Challenging an Illinois Secretary of State Decision

The driver’s license attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have successfully represented thousands of drivers seeking restoration of their Illinois driving license. This includes drivers who live in Illinois as well as drivers who live in other states and cannot obtain a license where they live until their license is reinstated in Illinois. While there are a variety of scenarios, these cases often involve drivers who have had their driver’s license revoked after having been convicted of DUI (or multiple DUIs).

In Illinois, drivers who have a revoked driver’s license must request a hearing in order to seek driving privileges. In most cases, this is done through a formal hearing, where a hearing officer presides over the case and the Illinois Secretary of State is represented by a hearing representative. If the driver has a suspended driver’s license and wishes to seek driving privileges prior to the end of their license suspension, he or she is also required to have a hearing.

Often, drivers who have previously had a hearing before the Secretary of State and are denied reinstatement or a driving permit come to our lawyers for assistance in challenging the decision that they received. Typically, our law firm can help these individuals by addressing the issues that arose at their hearing. Our driver’s license attorneys are frequently able to obtain a favorable decision on their behalf after a new hearing.

Administrative Review of Hearing Decisions

Despite the fact that most cases can be resolved at a hearing, the decision of the Secretary of State is subject to review and reversal in the Circuit Court. In Illinois, this process is known as administrative review.

In order to seek judicial or court review of a decision from the Secretary of State, the driver must file a Complaint for Administrative Review within 35 days of when the denial order is served on the driver. The Secretary of State is represented in court by the Attorney General’s office which will file a complete record of the hearing with the court, including all exhibits and a transcript of the testimony taken at the hearing.

The court will not consider any new evidence. Instead, the court is limited to the record that was made at the administrative hearing. If the court requires additional evidence, it will remand or send the case back to the Secretary of State with instructions to supplement the record and take additional evidence on whatever issue it has identified.

Decisions of the Secretary of State are presumed under the law to be correct and, therefore, the court will not reverse the decision unless it is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence or contrary to law. Simply put, this means that if there is sufficient evidence to support the Secretary of State’s decision to deny driving privileges, even if a reasonable person could disagree, the order will be upheld.

In the event that the court decides to reverse the decision of the Secretary of State and grant driving privileges, the State may still appeal, which can be a frustrating prospect.

As discussed, in the great majority of these cases, a favorable decision can still be obtained at a hearing, even if you received a denial in the past, without going to court. This avoids the time, expense, uncertainty and frustration of seeking relief through the circuit court. Having professional legal representation is strongly encouraged.

Contact our Illinois Driver’s License Attorneys

The driver’s license restoration lawyers at The Davis Law Group, P.C. are leaders in Secretary of State law. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients throughout Illinois and those who reside out-of-state. For more information, visit our License Reinstatement FAQ page. Contact us today through our contact form or by calling us at (847) 390-8500 for a free initial consultation.