The DUIL Discharge Summary

In Massachusetts, most repeat DUI offenders are ordered to attend and successfully complete the Middlesex DUIL Program, which is a 14 day residential alcohol treatment program located in Tewksbury, Massachusetts on the grounds of the old Tewksbury State Hospital. The DUIL Program is divided into 2 phases. The first phase is the in-patient phase and the second phase consists of out-patient aftercare. The DUlL Program is a 14-day residential program for individuals who are referred by their probation officer for intensive alcohol and drug education and treatment. Individuals attending the program receive a comprehensive substance abuse evaluation, individual and group counseling, alcohol and drug education, and self-help meetings.

Upon completion of Phase I of the program, you will receive a Discharge Summary and Aftercare Plan, as well as completion letter.  The discharge summary will rate your level of participation, attitude, motivation level, and risk of recidivism. Everyone gets a “high” risk of recidivism after completion of Phase I and both the Registry and Board of Appeal understand this. The goal is to get a low risk of recidivism when you are evaluated after completing Phase II, which is the aftercare component of the DUIL program.

The Phase I Discharge Summary and Aftercare Plan will discuss your “stage of change” and make recommendations regarding AA and other self-help meeting attendance. The initial DUIL Discharge Reports usually state as follows “Patient would benefit from continued addiction education and treatment, individual and or group counseling, and obtainment of a self-help support system. His prognosis should improve provided he remains sober and attends self-help meetings regularly. The recommendations above could help reduce his risk of recidivism if implemented and maintained. His license to operate a motor vehicle should be contingent on his sobriety and not based solely on this report.”

Because everyone initially gets a “high risk of recidivism,” you should not be discouraged by this and you should work hard to earn a low risk of recidivism on the final discharge summary. You can do this by fully participating in group and individual therapy sessions and by showing genuine insight into your alcohol issue and what caused your situation.

Denied a Hardship License by the Registry?

Just because the Registry of Motor Vehicles has denied you a hardship license, that doesn’t mean that you cannot get one. You have the legal right to appeal any license denial, suspension, or revocation to a 3 member appellate board known as the Board of Appeal. This Board has the power to overrule hardship license denials and it can order the Mass. RMV to issue you a hardship license even if you do not satisfy all of the Registry’s requirements for licensure.

The Board of Appeal hearing process is much more formal and involved, as compared to appearing before a Registry Hearings Officer at a walk in hearing. These hearings must be scheduled in advance and preparation is essential. You have the right to be represented by legal counsel and hiring the right lawyer often makes the difference between winning and losing.

The hearing process is somewhat “adversarial,” meaning that a representative from the Suspension Department of the Mass. Registry will attempt to convince the Board of Appeal that you should not be granted a hardship license or a reinstatement of your full license. The Registry’s representative will present your driving and criminal records to the Board. He or she may make legal arguments to support the Registry’s decision.

After the Registry completes its presentation of the case, you and your lawyer will have an opportunity to submit any documents which you want the Board to consider and you can make legal and factual arguments to support your appeal. In every hardship license appeal which I handle, I submit a detailed legal memorandum which explains why the Board should reinstate your right to operate and/or grant you a hardship driver’s license.

If the Registry has denied you a hardship license or refused to reinstate your license, I invite you to contact my office for a free consultation and review of your case. After speaking with a lawyer, you will know exactly where you stand and what can be done to get you back on the road.