As stated in an earlier article, the testimonial letters are, in my estimation, the best evidence a petitioner can provide in preparation for a DAAD hearing.
Now a petitioner may ask, "But what about a live witness that would offer in-person testimony?" Well, on some occasions i will offer this type of evidence but more then not i prefer just my petitioner and their testimonial letters. The reason for this is simple but important - people are human, they sometimes make mistakes! Hearing officers will capitalize on those mistakes. Its only normal to be nervous, after all, how many times in a persons lifetime do they have to give sworn testimony in front of a person who is scrutinizing every word you speak. Then, on top of that, when you consider that the testimony may be the difference whether or not the petitioner receives driving privileges adds considerable stress to the ordeal. This is the perfect condition for mistakes. I'm not saying everybody that testifies in person is going to get up there and blow it but why take the chance if it is not necessary.
The possibility of mistakes or inconsistencies is only compounded when the petitioner has made more than one record. In other words, when the petitioner has petitioned the DAAD and lost. The hearing officer will compare each and every record made by the petitioner. So not only does the petitioner need to be aware of everything contained in each report but if a person is going to offer testimony on the petitioner's behalf then he too needs to be aware of prior records in order to offer consistent testimony. Even if the testimony offered by the friend is not inconsistent, it possibly can show, on the other hand, that the person testifying does not know the petitioner or know the petitioner's habits as well as was earlier indicated. While this may not totally discount the testimony of the friend it may dilute it.
Letters don't have this problem. They cannot be cross-examined. Moreover, letters can be perfected. That is not to say they can be manufactured. But certainly improved to clearly articulate the authors understanding of the petitioners sobriety. Sound easy? It's not - but doable with some effort. For some reason many petitioners have problems with this task, thus requiring multiple drafts of the letters. BUT THAT'S OK!! Getting them right is the important thing. And really and truly it may be that the petitioner knows exactly what information the letters must contain but has difficulty conveying the task to the writers of the letters. Again understandable. People that write these letters are naturally going to want to cast their friend in as good a light as possible and therefore are going to want to launch right into "what a good guy the petitioner is", and, while their is a place for these accolades its not at the beginning of the letter. In order to make the task as easy and quick as possible for the writers (after all, these are people the petitioner is imposing upon to help him get his license back), I give each one a copy of an outline of the points which need to be discussed. One sentence for each point is sufficient. Of course elaborating on each point is perfectly fine as long as none of the points are ignored.