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Choosing an evaluator after an Illinois DUI arrest

The goal of the Illinois DUI process is to prevent another DUI arrest. One way of achieving that goal is through punishment. That’s the fines, the jail time, the probation and so forth.

The second means is through rehabilitation. The thinking is that if you have a DUI, you may have a drinking problem. If you do not fix the drinking problem, you are at risk to receive another DUI.

You may need outside help. The type of help you need will depend upon the severity of your problem.

If you are arrested for DUI in Illinois and are considered an appropriate candidate for court supervision, before the judge can sentence you to supervision, you must obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation from a facility licensed by the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) These evaluating agencies will interview you about your drinking and drug habits and ask other questions designed to determine what types of problems alcohol or drug use have caused in your life apart from the DUI.

If you are not eligible for court supervision and are found guilty of the DUI, you are not required by law to obtain an evaluation but many judges will demand one anyway. Furthermore, upon being convicted of the DUI, you will lose your license and have to have a Secretary of State hearing. At such a hearing, you must produce an evaluation and other documents.

In summary, whether you receive court supervision (and avoid a revoked license) or are convicted of DUI and need a driver’s license reinstatement hearing, you must obtain an evaluation. Choosing the right evaluator is critical, especially if you are preparing to attend a driver’s license hearing.

The strategy you use in DUI court is not always the best strategy to use at the Secretary of State. The right evaluator for a license hearing is not the one who makes things the easiest for you. That may work in court but the Secretary of State will see right through it.

Nor is the right evaluator normally the one who charges the least. Those evaluators may take shortcuts that almost always hurt your chances at a driver’s license hearing. By the same token, the most expensive evaluator is not always the best one.

Your best bet in selecting an evaluator for a driver’s license hearing is to consult an experienced driver’s license reinstatement lawyer. Find out how many cases he has handled at the Secretary of State, how long he has been doing it, whether he had experience as a hearing officer before representing people, and how long that experience was. If he has long experience, he is going to know a lot of evaluators throughout the state and know who the good ones are and which ones to avoid.

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