Illinois law requires anyone arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation. The statute says: “After a finding of guilt and prior to any final sentencing or an order for supervision … individuals shall be required to undergo a professional evaluation to determine if an alcohol, drug, or intoxicating compound abuse problem exists and the extent of the problem, and undergo the imposition of treatment as appropriate.” This means a DUI defendant cannot simply show up to court, plead guilty and accept his punishment to “get the matter over with”; even defendants who intend to plead guilty must undergo the eval.

The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the nature and degree of the defendant’s alcohol and/or drug use, particularly as it pertains to the risk those habits impose on public safety. To that end, the evaluation comprises an assessment of the following areas: (1) defendant’s driving history, (2) results of any chemical tests administered (e.g. breathalyzer, urinalysis, and/or blood tests measuring the presence of drugs/alcohol in the body), (3) the results of a standardized objective test, and (4) defendant’s interview with an evaluator.

After the evaluation is completed, the evaluator takes each part of the assessment into consideration to determine the level of risk the defendant poses to society and to himself as a result of his alcohol/drug use. There are four possible classifications: Minimal Risk, Moderate Risk, Significant Risk, and High Risk. Each classification brings with it certain minimum recommendations for the court or the Secretary of State to consider. These recommendations are as follows:

  • Minimum Risk: Completion of a minimum of 10 hours of DUI Risk Education.
  • Moderate Risk: Completion of a minimum of 10 hours of DUI Risk Education and a minimum of 12 hours of “early intervention.” Additionally, completion of any and all necessary treatment and adherence to a continuing care plan.
  • Significant Risk: Completion of a minimum of 10 hours of DUI Risk Education, a minimum of 20 hours of substance abuse treatment and, after discharge, active ongoing participation in all activities specified in the continuing care plan.
  • High Risk: Completion of a minimum of 75 hours of substance abuse treatment and adherence to the continuing care plan.

Note that these guidelines represent the minimum treatment hours that evaluators are required to recommend; an evaluator may very well recommend more hours based on the facts of defendant’s case. However, a court receiving these recommendations for sentencing purposes ultimately has the discretion to determine which, if any, it will utilize to fashion an appropriate sanction. On the other hand, the Secretary of State generally adopts evaluators’ recommendations in their entirety for purposes of granting driving privileges to defendants with suspended licenses.

If the DUI defendant fails to complete the evaluation or refuses to sign the evaluator’s report, the Will County Circuit Court and/or the Office of the Secretary of State will be notified within five days of defendant’s refusal. However, a defendant does have the right to “start over” or request a second evaluation if he believes the first is flawed. Defendants are responsible for the cost of their evaluations.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you would just like more information about the steps involved in a DUI proceeding in Joliet or Will County, contact Hamilton & Antonsen at 815.729.9220 to set up a free consultation.