Whether we recognize it or not, our driver’s license is the most important document we have. It allows us to get to work, pick up our kids, and even take the significant other out for a date. However, some criminal offenses will result in the revocation of your driver’s license.
The most common reason people come to our firm to restore their license involves Operating While Intoxicated (OWI, commonly known as DUI) convictions. If you have been convicted of 2 OWIs in the past 7 years, or 3 OWIs within the past 10 years, your license will be revoked until you have an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State.
People often wonder if they can handle this process on their own. The answer is a clear NO.
What is an administrative hearing?
The administrative hearing involves an in-person meeting with a Secretary of State Administrative Hearing Officer. The hearing officer reviews several documents that are required to be submitted as part of the application.
The hearing officer will conduct an interview with you regarding the information contained in those documents. While this process may sound simple, it is far from simplistic. A small technicality can take an otherwise fantastic case and ruin it.
If you are denied a driver license reinstatement after the hearing, you must wait 1 YEAR before you can apply again. Therefore, the stakes are very high.
How do I ensure my success at this hearing?
First, you must be fully familiar with the rules that govern an administrative hearing. These rules are overly complicated and may be hard to understand unless they are explained in layman’s terms. Therefore, hiring an attorney to assist you with this process is key. For example:
- You must provide at least 3 character reference letters
- You must demonstrate complete sobriety
- You must submit a full and complete Substance Use Evaluation
- You must provide a 10 panel drug screen with integrity variables
- You must complete an affidavit asserting several facts about your past and present
Each of these requirements contain specific instructions as well. Your letters must contain very specific information about your former substance abuse/use. If even one of the letters is contradictory, your case will be lost. Moreover, obtaining a proper substance use evaluation is vitally important.
Please note that while many evaluators claim to provide these services, the hearing officers are looking for buzzwords and specific wording. If you do not pick the right evaluator, you will lose the case before you even walk in the door.
Finally, the in-person hearing can be very tricky for someone without an attorney. The hearing officer is not there to help you through the process. They will not be giving any benefit of the doubt. Having an attorney as a buffer will relieve stress off of you and return the hearing to your comfort zone.
Our firm always meets with our clients before a hearing to ensure they understand what questions can be asked and how to respond. Often times, we will ask the questions ourselves so that our clients can have the conversation with us, instead of the hearing officer.
Don’t gamble with your license
You may only have one shot at this hearing. While it may seem easier and cheaper to do it alone, many of the pitfalls to success will not be evident to someone who isn’t an attorney. Instead, invest in yourself and your future.
Please contact and hire an attorney who is experienced in these hearings to ensure your license restoration. The feeling of having a valid driver’s license back in your hands will make the whole process worth it.
Christopher Urban graduated from Oakland University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. In addition to graduating Summa Cum Laude, Chris was awarded the Donald I. Warren Award for Academic Excellence throughout his time at the university. Upon graduation, Chris began working as Mr. Morris’ driver for court appointments to gain experience before law school. Chris was awarded the Dean’s Scholar Full Tuition Scholarship to Wayne State University. During his time in law school, Chris was a member of the Wayne State Law Mock Trial Team, being named Vice-Chairman his third year. He also worked in the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic through Karmanos Cancer Center, providing legal services to low income individuals with cancer.
Chris brings a wealth of experience to the firm. He has performed numerous “ride-alongs” with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department and the Sterling Heights Police Department. In addition, he was an intern at the Detroit DEA Field Office. Finally, he is a published author (Sexual Victimization: Then and Now. ISBN 978-1483308173). Chris has attended the NHTSA Field Sobriety Test Seminar and the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) seminar.
Christopher is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD). Chris is one of a select few attorneys in Michigan to be a part of this prestigious college. He has attended the Summer Seminar at Harvard Law School, which focused specifically on OWI defense trial tactics. Moreover, he is preparing to become board certified as an OWI attorney. The NCDD holds the only specialty certifying test in DUI Law under the American Bar Association.