As i have alluded to in an earlier article, RULE 13 classifications are the Secretary of State's way to make a petitioner clear a higher hurdle.
Apparently the Secretary of State felt it necessary to classify people differently with regards to license restoration appeals. So what we have is one category that is "normal risk" and then there are those who fall into RULE 13, and, as you have probably guessed, this category is "high risk"!! And what this means is simple - you will need to jump through more hoops.
Normally, at least 6 months of consecutive sobriety has to be established and proven by clear and convincing evidence. RULE 13 requires the petitioner to prove at least 12 months of consecutive sobriety. Regardless of RULE 13, i always require my clients to prove at least 12 months of sobriety. In my experience, anything less and the odds of winning go way down.
What triggers a RULE 13 classification? Any number of things!! For instance, if the petitioner has blown at least two times the legal limit (when giving a breath alcohol sample or submitting to a blood draw). If the petitioner has 3 or more drinking and driving or substance related convictions. If the petitioner has suffered at least 1 relapse after having tried to quit. These bits of evidence will firmly establish a RULE 13 classification. And whats worse is that this is not an exhaustive list. So obviously it does not take much to be burdened with this higher standard of proof.
So how does one address a Rule 13 classification? Again, preparation is the key! Although the hearing officer is obligated to explain in his order as to why a file is considered to be a Rule 13 case, his determination is after the hearing. And if you had not figured it out before the hearing then you are going to have some proof problems. This is why pre-hearing preparation is so vital. Sitting down with the client to go over all of his history is unavoidable. It must be done. The clients Master Driving Record must be obtained, reviewed with the client, and established to be a complete and accurate list of convictions and infractions. Then based on what is revealed through this meeting will dictate how and what we gather as evidence.
I recall a case that illustrates these points. After having reviewed a Master Driving Record with a client, we completed the substance abuse evaluation and executed the form required and then had it filed on behalf of the client (after, of course, the client reviewed it and signed it representing that it was a complete recitation of the clients driving history). Half way through the hearing my client had an epiphany and blurted out "Ya know, now that i think about i had another drinking and driving conviction about 30 years ago that wasn't on my driving record.) WE LOST RIGHT THERE!!
A word of advice.... if you ever have an "epiphany" or any other "rouge thought" in the middle of a hearing, politely request a minute to speak with me, whisper it in my ear and then i can decide what to do about it. In that case i would have told him to clam up about it because it would have created a needless problem. And it did. The hearing officers opinion (order) indicated that without the "ancient" (my word - for emphasis) conviction, the evaluator could not possibly have rendered an accurate diagnosis and prognosis. So, because the substance abuse evaluation was "incomplete", he could not grant any kind of relief! Ridiculous! But just remember, in the hearing room, the hearing officer is the boss of us.
Don't have any unexpected glitches derail your license restitution hearing, call the law offices of Martin Lievois in Flint at 810-232-3223 or in Clinton township at 586-840-8084.