Substance Abuse Evaluation

In Illinois, the leading driver’s license hearing attorneys at Harvatin Law Offices are recognized leaders in driver’s license reinstatement procedures. We concentrate our law practice on ushering drivers through the process of restoring their driving privileges. With extensive experience in hearings and pleadings before the Secretary of State, our Springfield office provides the finest legal representation to in-state and out-of-state drivers throughout Illinois.

Revocation or Suspension of Driving Privileges

Under Illinois law, motorists generally lose their driving privileges following an arrest or conviction for DUI. Depending on the severity of the accident and past driving records, drunk drivers may be subject to a temporary, indefinite, or permanent deprivation of their license. Illinois traffic law applies to both local and out-of-state residents and requires that they seek driving relief through the Secretary of State Department of Administrative Hearings. During these proceedings, the applicant bears the burden of proving eligibility for relief. Such relief comes in the form of reinstatement, which fully restores driving privileges or a restricted driving permit (RDP) that allows use the vehicle for limited purposes and may require proof of “undue hardship.”

Driver’s License Reinstatement Procedures

If past driving records reveal a substance-related offense, applicants must complete certain substance abuse requirements to restore their license. Fulfillment of these duties is the single most important step on the road to relief. The extent of these duties depends on the alcohol/drug evaluation performed by a licensed alcohol and substance abuse provider. This evaluation must be completed within six months prior to the hearing on the merits of the application. During the hearing, the hearing officer and Secretary of State’s lawyer will ask extensive questions about the evaluation. A good evaluation can dramatically improve your chances of obtaining relief.

Substance Abuse Evaluation Determines Driver Classification Level

The evaluation classifies drivers into three basic levels based on factors like prior DUI arrests, symptoms of dependency, and level of risk. The requirements for each class vary and typically increase with each level. Level IIIs, for example, will have to fulfill more requirements than Level Is. The basic criteria and requirements that define each category are outlined below:

  • Level I: Minimal risk

    • Only one DUI arrest
    • 10-hour Driver Risk Education (DRE) course
  • Level II: Moderate Risk
    • Refused breath test or BAC between .15 and .19
    • 10-hour DRE course
    • 12-hour minimum of early intervention or counseling
  • Level II: Significant risk
    • Any of the following: BAC of .20 or higher; 2nd DUI arrest or conviction; past DUI arrest that was later reduced to reckless driving; or acquittal/dismissal of past DUI, but license was suspended for failing/refusing chemical test
    • 10-hour DRE course
    • 20 hours alcohol/drug treatment and complete aftercare
  • Level III: High Risk “Alcohol Dependent”
    • 3 or more symptoms of dependency, regardless of number of DUI arrests
    • 75 hours of inpatient alcohol/drug treatment or intensive outpatient counseling
    • Prove no alcohol/drug use for at least 12 months prior to hearing
    • Prove ongoing support program (attendance at AA or other acceptable program)
  • Level III: High Risk “Nondependent”
    • Fewer than 3 symptoms of dependency, but
    • 3 or more DUI arrests within 10-year period
    • 75 hours of inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment
    • 12 months of “non-problematic” use of drugs/alcohol prior to hearing

Getting the Most Helpful Substance Abuse Evaluation

If you have lost your driving privileges, you need to know that a helpful substance abuse evaluation is essential to obtaining relief. As a former hearing officer and experienced Illinois driver’s license hearing lawyer, Mr. Harvatin is in a position to suggest quality evaluators and treatment agencies that can best serve you. He works closely with evaluators across the state to ensure that all your paperwork is in order before the hearing. The evaluator’s approval is especially helpful in crafting an alternative support program, which can mean the difference between failure and success. Rather than being another number at a large corporate law firm, get the personal attention and service you deserve from the Harvatin Law Offices. Call (217) 525-0520 today for a confidential consultation, or contact us online.

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