What to Expect During Your Michigan License Appeal Hearing
In Michigan, if you have been convicted of a second OWI, your license will be revoked for a minimum of one (1) year. If you have been convicted of a third OWI, your license will be revoked for a minimum of five (5) years.
Once the timeframe passes, you are then able to conduct a Michigan license hearing request. When you ask the Michigan Secretary of State’s Driver’s License Appeal Division (DLAD Michigan) for a hearing, a hearing officer will determine whether you meet the specific criteria to restore your driver’s license.
As your license restoration hearing approaches, it is important to study (in depth) the Michigan driver’s license appeal hearing questions. Your responses should be honest, but thorough. The questions may seem simple on their face, but what the hearing officers are really looking for is usually much more complex.
Your specific responses will determine whether you can be trusted to safely drive – so let’s take a look at some of the standard questions:
Questions About Your Personal Relationships and Contacts
Questions about your personal relationships and contacts are more important than you think. If you are still associating with your same “drinking buddies” and people that frequently drink, you are not going to make a very good impression on the hearing officers.
The fact that you have superhuman-will power and you can be in a bar surrounded by your friends that are drinking and not be tempted to drink yourself is not the sort of answer the hearing officer’s value. Here are some of the standard questions that will be asked about the people in your life:
- Who do you live with? How long have you lived together? How old are they? What do they do for a living?
- Does that person drink or keep alcohol in your home? Does that person drink when they are out of the house and by themselves or with other friends? If so, how often?
- How would the people in your life feel if you started drinking again?
Being sober is a life changing event and it requires that you do more than simply fight the urge to drink. Having the right answer to these questions will mean the difference between having a license now and having to wait yet another year.
Questions About Your Driving Habits
Before you even step foot into a Michigan driver’s license restoration hearing room, you should have thoroughly reviewed your current driving record. Doing this will help you anticipate the inevitable questions that will be asked of you. Offenses on your record such as driving while license suspended, reckless driving, careless driving, speeding tickets and accident reports are going to be addressed.
Remember, the number one criteria the hearing officer is trying to determine is whether you can be trusted to drive. Here are some of the standard questions that all of the hearing officers will specifically ask:
- When is the last time you came into contact with a police officer?
- Have you ever driven while your license was revoked or suspended?
- Do you have any reckless or careless driving tickets on your record?
- Do you have any pending traffic matters?
- What are the details surrounding your traffic accidents?
- Have you ever had any traffic tickets that were dismissed?
Remember, the hearing officer already knows the answer to most of these questions because he or she will have your driving record right in front of them. What’s important is that you answer honestly.
Questions About Your Drinking Habits
Questions about your drinking habits are not necessarily about proving that you haven’t had a drop of alcohol since your last OWI arrest, but more about you showing that you have remained substance abuse-free for at least one year before your hearing date. The hearing officer will not only listen to your answers, but he or she will also pay a great deal of attention to the way you answer the questions.
Being honest about your sobriety date and rehabilitative efforts, and answering with confidence is your best option. Don’t be mistaken – the hearing officer will evaluate the driver’s license appeal letters you submit to determine if your rehabilitative efforts and sobriety date are the same. Any amount of contradiction will be disastrous.
Here are some of the standard questions:
- What were your drinking habits like prior to receiving your OWIs?
- At the height of your drinking, how often would you say you consumed alcohol?
- In the last year have you been to any bars, nightclubs, or establishments whose primary purpose is to serve alcohol?
- When you attend family gatherings or other social events where alcohol is present, how do you spend your time?
- Have you participated in a toast at a wedding or other celebratory event in the last year?
All of these questions are not intended to simply address the person you used to be, but the person you are today. If you don’t think taking a sip of champagne at a wedding is drinking, the hearing officers’ will not give any credibility to your claims of sobriety.
Some of the best lessons learned are the lessons that cause the most hardship and the hearing officer’s know that nobody is perfect. Any amount of downplaying your OWI offenses or past drinking habits will only show the hearing officer that you haven’t learned your lesson, and will make the Michigan driver’s license hearing decision easy.
If you haven’t learned your lesson, giving you the benefit of the doubt and letting you drive is not likely. Remember, it is the hearing officer’s job to ensure the safety of drivers on the road. The best way they can do this is making sure that you have learned your lesson, that you are sincere and honest, and that you are unlikely to ever drink and drive again.
The Hearing Officers
Our office deals most often with the Livonia Driver’s Assessment and Appeal Division. There are five hearing officers located in the Livonia office and each hearing is recorded just like a regular court of law. Each hearing officer has their own personality and style of questioning.
If you have a hearing in Livonia, you can expect to see one of the following hearing officers:
While some hearing officers are more liberal, others are very technical and conservative. Some hearing officers get their answer and orders out quicker than others and some hearing officers will indicate at the actual hearing whether you will be granted driving privileges or not.
You will always know which hearing officer you will have prior to your actual hearing date, so you and your attorney can fine tune your approach.
If you or a loved one is in need of driver’s license restoration services in the metro-Detroit area, contact the Law Office of Barton Morris. We aim to create an attorney client relationship with every client, and will never judge you for your past mistakes.
Our Michigan driver’s license lawyers have handled Michigan DLAD hearings for almost 10 years. We know the hearing officers around various metro-Detroit DLAD offices. Therefore, we know what to expect and have a 97% success rate with Michigan driver’s license appeals.
Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 20 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. 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. 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 is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2020 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”