Troy MI License Restoration Blog

Monday, March 23, 2015


Going into one of my hearings last week reminded me of how nervous petitioners get. I got to the hearing location early, it was a nice spring day and I wanted to take a drive through MSU campus.

Even after my drive, I arrived about a half hour before the hearing time and to my surprise my client was already there. As I approached I shook his hand and started going over how the hearing was going to be conducted. I started with who our officer was and what he was all about, and as we were standing there, you could see into the locked off area where the hearings are held; our Hearing Officer Johnson appeared from his hearing room so I pointed him out.

When the petitioner is in my office conducting his substance abuse evaluation with my in house evaluator we eventually get around to e-filing the petition. At that point we are made aware of which Hearing Officer we are going to get. Each one has his/her own distinct style of how they conduct their hearings.

So there we were, standing outside the hearing room area, the walls are all glass so we can see in. As Hearing Officer Johnson walked out of his hearing room and I pointed him out and began, as I said earlier giving my client the skinny about him, I noticed that my client was so nervous that he was nearly shaking; his voice was for sure. I asked, “What was the matter?” To which he responded – just this hearing.

At that point I was reminded that no matter how much preparation we did, for many, there is still a considerable amount of anxiety regarding the actual hearing. Even though I pretty much guarantee we are going to walk out of there with driving privileges, my petitioner is nonetheless aware that he is being judged by the person who makes the decision.

At that very moment, just before we walk into that hearing, regardless of the fact that my petitioner knows all the questions that will be asked of him, how to answer them, how to answer my follow up questions and what not to say; I realize there will still be some stress, I get it….it’s natural. But, at the very least, when the Hearing Officer starts the proceeding with reading all the evidence we have submitted into the record there is a few minute period that the petitioner can relax by  not being put onto the hot seat immediately.

Additionally, when the questioning does start and the petitioner hears the familiar ring of the questions we have already gone over and the answers begin to flow easily, the stress, in large part, melts away. The petitioner starts in with his  question appropriate “sobriety story” that we develop and hone during my office preparation phase. Face it, becoming sober and alcohol free is a challenge and admirable accomplishment and when someone is successful they like to share it, and, I for one, love to hear it. I believe the Hearing Officers do too.

I can only imagine going into one of these hearings without being prepped, as many do when they hire an attorney that does not routinely practice in this area. Pregnant pauses, uncertainty as to how to answer questions and mostly not knowing what questions are going to be asked lends itself to not only to stress and anxiety, but may be construed by the Hearing Officer as being deceptive or making stuff up.

After waiting so long to become eligible to petition for driving privileges, go with someone who is going to give you the best odds of success. Call the Law Offices of Martin Lievois in Troy at 248-419-1566 or in Flint at 810-250-4550.

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