10 Panel Drug Screen in Driver’s License Restoration Hearing

10 Panel Drug Screen

Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Attorney

If you have lost your Michigan driver’s license due to multiple drunk driving convictions, getting it back is very difficult. If you have two or more OWIs in a seven-year period you must wait at least one year before petitioning the Secretary of State. If you have had three OWIs in a 10-year period, you must wait at least five years before petitioning to have your driver’s license reinstated. The process is quite tedious. If you make the slightest misstep, it could be fatal. In your petition you must include copies of all your driving records, your abstinence history, support group (AA) attendance, letters of community support (testimonial letters) attesting to your sobriety, substance abuse evaluation, and a 10-panel drug screen.

10 Panel Drug Screen

The Secretary of State (SOS) will not accept just any drug screen or drug test, it specifically must be a 10-panel drug screen with two integrity variables. Many substance abuse evaluators do seven-panel drug screens but this will not suffice. It is also crucial that the drug screen has the proper integrity variables or else the SOS will not accept it. It is important to retain an experienced Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney to not only navigate you through the cumbersome and extensive process, prepare you for and represent you at the hearing, but to make sure you get the proper 10-panel drug screen done at a licensed facility. A lawyer who is familiar with the driver’s license restoration process will be able to make recommendations as to which substance abuse evaluators and drug testing facilities you can use.

What is a 10 Panel Drug Screen?

A 10 panel drug screen is a test performed by a laboratory for the purpose of determining the amounts, if any, of any illicit or illegal substances in your body. It is usually done by a urinalysis. It’s 10 panels because it detects for 10 different types of drugs including: alcohol (ethanol), opiates, amphetamines, benzoylecgaine (cocaine), barbiturates, methadone, phencyclidine (PCP), benzodiazepines, marijuana (THC), propoxyphene. The results also include readings for the integrity variables creatinine, pH and specific gravity of the urine test.

Preparing for the Test

Creatinine is a breakdown of the product of creatine. It is removed completely from the body by the kidneys. Certain medications can effect the outcome of the drug screen and you may have to temporarily refrain from taking them. The most common are antibiotics (cefoxitin, trimethoprim), cimetidine, and cisplatin. However, never stop taking medications, even for a little while, without consulting your doctor. If you fear your medications may negatively impact your drug screen you can always have your doctor write a letter to the hearing officer explaining the situation.

The creatinine level determines if the urine sample has been diluted or otherwise altered. One should refrain from drinking an excess of water or coffee before the urinalysis because it can reduce the amount of creatinine and make the test appears suspicious to a hearing officer. Many people have unwittingly failed a drug screen because of drinking too much water beforehand.

Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer

Attempting to gain back your driving privileges without an experience attorney guiding you through the process is not a good idea. One wrong step and you will be denied. Not only does that mean you have to wait another year before re-applying, but your case is now harder because now you have to show why the reason you were denied the last time is no longer an issue on top of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that your drinking is under control, your drinking is likely to remain under control, and there are no other medical problems that would prevent you from driving safely. A lawyer with experience in representing clients before the Driver’s License Appeals and Assessment Division (DAAD) hearing officers will help you prepare for your hearing, properly fill out the petition and accompanying documents, as well as the 10 panel drug screen.

If you have lost your license due to multiple DUI convictions contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan Driver’s License Appeals attorney to discuss your eligibility.

Representing clients at Secretary of State driver’s license restoration hearings throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Livingston, Calhoun, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Barry, Kent, Genesee in the cities of Lansing, Howell, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Cadillac, Ann Arbor, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Flint, Hastings.

Driver’s License Restoration: Letters of Community Support, Part 2

Driver's License Restoration 2

Michigan Driver’s License Restoration and Appeals Lawyer

This is a continuation of my previous blog entry regarding the importance of the reference letters in your driver’s license restoration hearing.

What the SOS Requires the Testimonial Letters to Contain

The problem with most first drafts of the letters that my client submits is that they contain irrelevant, vague, or even harmful information. What the SOS hearing officers are concerned with is when and why the petitioner quit drinking and how you know this. They don’t care about how nice of a person the petitioner is or how charitable they are, what a hardship it has been on them and their family. The last one is the worst. So many letters talk about how terrible not having a license has been on the petitioner and his family. What the DAAD hears when they see this is that even though the petitioner drove drunk, multiple times, and placed innocent lives at risk, his only concern and remorse seems to be the inconvenience it has caused him. That type of letter will not help you get your license back.

The letters should mention petitioner’s sobriety date and how they know he is alcohol free now. If the person writing the reference letter only sees petitioner at the annual summer conference and officer holiday party, that won’t be enough to convince the Secretary of State. The letter needs to attest how often they are around the petitioner and abuse him in situations where he does not drink or where other people might be drinking but he does not. The testimonial letters need to prove that the petitioner has quite drinking, not attest to his character. The DAAD could care less if you are the greediest, most unlikeable person on the fact on the face of earth, as long as you don’t drink anymore and you have no other medical problems that would prevent you from being a safe driver.

You have to convince the DAAD of your abstinence and that you are likely to stay abstinence. While they only require abstinence for six months, I won’t touch a case unless the client has been sober for at least a year. When they say abstinent they mean totally abstinent. No drinking. Period. That means no evening cocktails or night caps, no glass of wine at cousin Bill’s wedding, no sip of champaign to ring in the new year, no non-alcoholic beer (even that has some alcohol in it). Sobriety in a controlled environment won’t count either. It’s wonderful you’ve been sober for the last 10 years—but if the reason why is because you’ve been in prison won’t count. Time on probation or parole is viewed the same way. Even staying in a halfway or transitional living house is viewed as “forced sobriety” because you have somebody watching over you waiting to hit you with a penalty if you mess up.

Michigan Driver’s License Reinstatement Lawyer

Driver’s license restoration and reinstatements are a very complex and intricate practice. In order to be successful you need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of what the DAAD is looking for and if you qualify. An experienced driver’s license appeals lawyer can help you with the letters of support and other aspects of your petition to help get you back on the road.

If you had two drunk driving convictions within seven years, you will have to wait at least a year before you can request a hearing. If you had three drunk driving convictions within 10 years, you will have to wait at least five years to request a hearing. You can send in your petition up to six weeks before your eligibility date. Make sure all your court costs, fines, and driver’s responsibility fees are paid, you have not pending criminal charges, and you are not currently on probation or parole.

To determine if you are eligible to have your Michigan driver’s license reinstated, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC to speak to our Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney at (517) 614-1983 today!

 

Representing clients in driver’s license appeals and restorations and ignition interlock violations throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Jackson, Washtenaw, Clinton, Gratiot, Barry, Shiawassee, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and in the cities of Lansing, Charlotte, Howell, Jackson, Ann Arbor, St. Johns, Ithaca, Hastings, Corunna, Durand, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids.

Driver’s License Restoration: Letters of Community Support, Part 1

Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Lawyer

One of the most important parts of the process of getting your driver’s license reinstated or restored, is the letters of community support. They are also referred to as reference letters or testimonial letters. It is very critical that they are done correctly and contain the proper information. Many people have lost their driver’s license restoration hearings on the deficiency of the content of the support letters alone. I spend a great deal of time working with clients on these letters and often having them revised several times. Most clients start to hate me at this point in the process, but their emotions turns to joy and thankfulness when they see the end result. Most of the letters they submit are well meaning, but just don’t talk about what the Secretary of State hearing officers are looking for. That is why you need an experienced Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney representing you.

Clear and Convincing Evidence of Sobriety

The main things you have to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence at your reinstatement hearing is that your alcohol problem is under control and it is likely to remain under control. “Clear and convincing” is a standard of proof somewhere in between a “preponderance of the evidence” and “beyond all reasonable doubt.” It’s not just simply a matter of having friends and family show up or write letters saying that you don’t drink anymore. The Driver’s Appeal and Assessment Division (DAAD) requires proof. Some of the ways you demonstrate that is through the 10-panel drug screen and the substance abuse assessment that you submit. Another way is through the reference letters and they are very critical.

How Many Reference Letters do I need for my DAAD Hearing and Who Should Write Them?

The DAAD recommends three to six letters, but I generally have clients submit five. They should be from a broad range and sampling among your family, friends, co-workers, recovery or support group members, clergy. One letter should be from your sponsor. Do not submit letters from just one group because it looks suspicious. The hearing officer will wonder why only your co-workers know about your sobriety and not your family. The letters need to be notarized and must contain a contact phone number for the person writing it. These requirements have changed over the years so it’s always important to keep up on the current format requirements. For example, in years past they weren’t required to be notarized; now they are. That is also why it is important to have an attorney represent you with significant experience in driver’s license restoration hearings.

Michigan Driver’s License Appeals and Restoration Attorney

Your eligibility to petition the DAAD for a restricted license depends on the nature of your convictions. If you have two drunk driving convictions of any kind in a seven-year period, you must wait one year. If you have three drunk driving convictions within a 10-year period, you must wait five years. Make sure you are not on probation or parole, have no pending criminal charges, and all your court costs, fines, and driver’s responsibility fees are paid.

If you think you are eligible to have your driver’s license restored, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan driver’s license restoration attorney today!

Next: Driver’s License Restoration: Letters of Community Support, Part 2

Representing clients in driver’s license appeals and restorations and ignition interlock violations throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Jackson, Washtenaw, Clinton, Gratiot, Barry, Shiawassee, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and in the cities of Lansing, Charlotte, Howell, Jackson, Ann Arbor, St. Johns, Ithaca, Hastings, Corunna, Durand, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids.

 

Ignition Interlock Violations

Ignition Interlock 3

Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Restoration and Appeals Lawyer

If you are fortunate enough to prevail at your hearing with the Driver’s Assessment and Appeals Division (DAAD) officer at the Secretary of State on your petition to have your driver’s license reinstated, you will be issued a restricted driver’s license or a driver’s license equipped with an ignition interlock device. After a year you can petition the DAAD to have your full driver’s license reinstated. You will again go through the process with the hearing, assessment, letters of community support, 10-panel drug screen, etc. The only difference is that you will have to submit a report of your ignition interlock device. If there are violations with your ignition interlock device, that can spell big trouble for your petition. It could be denied and you could even lose your driver’s license forever.

Upon receiving notice form the ignition interlock device company, the DAAD revokes your driver’s license. Actually, it is a “reinstatement of the original action” meaning your previous status of license revocation. You have 14 days from the effective date to request a hearing to challenge the violation.

The Four Most Common Violations

  1. Tamper/Circumvent—This is when a power disconnect or power failure occurs to the vehicle. It most often happens when mechanical work is done on the car or when a battery is switched out or disconnected, even momentarily. You should call the ignition interlock company before the work is done and ask what to do. Even still, a violation may occur anyway.
  2. Initial Starting Failure—This is just what it sounds like—a violation that occurs when you attempt or initially start the vehicle. These “false positives” can be caused by foods containing yeast or something like mouthwash. The Secretary of State presumes everyone has been given information by the company on how to do a proper retest after an initial positive test within a few minutes. Frequently, the driver is just given a booklet instead of a complete “walk through” when installed. Hardly anyone bothers to plan for the “false positives.”
  3. Skipped Rolling Retest—This is when the driver skips or misses performing a rolling retest. Periodically the device will require you blow or test after the car has been placed in motion. You may need to pull off on the side of the road. If you do not perform this rolling retest, it is a violation.
  4. Rolling Retest Failure—Just what it sounds like. If you are driving and the device requires a retest, a failure can be caused by eating while driving. Food products containing yeast is the biggest culprit.

If you have an ignition interlock device and are accused of a violation, you are facing serious consequences, including permanent license revocation. There is no magic phone number you can call to immediately straighten things out. Also, it isn’t simply a matter of showing up for a hearing to explain yourself and clear everything up. You will need real hard evidence—testimony and letters to recreate what happened, to convince the hearing officer.

Some hearing officers are more versed in the science of the ignition interlock devices than others. Other hearing officers rely more on circumstantial evidence. If you have been accused of an ignition interlock device, you need to be represented by a lawyer experienced in handling driver’s license restorations and ignition interlock violation hearings. The stakes are too high to try it alone. If you have a pending ignition interlock violation, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC to speak to a Michigan Driver’s License Reinstatement Attorney today!

Representing clients in driver’s license appeals and restoration hearings and ignition interlock violation hearings through Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Gratiot, Shiawassee, Barry, Livingston, Washtenaw, Kent in the cites of Lansing, St. Johns, Charlotte, Jackson, Howell, Ithaca, Hastings, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Corunna.

Preparing for Your Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Hearing

Driver's License Restoration

Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Attorney

Driver’s license restoration and clearance hearings are very complex. A ton of preparation goes into filling out the petition and getting all the necessary documentation such as driving records, substance abuse evaluation, 10-panel drug screen, reference and testimonial letters, and then finally, the hearing itself. Even the slightest problem or trivial inconsistency or discrepancy can cost you your license which means you have to wait another year before you can re-petition. It is important to get it done right the first time. In order to do that, you need to be represented by a lawyer with vast experience in driver’s license reinstatement hearings who is very familiar with the requirements and the ins and outs of the Driver’s Assessment and Appeals Division (DAAD) hearings.

What the Petitioner Must Prove

The petitioner’s burden of proof is governed by DAAD Rule 13 which requires the petitioner prove the following by “clear and convincing evidence.”

  1. The petitioner’s alcohol and substance abuse problems are under control and are likely to remain under control.
  2. The risk of petitioner repeating his past abusive behavior is a low or minimal risk.
  3. The risk of petitioner engaging in any form of drunk driving, impaired driving, or drugged driving is a low or minimal risk.
  4. The petitioner has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law.
  5. Anything else that is relevant to the above issues.

When am I Eligible to Get My Michigan Driver’s License Back

If convicted of two DUIs within seven-years you must wait at least one full year from the last DUI to apply. If convicted of three or more DUIs within 10-years you must wait at least five years from the last conviction. You can file your petition up to six weeks before your eligibility date.

Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Hearing Documents

  1. Substance Abuse Evaluation—This must be completed on the form contained within the petition along with your request for a hearing. It must be completed by a licensed substance abuse counselor. The form requires precise and very specific information and the slightest problem can cause your entire petition to collapse. This is without a doubt the single most important document affecting the outcome of your hearing.
  2. Drug Screen—There is also a section in the petition for a drug screen, particularly a 10-panel drug screen. If it is not the right kind, the DAAD will not accept it and your petition will be denied. It is important that you have an accredited place do your drug screen and substance abuse evaluation to assure it is done correctly and that it provides the information and terminology the DAAD is looking for. You should look for places that have experience with the restoration hearing petitions. Your driver’s license restoration attorney should be able to recommend some companies and counselors if you are not sure.
  3. Letters of Community Support—Also known as reference or testimonial letters. They should include a broad sampling of family, friends, recovery members, and co-workers who can attest to your sobriety. Three to six letters are required. I usually have clients complete five. They must be notarized and provide a contact number.
  4. Petition—The actual petition must be completed with accurate information. It includes a variety of personal information along with specifics of your convictions, driving history, substance abuse history, and sobriety.

The Hearing

Finally the day arrives for your hearing infront of the DAAD hearing officer at the local Secretary of State branch office. The hearing officer will cover a variety of questions and topics about the information contained in your petition, the support letters, your sobriety, your drinking history, your recovery, and other areas. There are also some crucial areas that you must successfully address. If not, you will fail.

If you cannot honestly tell the officer that you have not driven since you lost your license, you will lose your hearing. If you cannot demonstrate complete abstinence for at least one year, you will fail. That means no drinking. Period. If you have any pending criminal charges or are currently on probation or parole, you will be denied. If you have any medical problems that would prevent you from driving safely (narcolepsy, blackouts, seizures) you will not get your license. Few people realize how fatal the last one can be. You can present other witnesses if you wish, but usually it is not needed and can backfire. A good witness will usually not add anything a well written reference letter can’t cover.

If you lose your restoration hearing, you have to wait another year before re-applying. You can appeal the DAAD’s denial to the circuit court alleging “abuse of discretion,” but this is a tough standard to prevail on and they are rarely successful. It only gets tougher the next time around because not only do you have to demonstrate the proofs required in Rule 13, but you have to prove that the reason you were denied the last time no longer exists or is under control. Statistically speaking, your best chance is your first petition, but only if it is done right. It is important you be represented by an attorney with substantial experience in successfully representing clients at such hearings and preparing the necessary documentation.

Michigan Driver’s License Restoration and Reinstatement Lawyer

We never charge for the first consultation. We will discuss your eligibility and how we can help you get back on the road so you don’t have to depend on other people for rides. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan driver’s license restoration and reinstatement lawyer today!

Representing clients in driver’s license appeals and restorations and ignition interlock violations throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Jackson, Washtenaw, Clinton, Gratiot, Barry, Shiawassee, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and in the cities of Lansing, Charlotte, Howell, Jackson, Ann Arbor, St. Johns, Ithaca, Hastings, Corunna, Durand, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids.

 

Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition Interlock 2

Lansing Michigan Driver’s License Restoration Attorney

In Michigan, if you have been convicted of certain drunk driving offenses you may be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your car. The judge has discretion to order an ignition interlock with a first offense OWI, although few rarely exercise that discretion. Some judges will require it with a second or third offense OWI. It is mandatory if convicted of a High BAC or Superdrunk if you want to get a restricted license. If you apply to have your driver’s license reinstated with the Driver’s Appeals and Assessment Division (DAAD) through the Secretary of State, they will require you to have an ignition interlock device if your petition is successful. You will have to drive with the ignition interlock for a year before applying for full reinstatement.

The prices for the BAIID vary depending on the company you choose. Prices for the initial installation run anywhere from $100-200 and the monthly rental fees vary from $50-100.

The BAIID and the Blow-Hum Technique

The ignition interlock device is a machine used to determine your breath alcohol content (BAC) before your car will start. Typically it is installed into the dashboard. It is similar to a portable Breathalyzer or PBT. If your BAC is over a pre-set amount, the car will not start. The BAIID are also designed to prevent tampering. The driver will have to blow into the device using the blow-hum technique. It’s just like it sounds—you blow and hum at the same time to get the device to work. This method is to prevent using an air mechanism to fool the machine. Most BAIID take about one-and-a-half milliliters of breath to start the device which usually takes around two to three seconds. To get the blow-hum technique down try practicing by blowing the word “who” with a humming sound.

Rolling Test

Once you start your car and it is in motion, you will periodically have to blow into the device at some point in order to keep the car going. This is to ensure that you haven’t consumed alcohol since your initial test and to make sure you just didn’t simply have a friend blow into the device for the initial start. If you fail or miss the rolling stop, the horn will start honking and the lights will start flashing until you turn the car off. It can be quite dangerous to perform the rolling test while the car is in motion. The safest way is to pull off to the side of the road and do the rolling test.

Every breath test is recorded. You are required to take the device in for routine maintenance. Failing or missing a breath test means the company will report it to your probation officer or the Secretary of State. If that happens, you face an ignition interlock violation and the SOS can reinstate your previous license revocation. You have to act quickly if that occurs because you only have 14 days to contest the violation and request a hearing.

If you are applying for a full license reinstatement you have to go through the same process as your initial driver’s license restoration petition but you have to add your ignition interlock report.

If you are facing an ignition interlock violation or are applying to have your driver’s license restored or reinstated, we can help get you back on the road. Contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan driver’s license appeals and restoration attorney.

Representing clients in driver’s license appeals and restorations and ignition interlock violations throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Jackson, Washtenaw, Clinton, Gratiot, Barry, Shiawassee, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and in the cities of Lansing, Charlotte, Howell, Jackson, Ann Arbor, St. Johns, Ithaca, Hastings, Corunna, Durand, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids.