By Steven R. Roach
As stated in my previous article, the keys to a successful Illinois Secretary of State Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearing are preparation and consistency. While at the Secretary of State Formal Hearing Offices, I often find myself observing many unrepresented petitioners/motorists being called upon to speak with an attorney representing the Secretary of State, before entering the hearing room. These attorneys are there to determine if the petitioner has all of the documents required to proceed with the hearing. The most common mistakes petitioners make are having an outdated uniform report / updated evaluations, forgetting to include the proof of risk education, and some high-risk petitioners failing to include the letters of abstinence and letters of support. Those petitioners that are turned away are then significantly delayed in continuing their efforts for driving relief. This could be quite discouraging, and many simply give up trying. This often leads to the individual re-entering the vicious cycle of driving out of necessity for work or family, while risking getting caught by law enforcement and facing serious penalties, including jail.
So, what steps should be taken to have your best chances of success at the hearing? First, I encourage everyone to speak to, and if possible, retain an attorney familiar with Illinois Secretary of State Reinstatement Hearings. This should be an immediate benefit because the attorney will be able to review all of your treatment paperwork and determine if anything is missing. The attorney should also review all of the documents to determine if there are any inconsistencies or contradictions. The attorney can then communicate with the evaluator/treatment provider to clarify that information that could trigger a negative response from the hearing judge. Second, upon completion of a full document review, the attorney should prepare an outline, and/or framework for the petitioner to review. This written outline/framework provides the petitioner with an understanding of the types of questions they could expect to be asked and also gets them familiar with the sequence of questions. Third, the attorney should set aside time to do at least one or two live mock hearings, and possibly one to three teleconferences with the petitioner, because practice makes perfect. I find it critically important to do the mock hearings because it allows my clients to get a feel for the pace and flow of my questions. By following these steps, both the attorney and client/petitioner become comfortable with each other, and when it is time for the actual hearing, it is just as if they were performing the hearing in the attorney’s office.
Finally, in terms of preparation, like my last article advised, petitioners, are required have the following documents: DUI Evaluation Report or Updated Evaluation (must be completed no more than 6 months before hearing) , Proof of completion of DUI Risk Education ( except high risk) , Illinois Treatment Verification, Individualized treatment plan, discharge summary, aftercare/continuing care plan, & continuing care status report, a “Treatment needs assessment waiver” and a “chronological alcohol/drug history”. Please remember, evaluations are valid for only 6 months and you may need to get an updated report or new uniform report. Finally, if classified as a high risk, 3 letters from family and friends regarding current drinking/drug patterns (abstaining), and 3 letters from members of the support group are required.
My clients, and any prospective clients, should always feel free to contact the Law Offices of Steven R. Roach at any of our offices:
Clients may also reach us online at www.Chicago-Criminal-Dui-Lawyer.com