Driver’s License Reinstatements

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Reinstating your driving privileges in Illinois: What You Need To Know

 

By Jeffrey R. Hall of Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC

In Illinois, whenever you receive a conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, your Illinois driving privileges will be revoked. It is revoked indefinitely unless you formally request reinstatement from the Formal Administrative Hearing office at the Secretary of State. Unfortunately, qualifying to apply for reinstatement depends on how many DUI convictions are on your driving record (or reported to the Illinois Secretary of State).

The first DUI conviction reported on your record will result in the loss of your driving privileges for a minimum of 1 (one) year. If you are convicted of a second DUI offense within 20 years, you will lose your driving privileges for a minimum of 5 (five) years. A third DUI conviction will result in the loss of your driving privileges for a minimum of 10 (ten) years. A fourth or subsequent conviction will result in the loss of your driving privileges for life.
Most people that apply for reinstatement and proceed to formal hearing without the benefit of any attorney to assist them are rejected.

More importantly, most people will misrepresent certain facts that end up hurting them more than helping. It is imperative that you find an attorney with the experience, success, and motivation to advise you through this process to maximize your chances for driving relief. At Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC, our attorneys concentrate in this area of law and will be able to assist you through the painstaking process while minimizing your exposure for denial.

IMG_0039_2What is the process to reinstate my driver’s license after I was revoked for DUI?

The typical process to reinstate commences by reviewing your driving record to determine whether or not you are eligible for reinstatement. You can determine this by having an informal hearing at the DMV before the local informal hearing officer (an informal hearing is NOT required to obtain reinstatement—only recommended). The informal hearing officer will review your driving record and provide you with a checklist of documentation you will need to obtain.

After your informal hearing, it is recommended that you consult an attorney to review your record and determine the proper way to proceed. At Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC we will prepare you from that point and determine:

  1. What paperwork you will be required to present at the hearing;
  2. Whether the paperwork meets the requirements of the hearing officer;
  3. What testimony is to be presented at the hearing;
  4. How that testimony will be presented; and
  5. What to expect from the hearing officer and assistant attorney general when questioning you during the hearing.

As a rule in Illinois, you must be able to present evidence of 1 (one) year of sobriety prior to your hearing. If you are not prepared to present this evidence to the hearing officer, we can request the hearing officer deviate from that rule from 1 year to 6 months instead. However, the hearing officers RARELY deviate from that requirement. Therefore, it is advised that the petitioner refrain from drinking alcohol/using drugs for at least 1 year prior to the hearing.

What paperwork will I need to present at the formal hearing?

The general documentation requirements by the Secretary of State vary depending on the DUI risk classification. After you are arrested and prior to sentencing, you will be required to obtain an alcohol evaluation. This evaluation is given to you by a certified alcohol evaluator licensed by the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. This evaluator will determine what risk you are. The risks are: Minimal, Moderate, Significant, and High Risk (dependant or non-dependent). Each risk provides certain criteria you must meet when fulfilling the requirements of your court supervision, conditional discharge, and/or probation. Prior to your hearing, you must obtain an updated alcohol evaluation documenting all DUI offenses and alcohol history.

Below are the different requirements set forth by the Secretary of State for each risk:

Minimal Risk

• If your Uniform Report evaluation or the last updated evaluation is more than six months old at the time of your hearing, you also must submit a current updated evaluation. An updated evaluation must be completed by the agency that completed your Uniform Report evaluation.
• Must document successful completion of a DUI Risk Education Course.

Moderate Risk

• If your Uniform Report evaluation or the last updated evaluation is more than six months old at the time of your hearing, you also must submit a current updated evaluation.
• An updated evaluation must be completed by the agency that completed your Uniform Report evaluation or by the agency that completed your early intervention program.
• Must document successful completion of a DUI Risk Education Course.
• Must document successful completion of an Early Intervention Program on the providing agency’s letterhead indicating the number of hours completed, dates of involvement, a summary of what was explored/addressed and the outcome of your involvement.
• Must document successful completion of any substance abuse treatment recommended by a licensed evaluator or treatment provider.

Significant Risk

• If your Uniform Report evaluation or the last updated evaluation is more than six months old at the time of your hearing, you must submit a current updated evaluation.
• An updated evaluation must be completed by the agency that completed Your Uniform Report evaluation or by the agency that completed your treatment.
• Must document successful completion of a DUI Risk Education Course.
• Must document successful completion of any substance abuse treatment recommended by a licensed evaluator or treatment provider, including:
• Copy of the Individualized Treatment Plan.
• Copy of Discharge Summary.
• Copy of Continuing Care Plan.
• Original Continuing Care Status Report.
• If no treatment provided, must submit a treatment waiver.

High Risk — Dependent

• If your Uniform Report evaluation or the last updated evaluation is more than six months old at the time of your hearing, you also must submit a current updated evaluation.
• An updated evaluation must be completed by the agency that completed your Uniform Report evaluation or by the agency that completed your treatment.
• Must document on an original Secretary of State treatment verification form, successful completion of any substance abuse treatment recommended by a licensed evaluator or treatment provider, including:
o Copy of Individualized Treatment Plan.
o Copy of Discharge Summary.
o Copy of Continuing Care Plan.
o Original Continuing Care Status Report.
• If no treatment provided, must submit a treatment waiver.
• Must document the establishment of a support/recovery program (Alcoholics Anonymous, church, etc.) and abstinence, by submitting: (In all of the following situations witness testimony is acceptable instead of letters.)
• At least three original letters, signed and dated within 45 days prior to your hearing, from fellow members/participants, verifying your active involvement in your support program.
• If you have a support/recovery program sponsor, an original letter from your sponsor documenting your active involvement in your support program, signed and dated within 45 days prior to your hearing.
• At least three original letters, signed and dated within 45 days prior to your hearing, from individuals (friends, family, etc.) who can verify your abstinence from alcohol/drugs for at least 12 months if seeking reinstatement, but no less than six months for a Restricted Driving Permit.

High Risk — Non-Dependent
• If your Uniform Report evaluation or the last updated evaluation is more than six months old at the time of your hearing, you also must submit a current updated evaluation. An updated evaluation must be completed by the agency that completed your Uniform Report evaluation or by the agency that completed your treatment.
• Must document on an original Secretary of State treatment verification form, successful completion of any substance abuse treatment recommended by a licensed evaluator or treatment provider, including:
o Copy of Individualized Treatment Plan.
o Copy of Discharge Summary.
o Copy of Continuing Care Plan.
o Original Continuing Care Status Report.

• If no treatment provided, must submit a treatment waiver.

• Must submit at least three original letters, signed and dated within 45 days prior to the hearing, from individuals (friends, family,etc.) who can verify either your alcohol/drug use pattern or abstinence for at least the last 12 months if seeking reinstatement, but no less than six months for a Restricted Driving Permit. (Witness testimony is acceptable instead of letters.)

• Must submit an additional report from the treatment provider explaining why dependency was ruled out and the cause of your behavior that resulted in three or more DUI dispositions. This requirement cannot be waived.

What is DUI risk classification and why is it important?

Prior to your sentencing for DUI, the court will require you to obtain the alcohol evaluation (as discussed above. In that evaluation, the evaluator will assess your classification under the following categories:
• Minimal Risk
• Moderate Risk
• Significant Risk
• High Risk (Dependant or Non-Dependant)

Since you are applying for reinstatement, you are likely convicted of DUI. Therefore, your risk will typically be considered in the Significant or High Risk. Prior to applying for reinstatement, you must have all your alcohol/drug treatment completed and sufficiently documented as successfully completed. Your classification is important because it lays the groundwork for how much alcohol/drug treatment you will have to complete. If you are high risk dependant, this usually requires substantial treatment and extensive documentation that you will be required to present to the hearing officer. Your attorney will review this documentation and may recommend additional treatment or for you to at least go back to your evaluator for an updated evaluation.

How long will it take to be reinstated?

Depends. There are many factors that determine how quickly you will be reinstated. As common sense dictates, if you take your treatment seriously, completing everything required, if you have an adequate understanding of your drinking problem, if you can successfully prove to the hearing officer that you are able to control that problem , AND you can demonstrate you are no longer a danger to Illinois drivers, then the process to obtain some driving relief is 3-6 months from the date you applied for reinstatement. To achieve full reinstatement of your privileges, the process will likely take up to 2 (two) years from the date you apply for reinstatement. Note: If you have more than one hearing, it will obviously take longer to obtain reinstatement.

What will happen at the formal hearing?

The formal hearings take place at one of four different locations throughout the State of Illinois. These locations are:
• Chicago
• Joliet
• Springfield
• Mount Vernon

You will meet at the location at your scheduled time and your attorney will provide the assistant Attorney General with the required paperwork. You will then wait to be called for the hearing. Once called, you and your attorney will be taken into a room where the hearing officer and assistant Attorney General are waiting. While the order of testimony may differ, the common order is:
• The hearing officer will commence the hearing and record.
• The assistant Attorney General will submit your driving record into evidence along with the documentation you presented.
• After submission, your attorney will question you.
• The assistant Attorney General will then question you.
• The hearing officer will typically allow for any other comments prior to closing the record.
• The hearing will end and the hearing officer will typically notify you of their decision within 90 days.

While this process may differ depending on the location, the structure is generally the same.

A typical hearing will last between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the amount of question.

Will I need to obtain Financial Responsibility (SR-22) Insurance?

Presently, a DUI conviction subjects you to filing Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR22) for three years. Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22), is commonly referred to as “high-risk” insurance. This requires your insurance company to file appropriate documentation with the Secretary of State. Your insurance company is usually the only means allowed to submit this documentation. They submit it in one of two ways: 1) Electronically; and 2) By mailing. This method depends on the insurance company. Consult an attorney or your insurance agent to determine how this documenation can be submitted.

If the hearing officer grants me driving relief, will I have full driving privileges restored automatically?
The common answer is no. If the hearing officer grants your petition for reinstatement, they require a minimum of 9 (nine) months driving on a probationary permit. This permit will require you to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) and only allow you to drive for work, alcohol/drug treatment, or for educational (school) purposes. Note: This permit will not allow for you to drive for family purposes, such as picking your child up from school or dropping them off.
The Secretary of State’s office monitors and reads the BAIID throughout the duration of the permit.The BAIID will alert the Secretary of State’s office if the driver attempts any incidents of driving under the influence or tampers with the device.

I pled guilty to my second DUI. Do I lose my license for 5 years?

It depends on whether the DUI was your first or second conviction. Typically, you receive court supervision on your first DUI. Since court supervision does not assign points against your driver’s license and it’s not considered a conviction, if you are arrested for DUI a second time and receive a conviction, it will be considered your first conviction and you will lose your driving privileges for a minimum of one year.
However, if you did not receive court supervision on your first DUI and you are subsequently charged and convicted of your second DUI (it’s it is your second within the last 20 years), then the subsequent DUI is considered your second conviction and you will be revoked for a minimum of five years.

Revocation for Non-DUI Related Convictions

While DUI is the most common revocation causing offense, your driving privileges could still be revoked if you receive a conviction for certain crimes. To regain your driving privileges, you will have to apply for reinstatement and have a formal hearing. However, the law allows for reinstatement after an informal hearing under certain circumstances. It is important you consult an attorney to see if you need a formal or informal hearing to reinstate your driving privileges.

Offenses for which your driver’s license may be revoked for a minimum of 1 (one) year (unless otherwise noted) include, but are not limited to:

• Aggravated DUI — Causing personal injury or death as a result of a DUI; having a prior conviction of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI involving a death and committing a DUI; receiving a third or subsequent DUI conviction; committing a DUI without a valid license, permit or vehicle insurance; or committing a DUI violation while transporting children in a school bus.
• Aggravated Fleeing the Police — Driving away from the police when directed to stop.
• Aggravated Reckless Driving — Driving resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another person.
• Auto Theft — Stealing a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts.
• Drag Racing or Street Racing — Illegally racing with another vehicle.
• Fatality Crash — A crash that results in the death of another person.
• Felony Offense — A vehicle was used while committing a serious crime.
• Fraudulent ID — Making or possessing the equipment to make, sell, use, attempt to use or assist another in using an unauthorized, non-governmental issued ID or driver’s license.
• Gang-related Activity — A gang-related offense involving the use of a vehicle or an Illinois driver’s license.
• Leaving the Scene— Leaving the scene of a crash that killed or injured someone.
• Perjury — Giving false information to the Secretary of State.
• Reckless Conduct — Reckless behavior involving a vehicle and resulting in injury or danger to another person.
• Reckless Driving — Conviction of three reckless driving offenses in 12 months or driving that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another person.
• Reckless Homicide— Driving recklessly, resulting in the death of another person.

The Secretary of State’s office has the authority to revoke the driver’s license of a repeat traffic offender. During the course of any revocation, your vehicle registration may be suspended. Notice is given accordingly.

If you have further questions, please visit our website at www.centralillinoislawyers.com and complete our online submission form. Or, you can call our office at 309-699-4691 or attorney Jeffrey R. Hall at jhall@hallrustomfritz.com.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:
The information above is not to be used as legal advice and it does not create an attorney/client relationship between you (the reader) and Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC.  If you already are a client of Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC please do NOT submit any confidential information through this forum.

The attorneys at Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC represent clients throughout the entire state of Illinois, including, but not limited to, the cities of Peoria, Morton, Washington, Pekin, Eureka, East Peoria, Dunlap, Metamora, Bartonville, Bloomington, Normal and any legal matter located in Peoria County, Tazewell County, Woodford County, Marshall County, Stark County, Henry County, Knox County and McLean County.