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Illinois - Drunk Driving Hearing

If you have been arrested and convicted of drunk driving in the state of Illinois you must petition the Secretary of State for a license reinstatement hearing. Due to the complexity of either an informal or formal hearing many drivers hire a DUI lawyer to help them with the reinstatement process.

What if I have one DUI conviction in Illinois?

  Drivers who have been convicted of only one drunk driving charge can request an informal hearing. All other drivers who have two or more Illinois drunk driving convictions must petition for a formal hearing. The formal hearing will necessitate preparation and an understanding of the process. Consider also that if you require any additional hearing they will consider all the findings and evidence from all previous license reinstatement hearings.

Illinois License Reinstatement Hearing Process

  What should you do prior to your license reinstatement hearing? You must have served the full statutory suspension, you must pay all required fines, you must have attended all necessary court hearings and you must have completed any required alcohol assessment or education classes. Approximately 14 days from the date the Secretary of State receives your license reinstatement request they will mail you notice of the time and date of your hearing. Most hearings are scheduled within 6 weeks. All hearings are conducted by a hearing officer. They will review the case evidence, a written report and all testimonies. Generally, most decisions are made within four to eight weeks from the date of the Illinois license hearing. As mentioned above, all evidence from previous hearings are considered in subsequent hearings. If you are denied there will be steps listed on the denial letter that explain what the court expects from you. If you are approved at the formal hearing the court will grant you a restricted driving permit and first time DUI offenders will be eligible for a full license reinstatement after eleven months. Second time DUI offenders will have to wait five years for a full license reinstatement. If you have had more than two drunk driving convictions you may be completely barred from getting a restricted license or you will have to wait many years for a full license reinstatement. Drivers may request a formal hearing one time every three months. All formal hearings are recorded and you will be provided detailed information about the court’s decision. Hearing decisions can be appealed to Illinois State Circuit Court.

Do I need a Drunk Driving Lawyer for my Illinois License Reinstatement Hearing?

  The hearing can be difficult without legal counsel. Not only will the hearing officer question you (you can expect dozens of questions), you will also have to provide information about all of your drunk driving arrests, your current alcohol consumption and information which you have provided on your paperwork to the court. Keep in mind the hearing officer and Secretary of State’s attorney hear hundreds of cases per year. They are experienced and knowledgeable, and they have heard every excuse that can be imagined. Do not come to the hearing unprepared. Talk to you DUI lawyer about your Illinois DUI conviction and determine whether you are considered a Level I, II or III offender. There are very specific requirements for each classification (driver risk education courses, early intervention alcohol counseling, alcohol treatment with aftercare, or outpatient counseling) which must be completed to be eligible for license reinstatement.
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