I'm Matthew Abdo, and I recently started practicing at the ABDO LAW FIRM in Macomb County. I wanted to use this post as a forum to reflect on my experience with the Michigan Driver Appeal and Assessment Division (DAAD) representing persons at driver license restoration hearings. First of all, the place of your hearing will depend on where you reside. If you live in Oakland County, your hearing will be held in Livonia. If you live in Macomb County, your hearing will be in either Livonia or Port Huron.
Proceedings before the DAAD are very unique. First, most clients are surprised to hear that they are not adversarial, per se. Additionally, most are not aware that the hearing officer is going to ask probing and invasive questions about their substance abuse history. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, many people do not realize there is a RIGHT way to approach these hearings.
Oftentimes we get clients who have already attempted a hearing without the help of counsel. Even though they have winning cases, they lose simply because they did not know how to highlight the aspects of their lives that the DAAD is focusing on. People fail to grasp that it is not so much their past that is being scrutinized, but rather their present and future behavior. The State owes a huge responsibility to the drivers of Michigan, and the burden is on the petitioner to show they are again worthy of the privilege of driving. I can say this much, the saying "it's harder to get your license the second time than it was to get the first time" is 100% true.
That being said, our office has developed a paradigm for approaching all cases. From our first consultation we explain to clients the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and give an honest assessment of if the matter is worth pursuing. We outline what we need from our clients, including a substance screening and character letters, and lay out how the proceeding is going to follow. Our track record with these types of cases is very good, we generally win. Almost once a week we are in Livonia for a DAAD matter. Our office has appeared before each officer there and knows what to expect when we have them for an appeal.
In light of all that, I can say that it is worth it to retain legal help before appearing your FIRST TIME. Without guidance, petitioners run the risk of telling inconsistent stories, tarnishing their credibility, and creating a transcript that will continue to haunt them in all future hearings. The State is looking very specifically to see that petitioners have taken control of all of their issues which would make them a threat to the drivers of Michigan. Our proprietary literature and argumentative style is designed to win these cases and get clients back on the road. I cannot stress the importance of retaining counsel THE FIRST TIME you are considering appearing before the DAAD. When you lose a case, you are locked out from having another DAAD hearing for a year. Though these cases can be APPEALED TO THE CIRCUIT COURT, our office aims to win the first time around. Losing DAAD cases means another year of inconveniencing friends and losing opportunities you could otherwise have. Additionally, this puts petitioners in the awful position where they must choose whether or not to drive with a suspended license, an offense which carries additional revocation.
We take the time to learn each client's unique case history and work on tailoring each case to that individual's circumstances. We believe in each client's cause and fight aggressively to get petitioners back on the road. Our office has a strong record of winning cases like this. We have a proven formula that gets results.