What Are The Classification Levels For The Reinstatement Hearing?
There are 3 primary classification levels. Two of the levels have sub-classifications.
Level I applies to someone with only one DUI arrest. If you have two or more total DUI arrests, you cannot be Level I. The only requirement for someone who is classified Level I is completion of a 10-hour Driver Risk Education (DRE) course.
However, even if you only have one DUI arrest, you cannot be Level I if you either refused the breath test or took the breath test and registered between .15 and .19. Your classification in that case must be at least Level II moderate risk.
If you are classified Level II moderate risk, you must complete the DRE course. In addition, you must complete at least 12 hours of early intervention alcohol counseling.
The next classification is Level II significant risk. Anybody, regardless of the number of DUI arrests, who registers .20 or higher on the blood or chemical breath test (Breathalyzer) must be classified at least Level II significant risk.
A second DUI arrest will result in your being classified as Level II significant risk if in the past you were convicted of DUI, or were placed on court supervision for DUI, or were arrested for a DUI that was later reduced to reckless driving, or even if you were acquitted (found not guilty or the charge was dismissed) of DUI but were, as a result of the DUI for which you were acquitted, suspended for failing or refusing the breath or blood test. These rules apply regardless of the age of the first arrest or the time between the arrests.
If you are classified Level II significant risk, you must complete DRE. In addition, you must undergo at least 20 hours of alcohol treatment and, in most cases, complete aftercare.
There are two Level III high-risk classifications. If you have 3 or more symptoms of dependency, you must be classified as Level III alcohol dependent, regardless of the number of DUI arrests.
If you are classified as dependent, you are not required to complete DRE. However, you must complete either inpatient alcohol treatment or 75 hours of intensive outpatient counseling.
You are further required to demonstrate that for at least the last 12 months before the hearing, you have been abstinent from all alcohol and illegal drugs. “Abstinence” means no use whatsoever of alcohol or drugs.
Finally, you must prove that you have established an ongoing support program to assist you in continuing your abstinence. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is known as a traditional support program because the Secretary of State is familiar with it and the program is widely recognized.
You must document your AA attendance with at least 3 letters from fellow AA members. Sign-in sheets are not a suitable substitute for letters.
The Secretary of State will accept a support program other than AA if it is properly documented and the Secretary of State is satisfied the program is sufficient to help you abstain in the future. Examples of nontraditional support programs are church, family and friends, and AA-type programs that do not include the spiritual or religious focus of AA.
If you intend to rely upon a nontraditional support program, you must be prepared to identify at least 3 individuals who are part of the support program, and you are required to obtain letters from each of them. You must also be able to explain to the Secretary of State how this program and the individuals who are part of it help you refrain from drinking alcohol.
In general what the Secretary of State is looking for as members of a nontraditional support program are individuals who provide you with assistance in dealing with the challenges that life presents to all of us, challenges that in the past you met by resorting to alcohol and/or drugs. While not a strict requirement, the Secretary of State also has a preference for a program in which at least one of the individuals in the group has battled a substance abuse problem in the past.
If church is your support program, it is helpful, although not required, if church doctrine frowns upon the use of alcohol and drugs or requires members to be of high moral character. Furthermore, the Secretary of State is more receptive to a church-based support program if the church has study groups that focus upon substance abuse problems.
Many individuals who are classified as alcohol dependent and who are not attending AA find themselves baffled about what their support program should be. Lacking proper legal advice, these individuals may enter AA halfheartedly.
When they are put under a microscope at the hearing, which they will be, about AA, their lack of commitment to AA becomes apparent to the hearing officer who makes the decision in their case. Those people are denied because they are unable to prove that they have established an effective support program.
The final classification is Level III high-risk nondependent. Anybody who has had 3 or more arrests for DUI within a period of 10 years must be classified at least Level III nondependent. This classification applies only if the high-risk person has fewer than 3 symptoms of dependency as determined by the evaluator and the treatment agency.
Someone classified as Level III high-risk nondependent must complete 75 hours of alcohol classes, the same as someone classified dependent. However, the nondependent person is not required to have a support program (either traditional or nontraditional) and is not required to prove 12 months of abstinence. That person must demonstrate 12 months of non-problematic use of alcohol.
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