How Do Non-DUI Traffic Offenses Impact A Secretary Of State Hearing?
If you get pulled over for a DUI at a time when your license is already suspended from an earlier case, and from a criminal point of view, going to the courthouse, that makes it all the more aggravated in some situations. Depending on if your license is suspended or revoked for earlier DUIs, this current charge can be turned into a felony offense. It’s a much more severe type of offense. From the Secretary of State’s point of view, your license is no good as a result of whatever previous charge you have. During that period of time, if your license is no good—revoked, suspended, or cancelled—and you pick up a DUI, there a couple of things that could happen.
First of all, the Secretary of State will look at this and they will say that you are driving drunk, and this is the number of different times you’ve driven drunk previously. Taking that into consideration, with the fact that they took away your license earlier and you continue to drive, let alone they took your license and you get a new DUI, then you have complete disregard for the laws here in the state of Illinois. Certainly, in doing a hearing that would be a burden that we have to overcome, essentially establishing that our thought process today, the way that we would conduct our business today is completely different from the guy in the past, who not only continued to drive when he didn’t have a valid license and went along picking up new DUIs when his license was no good because of earlier reasons.
How Does Someone Prove That They Are Not a Risk To Public Safety At These Hearings?
You have to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that your lifestyle changes that you have had in relationship to your use of drugs and or alcohol have changed substantially enough that you would pose a much reduced risk to the people of Illinois, if you were granted some sort of driving privileges. The state does not have to prove anything—we have to prove it when we do a hearing that we’ve made significant lifestyle changes in regards to drugs and/or alcohol. The ways that you do that is through the type of treatment that you’ve had, based on the documents that your treatment provider has put together that shows you have been an attentive individual at counseling, that you’ve been highly motivated to get better, and that he or she believes that their prognosis is null of you re-offending.
The first thing that you have to do is you have to provide them with your treatment documents. The second thing that you have to show depends on if you are a Level Three individual. Under Illinois law, a Level Three individual is considered a high risk individual. They are required to do a 75-hour program. They are considered to be either drug-dependent people, or alcohol-dependent people. If, in fact, you are classified as such and you do a hearing, you are required to have at least a one-year period of sobriety under your belt, and you need documents to verify that you have been sober for at least one year. There is an exception in the law that says you can reduce it down to 6 months, depending on certain criteria, but the general rule is 1 year of sobriety. You also have to be involved in a support program, whether it is a traditional support program such as AA, or whether it is a non-traditional support program in which your friends and family help you maintain your sobriety.
If you are a Level Three and you are required to have a support program around you, that’s another way that we try to establish that you’ve changed your ways, because to establish a good strong support network around you would help you maintain your sobriety and help you maintain your abstinence. The last way that you would try to establish it at your hearing is based on your testimony, based on your demeanor, based on the position that you take in terms of recognizing your past indiscretions and your past illegal conduct, which resulted in you being at this hearing today. You have to show that you recognize that it was yourself, then but look at what I have done to try and better my life. Look at what I have done to put myself into a position, that although there are no guarantees that this person is not going to drink or use drugs again, and there are no guarantees that you won’t drive drunk in the future, but that look at what I have done over the time in terms of my period of sobriety now, for argument’s sake is a period of 5 years. I report to AA, I go to 3 meetings a week, and I have a sponsor who writes me a letter who says that I am highly motivated whenever I go. He’s observed that I have not used drugs or drink alcohol for the last 5 years, but also show that through your testimony. You try to essentially show and illustrate what’s different about you today. I don’t hang out with the same friends I used to, I don’t go to the same locations that I used to, I have the benefit of my treatment, I have the benefit of my support program, I’m going to be with my support program forever, I’m never going to graduate from AA, I’m never going to graduate from needing support because this is a lifelong commitment to maintain sobriety or maintain abstinence.
Generally speaking, the way you prove it in a hearing is not only through documents, but also through your testimony. If at the conclusion of the hearing, your documents are good, your testimony is good, which means that they believe you and you show a working knowledge of AA and working knowledge of what you learned at treatment, then you are in a good position to be successful at the conclusion of the hearing.
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