Is AA Attendance a Requirement for Driver’s License Restoration in Michigan?

The Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”) Program has been a staple of the recovery community for over 85 years. Its 12-step program, which focuses on the disease concept of alcoholism (and in particular, an addict’s powerlessness over alcohol), has helped millions of people throughout the world achieve and maintain sobriety. Because of that, it is probably the most well-known alcohol treatment program in the United States. But is it a requirement for a successful license restoration process in Michigan? 

The short answer is “no,” but it’s complicated.  

When a person loses his or her license due to repeat drunk driving offenses, he or she is legally presumed to be an “habitual offender” with a substance abuse problem. So, when he or she seeks to restore his or her driving privileges, they must appear before a Secretary of State Administrative Law Judge. However, to even get a hearing, he or she must demonstrate long-term abstinence from alcohol and controlled substances, and must prove that he or she is at a low risk for relapse. These are but some of the minimum requirements for driver's license restoration under Michigan Administrative Rule 13. 

What’s not a minimum requirement?  AA attendance.

For the last 20 years, Attorney Daniel T. Geherin, owner of MiLicenseLawyer.com, has dedicated his career to helping put drivers back on the road after a license revocation.  Dan is recognized as a license appeals specialist in Ann Arbor and throughout Michigan.  His firm has nearly a 98% success rate in winning license appeals over the past two decades.  In the last 10 years alone, he has helped put over 300 hundred clients back on the road lawfully. He has taught other attorneys about driver’s license appeals in numerous seminars, and has written a book, Michigan Drunk Driving and Driver’s License Restoration Handbook, on how to protect and restore a license following a drunk driving arrest in Michigan.    

The most frequent questions Dan and his team gets about the driver’s license restoration process surrounds AA:

“Do I have to be attending AA to have a chance to get back a license?”

“Do I have to have AA attendance sign-In sheets?”

“Are there other treatment alternatives to AA?”

“Should I start attending AA right now before applying for a license restoration hearing?”

Proving that a person is low risk for a relapse is often a challenging process, and one without much real specific guidance. It often comes down to the opinion of a therapist, a person’s testimony, and whether he or she is engaged in on-going or past alcohol education treatment, counseling and/or education. Certainly, those who are actively involved in AA can testify about their reliance upon the 12-steps of the program, and should submit documentation about their attendance.  

For many people, however, AA is not a great fit—perhaps because of the spiritual nature of the program, or because of the intimate nature of the groups, or for any number of reasons—so they look elsewhere. It can be counterproductive to begin AA attendance just before a hearing, especially if a therapist hasn’t recommended such enrollment. 

There are many other equally effective alcohol treatment programs, including: Limited Outpatient Treatment; Intensive Outpatient Counseling; Rational Recovery; SMART Recovery; Religious Programming; and Relapse Prevention Programs. And there are many people who simply don’t require any treatment, education or counseling, and instead have relied on more traditional ways of achieving sobriety.  These people can (and often do) still win license restoration in Michigan.  

There’s no “magical formula” for how driver’s license appeals are won in Michigan. Success in these hearings requires hard work, a firm dedication to sobriety, and attention to detail. A client’s chances of success increase dramatically by using an actual license appeals specialist to guide them. Asking the questions above will help clients find the best option for help---at a time when they need it most. After all, The importance of having a license to live, to work, to provide is immeasurable. So, having the best license appeals attorney to assist is also immeasurable in its importance.

For a dedicated, experienced and successful license appeals attorney in Michigan, please contact Dan Geherin and his team at GLG Michigan.  We’re available 24/7, and will help put you at ease, form a plan to handle the appeal, and fight aggressively to restore your license.  Visit us or call 24/7 (734) 263-2780. 

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