By Anna Jankowska MA LCPC
Driver’s license reinstatement is a lengthy process and requires adequate preparation. There are certain things that need to take place in order to ensure that your preparation will be smooth.
You need to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation that contains consistent drug and alcohol history explains your symptoms and treatment verification and does not have any errors.
You have to memorize your evaluation and all additional documents that your evaluator will prepare. Take advantage of the knowledge of the evaluator and ask him pertinent questions. Ensure that he meets with you in order to go over the entire evaluation and explains everything in such a way that you have all your questions answered. If you don't understand something at the time of the evaluation, you will not understand it at the time of the hearing. Do not assume that the hearing officer will not ask you some of the questions and that you do not have to remember the details from your past. Many clients make a mistake not paying attention to details of their evaluation and don’t even read their evaluation. Some clients even say that is impossible to remember all the details and they cannot believe that they will be asked details from 20 years ago pertaining to their drinking and drug use history. Your evaluator is your best ally. He or she wants to help you make the evaluation consistent and will often point to inconsistencies. It is your job not the evaluators to make your evaluation consistent. The hearing officer is knowledgeable not only in the process of the hearing but also about the substance abuse problems. They not only know when you're inconsistent but also when you're untruthful.
The 1st one concentrates on questions regarding each DUI arrest and contains questions such as:
- Was there a special reason that you were drinking prior to your arrest?
- Where were you drinking?
- What time did you start and what time did you finish drinking?
- How many drinks did you consume?
- What was your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?
The 2nd part goes over your entire drug use and drinking history and contains questions such as:
- What was your alcohol consumption in the year prior to the last DUI arrest?
- What was your alcohol use after your last DUI arrest?
- Why did you decrease drinking?
- What day did you last consume alcohol?
- What day did you last drink to intoxication?
Make sure you know how to answer all questions regarding every single substance that you used throughout your life.
The 3rd part goes over symptoms of alcohol and drug use and contains questions such as:
- Have you ever experienced a blackout?
- Have you ever passed out after drinking?
- Have you ever missed work because of drinking?
- Have you ever experienced hangovers?
- Do you ever become angry when someone confronts you about your alcohol/drug use?
The 4th part emphasizes questions regarding alcohol abuse and dependency and contains questions such as:
- Do you consider yourself a chemically dependent person?
- Do you believe that you have been abusing alcohol/drugs?
- Do you think that you were a problematic drinker/drug user?
The 5th part goes over your support system involvement. If you are a chemically dependent person you need to proof attendance at traditional self-help groups, such as NA or AA, or non-traditional such as religious meetings or others. Regardless of the meetings that you have been attending, they all have to be specifically structured in order to help you in recovery. Make sure that your support system is sound and you can describe how it works. You need to be involved in the program and your involvement should transpire during the conversation with the hearing officer.
The 6th part goes over your past and current criminal record. You will be asked questions pertaining to your drug and alcohol offenses as well as questions regarding probation, parole, etc. You will also be asked questions regarding driving on a suspended or revoked license.
The 7th part is regarding the establishment of hardship. You need to explain the difficulty you endure in life due to lack of a driver’s license. The Secretary of State allows for a few situations where you can obtain an RDP in order to lessen your hardship. These situations pertain to employment, school, support recovery program, medical condition, family education, and daycare. This means that you can obtain a hardship license in order to fulfill all these life obligations but you have to explain all these obligations, showing proof of hardship.
All the above points need to be taken into account in order to qualify for an RDP (Restricted Driving Permit License). The better your preparation the more chances you have to receive your RDP the first time you go to the hearing. Each client is assessed by the Secretary of State Hearing Officer individually. Do not assume that just because you qualify for a full license reinstatement you will actually get it. Most of the clients first receive an RDP and need to prove to the Secretary of State that they can be responsible drivers and then they will qualify for full license reinstatement.
If you want to get more information about driver's license reinstatement or want to start your process of getting back your driver's license,
please call us at (773) 777-6767 or contact us here.