use, amount used, what you used, etc.
• The last time 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.
• Other information they believe is important

If you are in group like AA or NA, find a sponsor because, one of your letters should be from your sponsor. In addition, the Secretary of State emphasizes that letters should come from a "cross-sampling of your family, family and co-workers who are in a position to know, observe and personally attest to your habits regarding the use of alcohol and/or controlled substances.”
Selecting an experienced attorney to help you through this process is very important. Having represented several clients, Schmierlaw, can help you prepare, recommend experienced professionals to conduct alcohol or controlled substance abuse evaluations and assessments, review your application for inconsistencies, and make sure you have the best chance possible to regain your privilege to drive.

You Can Bring Witnesses to the Hearing

You may bring witnesses to the Driver's License Appeal Hearing if you think they will add to your story of abstinence. The Hearing Officer must be convinced by "clear and convincing" evidence that you are no longer drinking and have the support system in place to make sure that you maintain your sobriety. Generally, mothers and fathers don't make great witnesses unless they can clear up a particular fact. If your parents don't love you, nobody does, so mom and dad are considered a little biased. This goes for your reference letters as well. And don't have your Priest write a letter unless it is to relate some actual fact. His job is to forgive so he too is a little biased.

Consistency, Consistincy, Consisteancy, Consistoncy

The Hearing Officer looks to consistency when considering your appeal. Do all the reference letters have the same set of facts, for instance the date when you quit drinking. If you were denied in an earlier appeal, do both applications have the same information. You don't want to state that your quit date was March 15 and in another application, write down something different.

A Word About AA

The hearing officer must be convinced you will not drink and drive again, even though you were convicted of doing just that, doing it again. Hearing officers want to know that you have the tools to abstain in the future and generally believe a 12-step Program works.
While Schmierlaw has successfully represented Petitioners who do not attend a 12-Step Program, it may give the Hearing Officer another reason to restore your license or the Hearing Officer may order you to attend AA with a restricted license and return in 12 months.

You Will Jump Through a lot of Hoops

Many people complain about having to go to AA or in some other way prove their sobriety. The fact is, it is a hassle but that's what it takes if you want to legally drive again. In a Driver's License Restoration Hearing you have the burden of proving you will never drink and drive again, which you did at least twice before. Bottom line, if you want to restore your privilege to drive, you will with either jump through those hoops or continue taking the bus or UBER. It's your choice but don't let another lawyer tell you that it's easy and there is no pain.

An Experienced Driver's License Appeal Lawyer Can Help

At Schmierlaw, we will review all the information that will be sent to the Secretary of State. We will make sure all your reference letters are completed properly, that they are consistent, and they include the necessary information.

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Contact Schmierlaw for an Initial No-Cost Consultation

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Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
2222 Attard Street, Birmingham, Michigan 48009
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