Illinois Driver’s License Hearings

Preparing for Your Secretary of State Hearing

Suspension and revocation of a driver’s license can be a complex and confusing process. Seeking an attorney with experience handling driver’s license reinstatements can increase the chances of advantageous result. A local law firm that focuses on reinstatement proceedings can better serve you.  Specifically, for DUI convictions, the amount of time a license is revoked increases with the more convictions an individual has.

DUIs carry harsh punishments in Illinois. These may include jail time, fees, suspension, or revocation of your driver’s license. To be considered from reinstatement or a restricted driving permit, you will be required to complete various requirement to be considered eligible.

Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be seeking reinstatement or a Restricted Driving Permit (“RDP”). Sometimes a RDP may require a showing of hardship that would be caused by their loss of driving privileges. These may include situations like losing a job or medical necessity.

The standards for obtaining a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) are high and DUI offenders bear the burden of showing eligibility to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (“BAIID”) installed in their cars. The process requires detailed preparation, and you will want to err on the side of caution, even over-preparing for the hearing.

If you have had your license suspended or revoked contact our attorneys at Lawler Brown Law Firm to see what options you may have.

Basic Preparation for Your Secretary of State Hearing

There are different types of hearings: safety responsibility, informal, formal, and alcohol/drug-related hearings. In an alcohol or drug-related hearing, an individual will receive a classification level that can add additional requirements. The different levels of risk classifications are minimal, moderate, significant, high risk dependent or high risk non-dependent.

An informal hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who will ask questions about your driving record, any history of drugs or alcohol, and about your evaluation. These hearings are conducted for less severe offenses. It could result in driving privileges being reinstated or a RDP.

A formal hearing is like a trial. Your attorney will have the opportunity to present your case by asking information about your driving record, the arrest, your drug and alcohol evaluation and remedial program and anything else of importance. A prosecutor for the Secretary of State and a hearing officer will be present and can cross-examine you.

You are expected to address some basic issues at the reinstatement hearing. Prior to the hearing, you should consult an attorney to help you understand the requirements and determine how best you can prepare. The following are some general topics:

  • Review of your entire driving record but especially:
    • Suspension/revocation of license
    • Prior DUI’s
    • Eligibility for Restricted Driving Permit (‘RDP’) or
    • Full reinstatement of driver’s license after paying a fee
    • Substance abuse documentation
      • A drug/alcohol evaluation must be completed 6 months prior to the hearing
      • If the evaluation is more than 6 months old, you must obtain a new or updated evaluation
      • Substance abuse treatment information
    • Driver’s testimony regarding DUI arrest
    • Review circumstances of each DUI arrest
    • Show how treatment and rehabilitation changed your drinking patterns
    • Show you are unlikely to relapse
    • Denial order from prior hearing (if applicable)
    • Review denial letter containing reasons for denial
    • Address and remedy all these concerns in new evaluation and testimony

Avoiding Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License Charges: Violations of a license withdrawal could damage the chances of a partial or full reinstatement.

Illinois Out-of-State Driver's License Reinstatement

An Illinois license hold will prevent you from obtaining a license in another state. Non-Illinois residents who have experienced a DUI arrest in Illinois are subject to the same rules and driver's license reinstatement procedures as in-state residents. Yet, out-of-state residents that Illinois has revoked, face several additional challenges to remove the hold that Illinois has on their license. Among these issues are the following:

Removing the Illinois driver’s license hold

An individual who resides in another state with an Illinois hold must apply to the Illinois Secretary of State for driving relief due to an Illinois revocation. Thereafter, obtain a reinstatement order from the Secretary of State which will clear the individual to obtain a license in their own state.

Out-of-State Packet: Any person who resides outside the Illinois border may have an in-person hearing but also has the option of dealing with the process through the mail by submitting an "out-of-state packet". It will contain all of the documents that need to be submitted to the Secretary of State.

Paperwork and the Hearing Itself: The applicant is required to complete affidavits and submit other specific information at the time of the hearing. The Secretary of State is strict about the documentation that must be included before they will even begin the hearing. The Secretary of State may otherwise reject the submissions, requiring more work. The process can be slow and highly frustrating without an attorney’s help.

Driver’s License Restoration Procedure

A typical in state restoration process has the following steps. First, you should contact an attorney to review your case and potential eligibility. Then, the attorney will assist in compiling the necessary paperwork for the hearing. The offense that led to suspension or revocation will determine whether you will have an informal or formal hearing. Once you have attended the hearing, the hearing officer’s recommendation is reviewed, and the State will make a determination.

To have your driver’s license restored, there are a few conditions that are required such as a clean driving record, a substance evaluation, and a remedial education program. The nature of the offense will determine the type of hearing you will receive. You will need to demonstrate a restoration of your driving privileges would not be a danger to the public. To get your license back, you will need to pass a license exam, pay a fee and prove financial responsibility.

Proving you are not a danger to the public is an important part of driver’s license reinstatement, especially for a DUI. The details of the incident and your history with alcohol or drugs will be the focus of the hearing. Whether you have taken steps to change harmful behaviors and get treatment indicates responsibility and willingness to pursue recovery.

Releasing Illinois Hold on Out-of-State License

To release a hold on an out-of-state license, you must submit a petition, pay a non-refundable $50 fee and attend a formal hearing. The Illinois Secretary of State will require reinstatement eligibility in Illinois. If you have an out-of-state lifetime revocation, the Illinois Secretary of State will not grant Illinois driving privileges.

Preparing for Your Secretary of State Hearing

Treatment and Relapse History

If the license suspension or revocation is related to drugs or alcohol, the State will require proof of treatment. Even if the drug and alcohol evaluation did not suggest treatment, you will need to complete the remedial treatment program.