This article is going to fit into the category of "hey that's not fair!". But really and truly when is life ever fair?!?
The problem with medications (and we're only talking about the ones that alter your mind in some way shape or form) is that they mimic the problems one has with alcohol when ingested before driving....they reduce your ability to drive safely. So regardless of the fact that you have a legitimate medical condition which requires treatment with drugs like suboxone, vicodin, oxycodone, oxycontin, dilaudid, etc., if you must take these types of meds, getting your drivers license restored may be extremely difficult or impossible depending on which Secretary of State hearing officer is drawn.
Clearly there is a disconnect here. What i am referring to is the fact that if you already have a valid license and at some point in time you go to your doctor and for whatever reason get prescribed one of the above mentioned drugs (and that is not an exhaustive list), you may continue to drive while medicated....as long as your "ability to drive" is not impaired. Which means of course, if pulled over for whatever reason,(and the stop better not be for driving erratically), then you had better be able to pass all field sobriety tests or else you most probably will be cited for driving while under the influence of drugs.
On the other hand, if your license has been revoked (which requires a petition to request your driving privileges back) and you are under a doctors care and taking any of these drugs, your ability to drive is not going to be determined by you but rather a Secretary of State hearing officer.
This rather large problem is compounded by the fact that these hearing officers feel that if whatever particular drug you are prescribed has an addictive quality then it is subject to abuse (not taking it as prescribed) and therefore more problematic. Which translates into a denial of your request to be reinstated. If the hearing officer determines you have an alcohol addiction they believe you are more susceptible to cross addiction or may be prone to "substitute" one addiction for another.
So how can this problem be resolved....??
First, it must be made clear to not only to the hearing officer but first to the substance abuse evaluator that use of the particular substance will not cause a safety issue.
It also must be clear that you have been up front with your doctor regarding your addiction to alcohol or other drugs. From there we have to get everybody (from the substance abuse evaluator, to the treating doctor, to the hearing officer) on board and agree that you are safe to drive and further that it is likely that you will remain safe.
Finally, i never let the doctor just draft the document we need from him. Instead, i propose the letter and send it for his approval and signature. This way everything i need to be addressed is. After all the doctor has no clue what the hearing officer needs and this makes it much easier for the doctor to get done. (They always seem to be very busy and don't like to furnish these types of letters if it takes them away from, well, making money).
Common sense should tell you that when an attorney is giving you the basement bargain deal on fees, he/she is not going to go to this extent to ensure you win your appeal and get back on the road.
I find it very gratifying to see a petitioner win a drivers license appeal. The relief and joy they express after the hearing is priceless. When your ready to get happy, call me!!