After a DUI arrest, especially for first-time offenders, there can be a lot of unanswered questions. How long until you can drive again? Does my blood alcohol content affect my consequences? How many hours of DUI classes will I have to attend? What is a risk evaluation and what does it mean for me?
No matter the questions you have, or the punishment you are facing, having an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side is the way to go. Driving under the influence is a mistake, and you don't want to make additional mistakes by trying to face your charges on your own or hiring an inexperienced lawyer to represent you.
At Ktenas Law, we understand that mistakes happen and that a mistake shouldn't cost you the rest of your life. As experienced criminal defense and DUI attorneys, we'll be by your side every single step of the way to help you through the system, and help you come out the other side with the best possible outcome.
What is "Risk Evaluation"?
Unlike other states, the consequences of DUI's aren't set in stone in Illinois. DUI's are the only offenses in Illinois that require offenders to go through "risk evaluation" before their sentencing. How you score on this risk evaluation will decide what your punishment is, and what your treatment and education plan will include. The intention of these DUI evaluations is to determine whether or not the offender has a substance abuse problem, or is developing a substance abuse problem, and how to go forward with substance abuse treatment.
What is the Evaluation Process?
Each county has its own evaluation rules and process. The following applies to Cook County, Illinois. In Cook County, all evaluations are completed by ADES (Alcohol and Drug Evaluation Services). Offenders must pay a fee for their evaluation, between $150 to $250. Before your evaluation begins, you should speak with your DUI attorney, scoring poorly on your evaluation can have long-lasting and severe consequences.
You will be questioned about past and current drug and alcohol use, and abuse, as well as your driving record. It is important to be as open and honest as possible, lying or trying to hide anything can push your risk evaluation up a level. Any lies or inconsistencies found must be reconciled between the defendant and the risk evaluator. Once you have completed the questionnaire it will be reviewed and compared to your driving record and any other arrests. Once a judge has reviewed your answers and looked over your driving and criminal records you will appear in court to hear their determination.
You must complete a risk evaluation in order to regain your license and to complete your sentencing.
During your risk evaluation, you will be assigned a risk level.
Risk Level I - Minimal Risk
Risk Level II - Moderate Risk or Significant Risk
Risk Level III - High Risk (Dependent or Non-dependent)
These risk levels will decide what DUI risk education you are assigned, as well as the additional consequences you will face.
For those assigned Minimal Risk, you will be required to attend 10 hours of DUI risk education. Those assigned moderate risk will have to complete the same 10 hours of DUI risk education as those marked as minimal risk, as well as 12 hours of early intervention classes. These classes are once a week, for a maximum of 3 hours per day, meaning it takes 4 weeks minimum to complete your early intervention requirements.
If you were assigned Risk level II but marked as a significant risk, instead of moderate risk, will attend 10 hours of DUI risk education and 20 hours of substance abuse treatment rather than 12 hours of early intervention. You will also be assigned a continuous care plan that you must adhere to.
High Risk Classifications
The final two classifications are Dependent and Non-dependent High Risk. If you are considered high risk, that means the state believes that you have an active substance abuse problem. This could be alcohol, illegal substances, or legal substance abuse.
If you are categorized as Non-dependent, you will be required to complete 75 hours of substance abuse treatment, as well as adhere to a continuous care plan decided by the state. If you are classified as High-Risk Dependent, however, you will be required to turn yourself over to an in-patient rehabilitation facility to undergo substance abuse treatment and will be required to adhere to a continuous care plan after you are released. There is no time limit for in-patient treatment, you will attend treatment until your treatment is complete. This can include mental health services as well as substance abuse services.
Do I Have to go Through With Risk Evaluation Treatment?
Offenders have the right to pull themselves from their risk treatment plan at any point. This does, however, come with consequences. Without completing your risk assessment treatment, you will not be able to regain your license or move forward with your case, locking you in limbo in the state. You will also forfeit the money you paid for the evaluation and any further fees, as well as be required to pay them again if you choose to go forward at a later date.
Are There Other Consequences to the Risk Evaluation?
The higher the risk category you fall into, the more likely there will be additional consequences on top of your sentencing and treatment plans. While it is obvious that it will take longer to regain your license, there are other hidden consequences. You may be required to have a BAIID (breath alcohol ignition interlock device) installed in your car for a period of time, as well as have your driving privileges restricted in other ways. A higher risk person may find themselves facing steep insurance rates through high-risk insurance.
There are also more obvious consequences to your risk evaluation and treatment plan: fees and payments. Between evaluation fees, counseling fees, rehabilitation fees, BAIID fees, and filing fees to regain your license, on top of regular courts fees, you can be looking at an average of a $25,000 price tag on a high-risk DUI Offense.
We're Here to Help
No matter the circumstances of your DUI, having an experienced attorney by your side is key. Even for first-time offenders, having a bad evaluation can cause ripples that change the course of your life indefinitely.
At Ktenas Law, our goal is always to help our clients reach the best possible outcome in their case. Call us today for a free consultation. During your initial consultation we'll walk through your driving history, your DUI arrest, and all other information you have, to help you come up with a game plan for your evaluation, as well as discuss possible outcomes and fees.