Does An Attorney Need To Be Successful At This Hearing?
The answer is yes, every attorney should be successful. Realistically, the answer is no, but in reality, the answer is yes. For this reason, it is a very complex area of the law. Technically speaking, you are not obligated to have an attorney, you can go to the hearing without having an attorney, and the success rate is minuscule. There might people whom I have known who have been successful on their own. The answer is yes. However, the percentage is small, because the area of the law is relatively complex. That behooves you to have a qualified attorney, who has years of experience in front of the secretary of state. In my particular situation, I have been practicing this kind of law for about twenty-four years, and I have literally done thousands of hearings to get people back some sort of a driving privilege permit.
It is also important to keep in mind that if you are not successful, you have delayed the possibility of getting a license for five months as we talked before. The reality is even longer than that, because if I send down the paperwork today, we do the hearing, it takes five months from the time of the hearing. If you are not happy with the results, you are looking at an additional five months. Before the possibility of getting some sort of privileges, it may be ten months. The question you have to say to yourself is, is time on my side? For some folks, the license is not terribly important to them if you live in an urban environment, or downtown Chicago. Having a license is not nearly as important as if you live in a suburb where you have to drive to work, school, or the bank.
Some jobs are contingent on having a license. Some folks, if they do not have driving privileges, they are going to lose their jobs. Many people, come into my office, and say, “Bill, I need to get something yesterday”, and I tell them, “You’re looking at roughly 5 months”, that is the closet to yesterday I can do. They say fine, they let their employer know, and their employer says to them, “Listen, we’d understand the situation you’re in, you’re a good employee, and we want to maintain your employment with us. However, we will give you this timeframe, we’ll figure out what to do to cover for you because you can’t drive from point A to point B but that’s all we’re going to give you is this 5 months”.
Hopefully you’re successful, because if you are not, then we are going to have to make some decisions with regards to a long-term status with your job”.
What Steps Can Be Taken If Someone Loses The Appeal?
Generally, there are two options if we lose the appeal. Therefore, you get a letter in the mail saying you have been denied for any driving relief, and then the law says you are eligible to apply immediately. I mean technically, the law says you are eligible to apply after ninety days. You will not get the written result of that original hearing for ninety days, and then even if you send down the paperwork, it could be another sixty. The earliest you could realistically have another hearing would be anywhere from sixty to one-hundred and fifty days. You can do an infinite number of hearings as long as they are not separated by any less than ninety days.
You could do another hearing immediately, or you could appeal the decision if you feel that the facts in the case, as you testified to, are different than what comes back in the letter denying you. Once again in two to three months after the date of your hearing, or if you feel that the law was misapplied or incorrectly applied to the facts that you presented at the hearing, you have a right to appeal the case. That would be to the Cook county court system in Chicago, because the hearings that I conduct take place, once again, in downtown Chicago in the loop area on State Street. That is an option that you have. It is an option that very, very few people use, because of the enormous cost that goes along with appealing a case, and getting an appellate attorney who has to prepare an appellate brief.
He then has to file the papers in the appellate court, because of how long it takes. Then in addition to that, there is no certainty that you are going to be successful. All the hearings I have done, and some of the people who have been denied, I have only known one person who was contemplating appealing the decision, and whether he did I do not remember whether or not he would have went that route. However, those are the two options. Do another hearing, or appeal the decision.
Additional Information About DMV Secretary Of State Hearings
Everything is in preparation. I cannot emphasize it enough. I am a firm believer that the vast majority of these cases are won and lost before you even show up for the hearing. That is why it is critical that you have an attorney who is highly qualified in these types of cases. I am referred a lot of these cases by criminal defense attorneys who handle the DUI cases. For whatever reason, that person pled guilty or was found guilty after trial, they received the conviction for the DUI, which revoked their license. As those people are highly competent, and respected in terms of criminal law, they have no expertise in terms of dealing with the secretary of state, in a completely separate type of proceeding, and try to get somebody’s driving privileges restored.
You need an attorney who is highly qualified dealing with the secretary of state because he or she is going to make sure, that we talked about before, that number one, your documents are in order. If your documents are not in order, I, as the attorney have the ability to reach out to the treatment provider, the person who is putting together those documents, and talk about some issues I see in the documents. If the treatment provider agrees, some of the information can be modified, or clarified. Ultimately, the treatment provider is the expert in terms of drug and alcohol treatment. I have known so many of the treatment providers in this area, and because I have done so many of these hearings, I have a good rapport, and relationship with them.
I can ask them certain questions, I can make suggestions, and if they agree with me, they can incorporate that into their documentation, but there has to be that relationship, there has to be that experience. That is what you pay an attorney to do. In terms of not only the preparation, or making sure the documents are in order, but also the old testimony, the other part of the case. The answers must be consistent with the documentation we submit.
It does nobody any good for the documents to say A, B, and C, and then you testify to D, C, or D, E, and F. There has to be consistent testimony when compared to the documentation that we provide, and that is where preparation comes into play, because ultimately what comes down to this, is that everything you say is in the documentation. The documentation must contain truthful information. As long as that truthful information is reasonable in the eyes of the secretary of state, and your testimony is consistent with that, then we have done what we need to do to put you in the best position to be successful.
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