What is the difference between a suspension and revocation?
A suspension is the loss of driving privileges for a temporary and specific period of time. After the suspension ends, a person is reinstated upon payment of the required reinstatement fee. A revocation is the loss of driving privileges indefinitely. A person cannot drive again until granted driving privileges after appearing at a hearing before the Secretary of State.
Certain offenses may result in a suspension while more serious offenses may result in a revocation. Examples of offenses which will result in a suspension include: 3 or more minor moving violations within a 12 month period; Possession of a driver's license or ID card belonging to another; Fleeing and eluding a police officer, etc.
Examples of offenses which will result in revocation include: conviction of DUI; leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death or personal injury; drag racing, etc.
Is it difficult is it to get my drivers license back after a DUI conviction?
Secretary of State rules are complicated and applications for driving relief are denied at a very high rate. Speaking with an experienced attorney is highly recommended for anyone seeking to obtain driving privileges after a revocation, particularly based on DUI. The Secretary of State's office will not grant driving privileges until it is satisfied that you are not a risk to the public safety. The burden of proving this is on you and, therefore, the State does not have to prove that you are a risk. Instead, you have to demonstrate that you are not a risk. This is an extremely difficult burden for most people to meet, especially those who have been arrested for one or more DUIs.
How do I prove that I am not a risk to public safety?
Several factors are considered by the Secretary of State's office in the case of a DUI offender in determining whether he or she is a risk. For example, the State will consider the alcohol/drug evaluation and treatment documentation completed by a State-licensed program in addition to your testimony before a Secretary of State hearing officer.
The evaluation and your testimony will address issues such as the facts and circumstances of your DUI arrest(s). This includes why you were stopped, how much you drank on the occasion(s), your perception as to whether you were intoxicated, the results of any alcohol/drug breath, blood or urine test(s), your alcohol/drug use history, the reasons why you would typically drink or use drugs in the past and whether your treatment adequately addressed any underlying reasons for alcohol and/or drug abuse.
Why could the Secretary of State deny me driving relief?
The Secretary of State has adopted technical and complex rules. The failure to comply with any of these rules may result in a denial of your application for driving privileges. Many of these hearings are contested. You are placed under oath and subject to cross-examination by an attorney representing the Secretary of State's office and subject to further questioning by a hearing officer. You may be denied if your testimony does not satisfy the hearing officer or is inconsistent with the information contained in your alcohol/drug evaluation.
You may be denied even if your testimony is consistent with the alcohol/drug evaluation and other documentation you present to the hearing officer, but the hearing officer believes that the information is not consistent with your arrest history, results of any chemical tests (i.e., brea test, etc.) or other informatio
How long does it take to get a hearing and a decision on my application?
This depends, in part, on what type of hearing is required in your situation. The Secretary of State's rules distinguish between two types of hearings: formal and informal. Generally, if you have more than one statutory summary suspension (for failing or refusing a breath, blood or urine test) or DUI conviction arising out separate DUI offenses you are required to have a formal hearing. You must also have a formal hearing if the offense involved a death or if you seek a modification or recission of your suspension or revocation.
Under Illinois law, the Secretary of State must schedule a formal hearing to be held within 90 days of the request and the decision must be issued within 90 days of the hearing. If you are eligible for an informal hearing, you do not need to request a hearing and may simply go to a local Secretary of State facility and have a hearing. An appointment is not required. A response from the Secretary of State is generally received within 4-6 weeks.
Will I get my full license back or do I have to drive on a hardship license first?
Even if you are eligible to be considered for full reinstatement, under Secretary of State rules, you will first be granted a restricted driving permit ('RDP') if you are successful at a hearing. An RDP is commonly known as a 'hardship license'. Generally, there are 3 types of hardship permits: work, medical and educational. The Secretary of State uses hardship relief as a type of probationary permit. Under the rules, you are required to drive on the permit for a minimum of 75% of the time for which it is issued before you can be considered for full reinstatement. In most cases the permit is issued for 12 months, which means you must drive on it for 9 months before you can request full reinstatement.
It is important to note that if you are revoked and drive successfully on a permit, you must still first have another hearing before the Secretary of State before full reinstatement.
Will I have to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device ('BAIID') installed on my vehicle?
Generally, there are 2 types of revoked drivers who must have a BAIID device installed on their vehicle while driving on a RDP. First, if you have received any combination of 2 or more suspensions or revocations within a 10 year period which arise separately out of multiple DUIs; or, second, if you have at least 2 convictions for DUI any time in your life you must have a BAIID device installed on your vehicle. There are limited exemptions to the BAIID requirement. These exemptions are generally related to persons who drive employer owned or leased vehicles.
Do I need a lawyer?
You have the right to an attorney but are not required to have a lawyer represent you through the Secretary of State hearing process. However, it is highly recommended that you have an experienced lawyer who concentrates in this area of the law.
An experienced attorney will guide you through the entire process. This includes obtaining and reviewing your driving record, reviewing your arrest history, your complete alcohol/drug use history, obtaining and reviewing any prior hearing records, preparing you for and representing you at the hearing.
If I have already had a hearing and have been denied, can a lawyer still help me?
Yes, your attorney should obtain all of your prior hearing records and determine what specific issues need to be addressed. An experienced attorney will then prepare written instructions to address these issues with you, the evaluator and the treatment provider. The attorney will prepare you for and represent you at your hearing.
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