In our previous installment, we discussed the appeals process in Michigan. We likened the process of hiring a DUI attorney to assist you in this process to hiring an experienced Sherpa to guide you to the top of the mountain. Well, in obtaining your substance abuse assessment, you are taking the first steps in your trek.
Provided that the assessment is encouraging and an appeal hearing has been requested, it is important to discuss witnesses who can attend the hearing to testify regarding your sobriety, as well as those individuals who can provide written documentation substantiating your sobriety. However, the most important and compelling witness at this hearing is you. That’s right. You can make or break the hearing. This isn’t said to induce stress, but you are the individual seeking reinstatement of your driving privileges. You carry the burden in convincing the hearing officer that you are ready to drive again.
We always recommend that our clients attend AA for an extended period of time before petitioning for restoration of their license. AA is an outstanding organization founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. Its “primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” You are encouraged to refer to the attached original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
You should be also be able to recite the Serenity Prayer adopted by AA, which is:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
AA offers meetings virtually twenty-four (24) hours a day in thousands of locations throughout Michigan and the United States. You can’t convince someone that you simply couldn’t find a meeting to attend, even if you have transportation issues as a result of losing your license.
At your hearing, expect to be asked the Twelve Steps and/or the Serenity Prayer. You may be asked to recite the fifth step or the eighth step. That’s why it is important to know the steps, and to live by the steps. Hearing officers conduct thousands of hearings every year. They know when the steps are merely recited by a petitioner, and they know when the petitioner knows the steps because he or she lives by the steps. Be genuine during the hearing.
Another indication that you are embracing sobriety is to have a sponsor, someone who mentors, encourages and guides you through your quest to stay sober. It takes some time and some continuity in attending meetings to find a sponsor. A sponsor is someone you can call on when you have the urge to drink, and you need to be talked out of drinking. A hearing officer wants to not only know that sobriety has been maintained, but he also wants to know that you are equipped and supported to make different life decisions that returning to drinking. He wants to know how things are going to be done differently now than they were done before. Your Michigan DUI attorney will prepare you for some anticipated questions. This should make the hearing less stressful and should enable you to focus.
Contact the experienced Michigan DUI lawyers at SMDA to schedule an appointment. As always, the initial consultation is free. SMDA will help you in the process or having your license restored and getting your life back on track.