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 12 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.
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.
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.