Risk of Recidivism Evaluations for the RMV or Board of Appeal
If you are trying to reinstate from an indefinite immediate threat suspension and your case involves drugs or alcohol, whether you were criminally charged or not, the Registry Hearing Officer who handles your suspension appeal will probably require a substance abuse evaluation containing a risk of recidivism or risk of relapse. The purpose of this letter of recidivism is to inform the hearing officer whether or not reinstating your license might endanger the public because the alleged alcohol or drug issue has not been brought under control. A favorable letter of recidivism can be very helpful but it does not guarantee reinstatement.
What is Risk of Recidivism?
The risk of recidivism is a classification determined by a clinician who specializes in alcoholism and substance abuse. The clinician who conducts the substance abuse evaluation will use his or her training and experience to determine the client’s risk of recidivism based on a comprehensive evaluation and specialized tools which have been developed to determine how likely it is that the client will suffer a relapse. After evaluating the client and reviewing all relevant documents, the evaluator will write a detailed report which discusses the client’s history, diagnosis, prognosis, and recidivism risk.
The Board of Appeal routinely looks for information regarding an Appellant’s risk of recidivism in hardship license appeals and in cases where the appellant is seeking a reversal of an indefinite immediate threat license suspension.
Massachusetts Registry Hearing Officers will not accept a letter of recidivism or risk of relapse report unless it is a signed original and it must be dated no more than thirty (30) days from the date of submission. Hearing Officers may also require signed and completed Medical Evaluation Forms and Psychiatric Evaluation Forms which state that the customer is safe to operate. The Registry’s requirements will depend on the nature of the case and the facts contained in the immediate threat complaint.
How do I get a Risk of Recidivism Evaluation and a Letter of Recidivism?
Most substance abuse clinicians who provide risk of recidivism reports will evaluate the client remotely via a HIPPA-Compliant secure Telehealth system. This prevents the client, whose license has been suspended, from having to travel to the clinician’s office. It is important to provide the clinician who assessing your risk of relapse with a copy of your driving and criminal records as well as a copy of the immediate threat report if there is one.
An evaluation to determine risk of relapse is much different than the routine substance abuse evaluation which is performed to make treatment recommendations. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the client’s risk of re-offending, as it relates to safely operating a motor vehicle. Some evaluators use a numerical scale, where the patient is rated from one to five. Other evaluators give a recidivism rating of low, medium, or high. Regardless of the scale used, for the evaluation to have validity, the evaluator must explain how he or she made the recidivism determination and the evaluation must accurately recite the patient’s DUI and/or substance abuse history.