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If you are arrested for an Illinois DUI, two things are at risk. The first is your liberty and property; the second is your driver’s license.

DUI is a crime. As such, you are subject to fines and possible jail time if you are convicted of DUI. For a first DUI offense with no death or injury, a conviction can result in up to 364 days in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Many Illinois courts will also require to you attend a Victim Impact Panel (VIP), not drink or use drugs or go to taverns during a probationary period, attend a few Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation. You might also be required to complete Driver Risk Education (DRE) and complete alcohol counseling.

After you are convicted of the DUI, your driver’s license will be revoked. In order to have it returned to you, you must have a hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.

You may believe that once you have met all the court requirements–paid your fines, done your jail time, not gone to a tavern or consumed alcohol or drugs, obtained your evaluation and completed all your classes–the driver’s license reinstatement hearing would be a simple matter of providing evidence to the Illinois Secretary of State of these accomplishments.

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You are not always required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (AA) in order to reinstate your driver’s license or obtain a work permit (RDP) after losing your license due to a DUI.

Only if an alcohol or drug counselor or treatment provider has identified you as alcohol or drug dependent (Level III) must you provide evidence to the Secretary of State that you are involved in a support program to help you maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs. In those circumstances, you must demonstrate to the Secretary of State a lifetime commitment to, and involvement in, your support program.

The Secretary of State readily recognizes the effectiveness of AA but understands that it is not for everybody. He will accept non-traditional support programs, examples of which could include church, friends and family, Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), self-formed step groups and any other program designed to help an alcoholic control, by relying upon others, the urge to drink. However, if the evaluator or treatment agency (alcohol counselor) has recommended that you attend AA as a support program, you must follow that recommendation or ask the provider of the recommendation to withdraw the AA recommendation and endorse your non-traditional support program.

You must not confuse the lifelong commitment to a support program with those situations in which a judge, probation officer or alcohol/drug counselor has directed someone to attend AA or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) during a limited period of time. Since the lifetime support program commitment applies only to alcoholics, if you have not been classified as an alcoholic, attending AA meetings voluntarily may cause the Secretary of State improperly to suspect you of being an alcoholic. Do not attend AA unless you have been ordered to do so or are an alcoholic.

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