Formal and Informal Illinois Secretary of State Hearings

St. Charles

If you are convicted of a DUI, you can face severe penalties - expensive fines, jail time, and the loss of your driving privileges. In Illinois, you do not have to be convicted of DUI for the state to suspend your driver’s license. If you fail or refuse to submit to a breath or blood test of your blood-alcohol content, your driver’s license may automatically be suspended for at least six months. If you are a convicted first-time DUI offender, there is a minimum driver’s license revocation of one year. 

Getting your driver’s license back can be complicated, in part because you are required to attend a Secretary of State hearing before your privileges will be reinstated. There are two types of Secretary of State hearings: informal and formal. The hearing you are asked to attend depends on the circumstances surrounding your DUI. It is critical to know what hearing you must attend, as the requirements for both hearings are different.

Informal Hearings

Informal Secretary of State hearings are much less formal and rigid than formal hearings. You are required to attend an informal hearing if:

  • Your DUI offense did not involve a fatality;
  • You have one DUI charge on your record; or
  • You had your license suspended or revoked for a lesser moving violation.

You do not need an appointment for an informal hearing. You can simply go to certain Driver Services facilities and request your hearing, which will be conducted that day. The informal hearing officer will submit all documentation to the main office in Springfield and a decision will be mailed to you.

Formal Hearings

As its name suggests, formal hearings are more serious and have a few more requirements than informal hearings. You must attend a formal hearing if:

  • Your DUI offense involved a fatality; or
  • You have more than one DUI charge.

Before you can attend a formal hearing, you must request one in writing and send it through the mail. In addition to the request, you must also mail $50 for the filing fee, or your request will be returned to you.

Formal hearings are only conducted at four locations throughout the state: Springfield, Chicago, Joliet, and Mt. Vernon. A formal hearing officer will listen to your reasons why you deserve to have driving privileges again, but you must support these reasons with documentary evidence. You may also support your claim with testimony from witnesses. At the conclusion of the formal hearing, you will receive a decision.

Have a Naperville Driver’s License Reinstatement Attorney By Your Side

Secretary of State hearings can be complicated and intimidating, especially if you are required to attend a formal hearing. At Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC, we understand how important your driver’s license is. Our skilled Illinois driver’s license reinstatement lawyers can help plead your case to the hearing officer and do everything in our power to help you get back behind the wheel. Call our office today at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free consultation.