Last month, I wrote a post about why you need to retain an attorney before having a formal hearing for license reinstatement — yes, even for your first hearing, and yes, even if “everyone tells you that everyone is automatically denied at their first hearing.”
I want to amend that sentence to add one more thing — you need to hire an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable about the Secretary of State — and is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to help you get the result that you want.
I say this because today someone came into my office for a consultation. I won’t and can’t go into details. But I can say this: this person is revoked. He hired an attorney before his first hearing. The potential client said that he first met his attorney at the Secretary of State’s waiting room before his hearing. I am not 100% sure what happened, but I do know this: this person was not properly prepared before his hearing. He testified to things that did not square with the evidence known to the Secretary of State, he said things that contradicted the reports of his treatment provider and evaluator and he said things that made him appear unworthy of being trusted with a driver’s license.
As I read the Secretary of State denial letter, I was dumbstruck. I am sure that some of the mistakes came from the client, who admitted to me that he was very nervous at the hearing, and he probably said some of those things because he thought it was what the Secretary of State wanted to hear. But I am also sure that a lot of the mistakes came because this attorney did not properly review the evaluation or spend time preparing his client.
So just a word of caution to everyone: don’t hire an attorney for a Secretary of State hearing unless he or she is willing to meet with you, review your documentation, and spend time preparing you for the hearing. That is the minimum that you should expect. Anything less should be a deal-breaker.