How to Get Your License Back After a DUI

DUI conviction almost always results in drivers’ license revocation. Drivers who can demonstrate that they have a hardship – meaning that they must drive to and from school or work, to care for dependents, to and from doctors’ appointments, etc. – are eligible for a restricted driving permit which allows them to drive under designated circumstances with vehicles that are equipped with interlock ignition devices.
All drivers, whether or not they have RDPs, must apply for reinstatement after the minimum revocation period expires. In Illinois, reinstatement is basically a two-step process.

The Groundwork

At least six months prior to the hearing date, drivers must see a Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA)-licensed counsellor and receive an alcohol evaluation. Based on this evaluation, the driver is placed in one of three categories; the different categories have different minimum requirements.

  • Minimal Risk: As a rule of thumb, only first-time offenders who were convicted of non-enhanced DUI and had a BAC of under .10 are in the lowest category. These drivers must normally only complete an alcohol awareness/education class.
  • Moderate Risk: Counsellors usually regard a second or third offense, or a BAC between .10 and .19, as evidence that the driver has a significant or elevated risk of alcohol dependency. Therefore, in addition to the class, these drivers must attend and complete an alcohol intervention or treatment program and complete all required aftercare.
  • High Risk: Drivers are in this category because of either the number of offenses (usually at least three) or their BAC level (typically more than .20 or .25). Essentially, there is a presumption that high risk drivers should not have their driving privileges restored. To overcome this presumption, they must:
    Complete an intervention or treatment program, or
    Produce a doctor’s diagnosis that says they are not alcohol-dependent), and
    Provide three letters from three different individuals which state they are actively involved in both a 12-step program and adhere to its tenants (meeting registration logs are insufficient), and
    Provide three letters which state that the drivers have been either abstinent for the last year or have used alcohol and/or drugs responsibly for the last year.

These are the minimum requirements under the law, so it is a good idea to do more than the minimum. For example, minimal risk drivers should consider completing the moderate risk requirements.

The Hearing

Step two is a formal or informal hearing before an official from the Secretary of State’s office. According to popular belief, if driver simply present the paperwork and act remorseful, they get their driver’s licenses back. In a few cases, that may be true.

But as mentioned earlier, there is often a presumption that the more serious offenders should not be reinstated. As a result, drivers must essentially prove that they are not a threat to public safety. The paperwork is part of that equation. An experienced attorney can present your case in the best possible light and help you gain full license reinstatement.

If the hearing officer denies the application, the driver will receive a written explanation that includes the reason for denial and how to address the deficiency.

Rely on Experienced Attorneys

Drivers’ license reinstatement requires more than just filling out forms. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson. Convenient payment plans are available.

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