When I woke up at 7 o’clock this morning, I had no plans to be in Springfield by noon. Yet, that is how my day went.
Yesterday, in my mailbox, I found a letter from the IL Secretary of State’s office informing me that my license was being suspended for a minimum of one year because I had obtained my license fraudulently.
When the Secretary of State’s office starts throwing around words like “FRAUD” that gets your attention. I immediately drove to the local DMV to speak to a hearing officer. The hearing officer pulled my record, then pulled the record of my fraudulent alias, Kevin Bolian. Looking at Mr. Bolian’s record the hearing officer asked me if I had gotten a ticket in Colorado in 2018. I replied that I had. She then asked if I had paid the 2018 ticket which I also answered I had. Well, as it turns out the state of Colorado had reported the ticket being issued to Mr Bolian, but had either never reported it being paid, or more likely reported it paid using my real name and driver’s license number; which meant Mr Bolian’s record never got cleared. In contrast, my mind had been completely cleared of any thought about that ticket.
Fast forward to 2022 and I was due for a license renewal. I renewed my license answering, “No,” to the question, “has your license been suspended in another state or jurisdiction?”Although this was a true statement for Kevin Bowman, it was not true for Kevin Bolian, an alias I neither knew had never been properly cleared by Colorado or even knew existed. As of late last week the Secretary of State office decided (correctly) that Kevin Bowman and Kevin Bolian was the same person and therefore I had lied during the renewal process triggering the suspension for fraud.
The local hearing officer told me to reach out to Summit County Courts in Colorado and come back to the licensing desk with the proof of clearance. She told me this would not prevent my suspension; but would at least set me up to win my appeal in court. I would still have $370 in total fines, but would at least have my license restored by January or February.
I drove home and called Summit County Courts over in Colorado and got to speak with the lovely Miss Elaine. As a side note Miss Elaine told me she lived in Belleville, IL for two years during her first marriage and thought the town was lovely but the husband was not, so she gave up on him and Belleville both and moved to Colorado. Miss Elaine was also able to find the scan of the original ticket and was able to see where the confusion in spelling was from the officer’s penmanship on the original citation. She assured me she would CC me on the email the Colorado Secretary of State office with both my actual last name and the alternate last name asking them to forward the clearance document to the Illinois Secretary of State. True to her word I had the PDF in my inbox which cleared the ticket under both names.
This morning I printed the document and headed back to the DMV to submit the paperwork and start the appeal process. I arrived paper in hand and was promptly turned away for not having an appointment, a detail which had never been mentioned as being needed in the conversation with the hearing officer the evening before. I made an appointment and returned an hour later. As expected the front desk in the Belleville DMV had no ability to do anything and officially sent me away again with just an address in Springfield to mail a print out of the PDF too. Unofficially she suggested I drive the print out up to Springfield and gave me a number at that to call myself to check whether they would accept the document in person.
That number was a lifesaver. Ellen called the number while I was on a work call and the gentleman she talked to told her it would DEFINITELY be worth while to bring the document in person IF we could do that before October 2nd; because as of October 2nd the suspension proceedings would activate and once that started there was no way around the fines and formal court appeals.
When I hung up the phone from the work call Ellen rustled us both into the car and we began the Hail Mary drive to the Illinois Motor Vehicle headquarters in Springfield.
At noon, an hour and a half later we arrived and headed inside in hopes of “all green lights.” All green lights was exactly what awaited us inside. I submitted the paperwork from Colorado to clear Mr Bolian’s record, and the woman from traffic division called her coworker in Fraud who came down and after looking over everything and a short conversation returned to her office.
A few minutes later I was walking out of the Motor Vehicles Division and headed to Portillo’s to celebrate. The suspension was rescinded and all fraud charges were dropped, with no filing fees or fines.
As much of a headache as the entire process of being caught in a interstate clerical debacle was I was so thankful for every DMV and Court employee who worked together to walk me through to getting the order of suspension dropped.
Oh, and about that t-shirt. It was the cherry on top of how magically everything went once in Springfield. Apparently the Universe wanted to gift me a free Portillo’s T-shirt , and all I needed to do was complete a simple 3 minute survey about my dining experience… which never would have happened if I wasn’t Springfield on a random Thursday. That tee shirt, we’ll it almost made the entire fiasco a wash 😉.