If you’re attempting to get your Michigan driver’s license reinstated after multiple DUIs, it’s important to consider every single factor that may impact your case.
Driver’s license reinstatement is a complicated issue. So there are a lot of different things that the Secretary of State will look at to determine your ability to remain sober and safely operate a vehicle moving forward. You can’t just focus on one area and hope that’s enough to be granted another chance. A well rounded case will give you a much better chance of receiving a favorable outcome.
An experienced Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney can help you dive into more detail in all of these areas. But if you’re just getting started, here’s a simple guide of the factors the state will look at to determine the outcome of your case.
Quality and Length of Sobriety
The amount of time you’ve been sober since your last DUI is very important — but so is the quality of your sobriety. For example, someone who is actively attending AA meetings or participating in other support groups or counseling sessions will most likely be seen as having a higher quality of sobriety than someone who is not actively participating in any activities to maintain their sobriety. It’s not absolutely mandatory for you to do any certain activity. All cases are looked at on a case-by-case basis. However, taking active steps to maintain sobriety will almost always help your case.
In almost every instance, you need to have been sober for at least a year. However, if you’ve maintained your sobriety for even longer, that may help your case. They’ll also likely look at things like relapses and your ability to move past them.
Even if you’re not currently participating in support groups or counseling, it is usually beneficial to prove that you completed some kind of treatment. Seeing a professional can help give individuals with substance abuse issues a better chance of remaining sober long term. So if you went through a rehabilitation or treatment program, it’s usually a good idea to go over that during your case.
Insight Into Condition Triggers
During treatment, it’s important to look at the reasons you were drinking or using drugs in the first place. If you can pinpoint the causes or triggers, you have a better chance of addressing them and actually remaining sober going forward.
For example, if you identified stress as a major trigger, it gives you the opportunity to actively work on other stress management techniques so you’ll be less likely to rely on alcohol or other substances to deal with it. People who have these insights into their condition are usually more likely to maintain sobriety long term than others. So it’s usually a good idea to dive into them during treatment sessions. Then you can explore them in your case and detail how you’ve addressed your triggers so you can stay sober and drive safely.
Support Group Involvement
Again, the necessity of attending a support group is determined on a case-by-case basis. So it’s not necessarily going to kill your case if you do not attend. However, it’s usually a good idea to explore these types of programs and see if they can help you maintain sobriety.
However, simply attending AA meetings doesn’t usually have the same impact as participating with a sponsor and doing the step work. These programs usually require more active participation. So it can help you prove that you take your sobriety seriously and that you’ve taken many concrete steps to achieve and maintain it. This doesn’t mean that simply attending AA meetings is a bad thing. It won’t hurt your case. It just may not have the same impact as working the program. If AA is not for you, there are other quality programs like Celebrate Recovery or Smart Recovery. It is important to find a program that works for you. These programs also work well for license reinstatement.
Quality of Evaluation
Every petitioner needs to present an evaluation from a qualified substance abuse counselor. But the quality of the evaluation is also very important. They’ll look at what the recommendations within the evaluation were and whether or not you’ve been following them. For instance, a counselor may have recommended that you attend AA meetings. If so, then proving your involvement in this kind of support group would be even more important than it is for others.
The hearing officers also tend to look at whether or not the evaluation seems to be impartial. If the counselor looked at both the positives and negatives and included information on both sides, then they’ll likely have more credibility than someone who provided a one-sided evaluation that can seem biased. The evaluator should also consider all of the necessary background facts of your situation to provide a complete picture of your sobriety needs.
During the hearing, you may opt to bring in witnesses who can attest to your sobriety and participation in treatment programs, counseling, or support groups. These individuals can help to support your own testimony and provide information that is useful to determining the outcome of your case.
It is not required for you to call a corroborating witness at your hearing. So if you do choose to take advantage of this option, your witness needs to be strong. Basically, all of their points should be consistent, they should be trustworthy, and they should support the points you’ve made in your own testimony and through the evidence you submitted.
You’re also required to submit at least three letters of support from members of your community. The quality of these letters is important in the same way. The hearing officer will consider how well the letter writer knows you, how often they see you, how well they know your past alcohol or drug usage, and how consistent the letters are with each other and with your other evidence and testimony.
How Well You Do at the Hearing
Then it’s important to consider your own testimony as well. You will need to tell your story and answer questions during the hearing. So your answers should be strong, consistent, and honest. The hearing officer will take a variety of factors into account from this part of the process. It’s usually a good idea to practice and prepare for different questions so you can make a good impression.