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Who Can Be A Credible Witness To Use In A Driver’s License Hearing?

Posted On: February 07, 2017  
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Who Can Be A Credible Witness To Use In A Driver’s License Hearing?

Typically the type of witnesses that would have the most effect on the hearing officer would be people that are with you all the time or a lot of the time or people that you know through AA participation. People who can really testify and give an opinion about sobriety. Those are the ones that matter the most. You don’t want to overdo it with witnesses because a lot of times, witnesses will try too hard to be favorable and it may backfire on you because they overstepped their bounds or be inconsistent factually to what they testify to. It is important to be careful with witnesses and let witnesses know what the limits of their testimony are.

Is AA Or Any Other Support Group Or Counseling Going To be Helpful In A Case?

Typically, once you’ve had your license revoked and you are now trying to get it back, it’d be very helpful if the client is attending AA and knows the 12 steps and can speak about the program intelligently, that is probably the most preferred support group and the most preferred tool that the secretary of state likes people to be participating in. Part of the reason is it’s free, it’s everywhere, and it’s proven to be effective. A lot of times, the clients really don’t have the time to go to AA or don’t feel comfortable at AA and for whatever reason it doesn’t seem to work for them.

It’s not a rule that you absolutely have to do it but if you don’t mind going to AA, then it is a very effective tool in getting your license back. If you don’t do that though, you can do normal counseling. Some people just work with their pastor at their church, other people have family members who have been sober for long periods of time and they have their own customized support groups that they rely upon. The bottom line is that it is strongly preferred that the petitioner for a driver’s license has a good support group in place and has a plan for how using and relying on their support group because the secretary of state seems to have a strong belief that people who are involved in some type of support group have a much higher chance of succeeding than those who are simply managing everything by themselves.

How Long Does It Take To Discover If Someone Has Been Successful In A Driver’s License Hearing?

Essentially, it depends upon how long the secretary of state is running behind. The hearing officer has to type up their report and their decision on your case and then they have to send it to Lansing where it gets reviewed and then it’s sent out from there. We have seen recently that it can take as long as 6-7 weeks to get a decision from a hearing officer. However, that is not always the case; sometimes it is shorter. Occasionally, the hearing officer will tell you right at the hearing that you have won the case and usually in those situations, they will send the report out very quickly. So, it really depends.

If Someone Loses The Hearing Can They Appeal Their Case?

Yes. The law does allow you to appeal a decision of the hearing officer to the circuit court if you lose. However, the basis of the appeal is a little bit restricted in the sense that the judge at the circuit court isn’t just allowed to make up their own mind. They have to look at the record from the hearing and decide whether or not the hearing officer abused their discretion or somehow violated your constitutional right or made a decision that was arbitrary and capricious in denying your request for a license in order to determine if the hearing officer overstepped their bounds and made a bad decision.

The good news is as of August 15th, 2016, the law was amended so that circuit court judges in an appeal from the driver’s license appeals division has the right to consider new or additional evidence that was not presented at the original hearing. It used to be that the circuit court judge only had one choice; either to grant a full license or deny the appeal. Now the circuit court judge also has the right to grant a restricted license if they see fit. Therefore, this new law has created additional chances for your appeal to be successful. These appeals are difficult and they require an attorney because the procedural requirements are complicated but the new law is definitely a step in the right direction towards people being able to get a review of the hearing officer’s decision if they lose that hearing.

What Is A Hardship Appeal?

A hardship appeal is an appeal that is used for certain licensing penalties, such as suspensions or a first violation of an implied consent suspension, whereby you can go to the court and say something along the lines of “I am guilty, however, I really have no ability to get to work or get to school or to a medical appointment without a driver’s license because public transportation doesn’t exist where I live and therefore I need a license based upon hardship.” In certain circumstances like suspended license, too many points, implied consent violation, the judge has the authority to grant the license based upon the hardships it has caused to the person. However, that hardship appeal does not apply to a license revocation where a person’s license is revoked due to 2 or more alcohol related convictions. The judge does not have the right to give a hardship license under those circumstances.

For more information on Credible Witnesses At A Hearing, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 451-2200 today.

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