Michigan Habitual Offender License Appeal Attorneys
In Michigan, having a driver’s license is a necessity. The cold winters and sparse public transportation make conducting the business of life nearly impossible. If you have found yourself classified as a habitual offender in Michigan due to multiple drinking and driving offenses, then your road to recovery starts here. Sobriety is both a gift and the solution. We are aware this may be a sensitive topic, because someone’s drinking habits can be deeply personal, but we also want to make sure you have the information you need to win your driver’s license back. If you truly do not believe you have a drinking problem despite having two drinking and driving offenses, than you are going to have to accept certain realities about what it will take to get your license restored. First, you are going to have to go a year without drinking. Second, you are going to have to prove you no longer drink and are not likely to do so in the future.
Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against you in a driver’s license restoration hearing. As we will look at shortly, the presumption is against you and you have the burden to show that you have fixed your drinking problem and that you have done so in a way that it will not happen again in the future.
Consequently, if you have been convicted of two or more drinking and driving offenses within seven years, then the presumption is you are a habitual offender and have a drinking problem. You must rebut this presumption to win. Rebutting the presumption means pushing back, and providing evidence to the contrary of the presumption. Our driver's license attorneys have a proven track record of winning, and we know how to get the job done. We will provide expert legal counsel every step of the way and stand shoulder to shoulder with you when we present the case to the hearing officer.
Let us do a short legal lesson on the standard of proof, the elements we must prove to restore a driver’s license, and evidence we can use to rebut the presumption.
The Standard of Proof: Clear and Convincing Evidence – The Burden Is on You
The concept of a burden of proof is not unfamiliar to anyone who has seen an episode of Law and Order. In criminal proceedings the burden is on the prosecutor, and the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. In administrative hearings like the one you are facing the burden is on you, and you must rebut the presumption by proving the elements with clear and convincing evidence.
The good news is, clear and convincing evidence is a lower standard of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard the U.S. Constitution requires the government to meet to prove a defendant is guilty of a crime. However, clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard of proof than a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of evidence is the standard of proof used in civil trials, and in most instances, when only money is at stake. Preponderance of the evidence is met if the trier of fact, either the judge or jury, believes the evidence has been shown to be “more likely to be true than not,” or at least 51% likely.
So, what is clear and convincing evidence? Clear and convincing evidence is used when something more than money is at stake. For example, your driver’s license. The standard has been described by courts as “substantially more likely to be true than untrue.” What is really informative is that clear and convincing evidence is higher than preponderance of the evidence, but lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, the burden is on you! So you must prove the following elements of a driver’s license restoration hearing by clear and convincing evidence, which means showing each element is substantially more likely to be true than untrue.
Here are the things that a person considered a “habitual offender”, must prove to win their license restoration hearing:
- His or her alcohol and/or substance abuse problems are under control and are likely to remain under control
- He or she represents a low or minimal risk of drinking or being under the influence of illicit drugs while driving
- He or she has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law
- He or she has the minimum period of abstinence of one year
How to Generate Evidence to Rebut the Presumption of Being A Habitual Offender By Clear And Convincing Evidence
After reviewing the law and standard of proof, you can see that the law is assuming you have a drinking or substance abuse problem. So, you are going to have to accept the reality that you must prove your drinking problem is under control and likely to remain under control for the purposes of driver’s license restoration. That begins with a year of sobriety, but that only meets the sobriety requirement. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a year is a good start.
Where the rubber meets the road is with meeting attendance slips. AA is considered the “gold standard” for driver’s license restoration. It shows a commitment to your recovery and a dedication to make the changes necessary so the problems of your past never happen again. Working with a sponsor is a great way to build your network, and also lay the foundation for an excellent recommendation letter documenting your sobriety. Additionally, the skills you will learn in AA will help give you the knowledge to give exceptional answers to both the substance abuse counselor and also the hearing officer. You must prove the problem is likely to remain under control by demonstrating you have learned skills, built a network, and made the changes necessary to live a sober life. Although AA is helpful, it is not required that you attend AA to be successful at a driver’s license hearing. There is a myriad of ways to maintain sobriety other than AA or continued counseling.
The Whole Package: Exemplary Legal Representation
Everyone has a story how they become sober. You may have not thought about it in terms of being a story, but it is the job of an exceptional attorney to explain your story to the hearing officer. A sincere recovery is irrefutable proof of the elements necessary to win your driver’s license back, and at Grabel & Associates we want to help tell your story in order to win your license back. Remember, you only have one opportunity per year to apply for license restoration, so you want to get it right the first time. At Grabel & Associates we are proud of our successful track record. We win 97% of driver’s license restoration hearings the first time. We are so confident that we will win for you that we guarantee if we do not win the first time, we will represent you free of charge until you get your license back. If you are facing driver’s license restoration as a habitual offender, then call Grabel & Associates today at 1-800-677-9795 for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you win your case.