In order to have your driving privileges restored, it’s critical that properly prepared evidence is submitted to the hearing officers. A substance abuse evaluation (SAE) is mandatory, therefore it’s obvious that the hearing officers rely heavily on the information it contains. This evaluation is the pivotal piece of information that everything else revolves around.
Your letters of support, attorney’s examination questions and very own testimony are all based on the information contained in the evaluation. Making sure that a qualified substance abuse counselor properly completes the evaluation is your key to success.
P.L.A.N. Accordingly for your Substance Abuse Evaluation
The substance abuse evaluation is probably the single most important piece of evidence you’re required to submit. Turning in a poorly done evaluation can lose your case for you before you even step foot into the hearing room. The key to receiving a proper evaluation is to make sure you spend enough time with your evaluator, so that he or she will get a clear picture of who you were in the past and who you are today.
Simply reiterating a list of conviction dates and your treatment history, while necessary and important, is never enough. You need to P.L.A.N:
P: Prior Orders
A: Abstinence History
N: Note from Doctor
If you’ve ever been to a hearing in the past, you’ll want to give your order whether it’s granting or denying your appeal to your evaluator. Often times, the order will indicate several issues of concern that the hearing officer wants discussed and then addressed in the evaluation.
Ignition Interlock Logs
Ignition interlock logs should also be given to your evaluator. If there are any violations or even alcohol readings that didn’t cause a violation, your evaluator should address it.
It’s especially important if your interlock logs contain alcohol readings. You should explain each incident to your evaluator. Be specific.
Where were you when the violation occurred?
What were you doing?
Do you have any evidence to support your story?
Simply discussing it with your evaluator and having that notated on the evaluation is a step in the right direction. It shows the hearing officers that you are 100% forthcoming and this is what you want. It builds not only your credibility, but the credibility of the evaluator when giving you a diagnosis.
It’s incredibly important that your evaluator understands your abstinence history. Notating any relapses and discussing why “this” time will be different is something the hearing officers are always looking for.
If you testify to a period of abstinence that isn’t on your SAE, it will make the hearing officers skeptical that your substance abuse problem is likely to remain under control.
Note From Your Doctor
If you’re taking any sort of medication you will need a note from your doctor. Typically, the note is put on an approved form from the Secretary of State (SOS) called a physician statement of examination. If you’re submitting a note from your doctor, it’s important that your substance use evaluator review it and discuss it in his evaluation.
The hearing officer will want to know that your excellent prognosis is really excellent and if you don’t mention that you’re taking medication or being treated by a doctor to your evaluator how could he or she really know how you are doing?
The Takeaway About Substance Abuse Evaluations
Getting all of this information into your evaluation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a qualified substance abuse counselor and some guidance from your attorney, you can make sure that all of these issues are easily covered. If you P.L.A.N accordingly, you should be on the road to success.
Attorney Morris is trial lawyer who has been providing high-quality legal representation in the areas of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years. He’s known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he’s dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is always prepared to successfully take on complex legal issues. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society, and is the only forensic lawyer-scientist in Michigan. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He’s also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris is consistently chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit and for DUI/OWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. He has also been chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense.
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