DRIVER’S LICENSE RESTORATION PART THREE – APPEAL HEARING
Your appeal will be heard and decided by an attorney-hearing officer. Once a hearing has been scheduled, you will be notified of the date, time and location. The Hearing will either be done by video, or it can be done in-person by requesting that it be scheduled at one of the 3 DAAD Offices (Grand Rapids, Lansing and Livonia) where the Hearing Officers are physically stationed. Our office prefers to do them in person. It can be hard to convey a person’s sincerity over a video and you can also lose the benefit of body language with a video.
Prior to the hearing, our office will meet with you to prepare you for the hearing. We want to make sure you will know what is expected of you and what happens during the hearing. It is imperative you are familiar with the Substance Use Evaluation provided by the Counselor and to know the content of the letters of support. Also, if you go or have gone to AA, it is very important you know each of the steps, the serenity prayer and the philosophy of AA. It is common for Hearing Officers to ask you such specific questions. These are just some of the things we will cover so you are not blind-sided by the process.
The hearing itself is conducted in a room that resembles a small courtroom. The hearing officer sits behind a small bench and you and your attorney sit on the other side. An opportunity is given to your attorney to present an opening statement and then ask you some questions. I begin with simple questions that help to put you at ease. Things like your name, address, occupation and then I will ask questions that address any peculiarities in your case. We would have talked about these peculiarities prior to the hearing so you would be prepared for them. After I conclude with my questions, the hearing officer will ask his/her questions. The hearing officer’s questions will not be anything you are not prepared to answer. Our office stresses the importance of telling the truth and if you do that you will be able to answer any questions asked by the hearing officer.
The hearing is the final step in the process; it is not the most important step. Because we have made sure all of your documentation is done well and the documents supplied all the necessary information, the hearing is just another way to verify what is in the documents. Because you have made the commitment to being sober and have taken the steps to get there, the hearing will be your time to explain your commitment; what you have done to become sober and why you will remain sober. It is all the work done prior to the hearing that will give you confidence to answer any questions from the hearing officer.