Risk of Recidivism and the Board of Appeal

Risk of recidivism or relapse is a key factor in any hardship license case which goes before the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. Board members are rightfully concerned about an Appellant obtaining hardship relief from the Board and re-offending. Therefore, if you are seeking a hardship license, which is discretionary and considered “extraordinary relief” by the courts, you must successfully address recidivism concerns.

One of the ways you can increase your chances of being granted a reinstatement by the Board is to have a completed an alcohol education program which is commensurate with your DUI offense and the required aftercare component of this program. Being classified by the aftercare provider as having a low risk of recidivism is an important component of any hardship license appeal. However, the discharge summary must accurately describe your entire DUI history and prior drinking behavior, which must match your driving and criminal records, both of which the Board of Appeal will review as part of your hearing.

Another way to convince the Board of Appeal that your risk to re-offend is low is to actively participate in a self-help program such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon, Narcotics Anonymous, or Smart recovery. Documented participation can show that you’re serious about not re-offending. Participation in individual counseling can also establish that you are not likely to relapse and re-offend, so long as it is properly documented.

One of the best ways to get information showing that you are a good risk to be issued a hardship license is to have a well-credentialed and experienced clinician, who has a good reputation, conduct a comprehensive substance abuse evaluation and write a report regarding your history and current prognosis as it relates to the potential for a future repeat offense. These reports can be extremely helpful when the clinician applies his or her expertise and explains why you are a good risk.

The Board of Appeal expects hardship license candidates to have well-prepared cases and the Board will not make calls or hunt for documents and reports. It is expected that when the case is presented the Appellant is able to establish a legitimate need for a license and that returning him or her to the road will not endanger public safety because any alcohol or substance abuse issues have been sufficiently brought under control. A lawyer who specializes in hardship licensing can help you prepare your case and increase your chances of getting your license back.