THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS NOT TRYING TO GIVE YOU YOUR LICENSE BACK
Getting Your Driver’s License Back
The first thing you need to know about driver’s license restoration in Michigan is that the Secretary of State (SOS) is not trying to help you get your driver’s license back. I know this because I have been representing people in driver’s license restoration cases since 1999 and have witnessed the many changes in driver’s license restoration law and procedure. The changes were not made to make it easier for you to have your license reinstated.
First: You need to actually be sober for at least one year and not be on probation or parole.
Second: You need to have some type of support system in place that allows you to remain sober. It is my belief that the Secretary of State has preferred support systems which are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Private Counseling/Private Therapy, Commitment to Religion with related Religious activities and sometimes even informal support groups (such as a group of individuals supporting each other in sobriety without the rigid structure of the AA or NA programs). It is very difficult to have your license restored if you are not in one of the above support systems. Please understand that to successfully restore your license without AA, NA and Private Therapy usually requires special circumstances.
Third: you must see a substance abuse therapist, counselor or doctor who will draft your substance use evaluation (SOS 258). This evaluation is critical to your quest to reinstate your driving privileges. If this form is not completed with the accurate and consistent information you will you’re your hearing for license reinstatement.
Fourth: You must submit support letters from friends, family, coworkers and others who regularly see you and are aware of your current situation that was caused by two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is imperative that you or your attorney ensure that all your materials submitted to the Secretary of State are accurate and consistent. Failure to do so will almost always result in a denial of your request for license restoration.
Fifth: You can submit records from AA, NA, Counseling, Therapy and even favorable letters from probation officers or Judges. I have obtained letters from Judges for my clients when they have successfully participated in drug therapy courts and submitted those letters to the Secretary of State for my clients’ hearings.
Secretary of State and Driver's License Restoration
The Secretary of State has made the process of restoring your license more difficult by changing the request for hearing form ( now referred to as SOS 257 which is the required form you must submit to the Secretary of State to schedule a driver’s license restoration hearing) which evolved from a fairly simple form for someone to complete into its current form which is 7 pages with questions designed to confuse people and/or produce inconsistent reporting of information that that the Secretary of State already possesses. In my opinion, the changes to the request for hearing form were designed to make it more complicated for people to complete by causing inconsistency in the reporting of information people provide to the Secretary of State. If you report Inconsistent information the Secretary of State, you provide a basis for your license restoration appeal to be denied by the hearing officer.
Information about you and your case is reported to the Secretary of State from many sources including your friends, family, sponsor, therapist, counselor and substance abuse evaluator. The information submitted to the Secretary of State on your behalf includes support letters (drafted by family, friends, and employers), reports (from therapists, counselors, probation officers and rehabilitation facilities) and your substance use evaluation SOS 258. All materials and information submitted to the Secretary of State must be scrutinized to ensure that all the information is accurate and consistent. Failure to scrutinize your materials and information for accuracy and consistency will likely result in a denial of your request for license restoration. This is why you should hire a professional who regularly appears at the Secretary of State and successfully represents people seeking to have their driving privileges restored. This is why you should hire J. Erich Goetz for your license restoration case.
Substance Abuse Evaluator for DUI and OWI
The substance abuse evaluator must regularly treat and counsel people for substance abuse issues and be familiar with diagnosing substance abuse disorders. The Secretary of State has also changed and modified the substance abuse evaluation forms that the evaluators must use for your driver’s license restoration hearing. In my opinion, the changes and modifications to the substance abuse evaluation forms were not designed to assist you and your evaluator in restoring your driver’s license. You need to understand that the substance abuse evaluation form will be carefully scrutinized by the hearing officer who will search for any inconsistencies between the evaluation form and the request for hearing form. Inconsistencies usually result in a denial of your request for restoration of your driver’s license. That is why you need to retain a lawyer who understands how to present your case to the Secretary of State and who understands exactly what the Secretary of State hearing officers are looking for before your license is restored. That is why you need to retain an attorney who knows how to analyze your materials submitted to the Secretary of State for proper and consistent content.
Am I allowed to modify the timeline that I designed?
Do you believe that the evolution of the request for hearing form was driven by the Secretary of State’s interest in making it easier for you to restore your license? Of course not and that is why you need to retain a lawyer who understands how to present your case to the Secretary of State and who understands exactly what the Secretary of State hearing officers (administrative law judges that hear your case and decide if your license will be restored) are looking for before your license is restored.
The Process of Restoring Your Driver's License in Michigan
The Initial Meeting
We will meet in my office and discuss your case. You will meet with me and not an associate attorney, secretary or paralegal. I will gather information necessary to properly present your case to the Secretary of State. Please bring as much information as you can about your past convictions, AA attendance, programs completed (whether court ordered or not), therapist/counselors you have seen and any other relevant information.
Preparing Your Driver's License Restoration Case
You need to schedule an appointment with a substance abuse professional who will draft the substance use evaluation for you. Make sure this person is a properly credentialed substance abuse professional. Failure to do so may result in an evaluation that will not be recognized at your hearing and you may lose your hearing for license restoration based on your insufficient evaluation. You will also need to submit 3 to 6 support letters to the Secretary of State. The people you chose to write your support letters should see you on a regular basis and know about your driver’s license was suspended because you had two or more convictions for driving while intoxicated / impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.