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Being properly prepared for a driver’s license hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State is essential. Because of the complex nature of Secretary of State rules, it is important to understand the hearing procedures and requirements. Having an experienced driver’s license attorney by your side ensures that all aspects of the hearing are conducted properly and will lead to the best possible outcome.

The Secretary of State’s office conducts two types of hearings, formal hearings and informal hearings, for those seeking driving privileges after a driver’s license revocation or suspension arising out of a DUI conviction or summary suspension. In the majority of cases, a formal hearing is required.

What is a Formal Hearing?

The driver’s license attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have successfully represented thousands of drivers seeking restoration of their Illinois driving privileges. 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.

There are a variety of possible consequences resulting from a second DUI arrest in Illinois. To a large extent, the penalties depend on the outcome of your first DUI. The majority of people arrested for a first DUI receive an automatic suspension of their driver’s license for 6 or 12 months depending on whether they failed or refused chemical testing. This is referred to as the Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension law. Additionally, many first DUI arrests will result in court supervision for a period of 1 to 2 years. If you successfully complete the conditions of court supervision (e.g. payment of fines/court costs, treatment, community service, victim impact panel, etc.), a conviction will not be entered.

However, in Illinois, you can only receive court supervision for DUI once in your lifetime. As a result, this means you face limited options on a second DUI charge. You will ultimately have the choice of pleading guilty and receiving a conviction (i.e. conditional discharge or probation), pleading not guilty and going to trial or seeking a negotiated plea to reduce the DUI charge, ideally, to the offense of Reckless Driving.

Criminal Penalties of a Second DUI

While jail can often be avoided for a first time DUI in Illinois, there are a variety of factors that help determine whether any period of incarceration will be imposed. In Illinois, DUI is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine in the amount of $2,500.00 plus mandatory court assessments. The sentence may also range anywhere from court supervision to probation. Jail time can only be imposed if you are convicted of the DUI offense. 

Penalties of a First DUI 

A first offender who is found guilty after trial or pleads guilty to a DUI may be sentenced to court supervision. Court supervision is not a conviction under Illinois law, meaning that a jail sentence is not permitted. In addition, if you comply with all of the conditions of court supervision, the DUI will not go on your public record. However, court supervision for a DUI is only possible once in your lifetime.

Illinois commercial driver’s license holders are subject to enhanced license penalties when they are charged with DUI. DUI cases in Illinois generally are broken down into 2 separate parts – the Statutory Summary Suspension (“SSS”) of a driver’s license based on chemical testing and the criminal charge for DUI. Either portion of the case can impact your CDL driving privileges.

These penalties are enforced regardless of whether you were driving your personal vehicle or a commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI. The legal limit while driving your personal vehicle is a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .08, while it is .04 while driving a commercial vehicle.

What will happen to my CDL privileges?

There are several new Illinois traffic laws that have taken effect recently, which all drivers should be aware of:

Texting while Driving Resulting in Injuries

This law became effective on July 1st, 2020 and provides that drivers who text while driving resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability of disfigurement to another person are subject to a license suspension of 12 months and a minimum fine of $1,000.00.

CDL holders are often misinformed about their options after receiving a traffic ticket in Illinois. As a result, they often request court supervision or traffic school in hopes that the offense will stay off of their public driving record, only to find out later that it did not. While an attorney may be able to remedy this situation by reopening the case, it is better to handle these situations properly from the outset.

For many years, Illinois has provided a type of sentencing in traffic and criminal cases known as court supervision. Court supervision is not considered a conviction under Illinois law, and typically avoids the consequences a conviction may bring with it. 

In traffic cases, the advantage of receiving court supervision for the average driver is that it does not appear on the driver’s public record and, therefore, is not available to employers or insurance companies. Furthermore, it does not count towards a suspension or revocation of their driver’s license.

All Illinois Secretary of State facilities are currently closed to the public. Emergency rules have been enacted to extend the expiration (in certain circumstances) of driver’s licenses, driving permits including Restricted Driving Permits, ID cards, vehicle registrations, and other transactions through the period of closure and for at least 90 days after the facilities have reopened.

To be eligible for the extension of your driver’s license or permit (including Restricted Driving Permits), your license or permit must have been valid as of March 17, 2020. If your driver’s license or permit expired before this date, this extension does not apply to you.

We do expect significant delays in assigning hearing dates, decisions from hearings, processing of permit requirements, and the issuance of driving relief when the Secretary of State eventually reopens. 

DuPage County DUI Defense Attorney Case Study

The DUI defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have an unmatched understanding of the Illinois Vehicle Code, especially DUI law. Our in-depth knowledge of the law, combined with our experience in both negotiation and litigation of DUI cases, allows us to achieve the most favorable results for our clients who have been charged with driving under the influence throughout Illinois including the Wheaton Courthouse in DuPage County.

DUI Defense Case Study – DuPage County, Illinois

The Illinois laws governing teen driver’s licenses and traffic tickets can be confusing for teens and parents alike. The Illinois Secretary of State operates a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program for teen drivers. Different laws apply depending on the age of the driver, which can be found under 625 ILCS 5/6-107. Below is a breakdown of the current laws that apply to teen drivers in Illinois and the consequences of traffic tickets.

Rules for Drivers Age 15 (Instruction Permit Stage)

During the Instruction Permit Stage the teen driver:

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I wanted to let you know that I finally got my license back today. I want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. You did an amazing job and helped another person turn their life around. I will forever be indebted. Rest assured that I will refer anybody that I hear is in trouble to you guys. Thank you again. All the best.
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I want to extend my sincere gratitude for the success in getting my charges reduced. It has been a rather traumatic experience for me. Though I try to keep an optimistic outlook, it didn't seem possible. But you guys pulled it off and I couldn't be more grateful. This has been a great weight lifted off my shoulders. D.F.
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I would like to take this time to thank you for a job well done. I received my full reinstatement documents today for full driving privileges. This took me by surprise. I did not expect to see the results this fast. I just want to say that I am blessed to have a very good lawyer like yourself to guide me through the process... I am very grateful. You're the best. Thanks again. G.B.
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My special thanks for your help, guidance, and support during a most difficult time. You came recommended as "the best" and you lived up to your reputation! I wish you a lovely holiday season and a new year of challenges overcome, new joys experienced, and much fulfillment realized. All good thoughts your way. S.S.
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I am very grateful for your work and representation. Although it is difficult for me to truly express my gratitude through e-mail, I hope you can still understand how thankful I am that we were able to dismiss my case on the first court date. I am very pleased with the outcome. Again, thank you very much for your time. Please enjoy the rest of your week. D.K.
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