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Out-of-State Hearings FAQ

I live out of state, can I apply for reinstatement of my Illinois driver’s license?

Yes, you can apply for reinstatement of your Illinois driver’s license if you live out-of-state. The driver's license attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have represented hundreds of out-of-state clients before the Illinois Secretary of State. Clearing your driver’s license revocation in Illinois may allow you to apply for privileges in your new state of residence. There is more than one way to apply for driving privileges and we will recommend the course of action that will give you the greatest chance of success.

Will I have to return to Illinois for an in-person hearing or is an out-of-state packet sufficient?

You may either come to Illinois for an in-person hearing or submit an out-of-state packet. Depending on your specific circumstances, The Davis Law Group, P.C. will advise you on the best course of action.

What is a non-resident/out-of-state hearing packet?

A non-resident/out-of-state packet includes all of the documents to be submitted to the Illinois Secretary of State by an individual residing outside of Illinois and seeking the reinstatement of driving privileges in Illinois (in lieu of an in-person hearing).

It is important to remember that the standards imposed by the Secretary of State in determining whether or not relief should be granted are the same as those required of persons appearing before a hearing officer in-person.

As a result, anyone choosing to submit an out-of-state packet instead of personally appearing before a hearing officer is strongly encouraged to obtain the representation of an attorney.

Do I need to go through the Illinois hearing process if I wish to obtain a license in a different state?

If your license or driving privileges are revoked in Illinois and you live out-of-state, you will generally still need to apply for reinstatement through the Illinois Secretary of State even if you have no plans to drive in Illinois in the future.

Typically, when you apply for a drivers’ license in the state where you currently reside, the Illinois revocation will be displayed in that state’s electronic system. In most cases, the Illinois revocation of your license will prevent your current state from issuing a license to you until you clear your revocation in Illinois. This procedure prevents a person who is revoked in one state from simply moving to another state to obtain a license in that state.

If previously denied, can I reapply for driving privileges?

The attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. are experienced in helping previously denied clients regain their driving privileges. Using your prior Secretary of State denial, evaluation and treatment documents, we will be able to determine where the previous hearing went wrong and why you were denied driving privileges. While reviewing the documents, we typically find that driving privileges were denied because of inconsistencies between testimony given at the Secretary of State and what is recorded in the evaluation and treatment documentation. We must clear up and properly address these inconsistencies at a new hearing.

My driver’s license was recently revoked due to an old DUI [i.e. twenty years ago], do I still need to go through the Secretary of State hearing process?

Even for an old DUI, Illinois requires that an in-person hearing or an out-of-state packet be completed in order to regain driving privileges. Many old out-of-state DUI’s that were never reported to Illinois are now showing up years later because of the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS). This relatively new system is a national database that relays information between states on problem drivers. If you have a license in the current state you live in, the database may reveal the revocation in Illinois and subject you to cancellation in your home state. The “hold” from the Illinois Secretary of State must be cleared for you to renew your current driver’s license or obtain a new license in your resident state. We will obtain the PDPS records in preparation for your Secretary of State hearing.

Can I use any evaluator or treatment provider from the state I currently live in?

Generally, the Secretary of State will accept any evaluator or treatment provider. If licensed in the state where you reside, we will work with your evaluator to eliminate potential issues and problems that often arise. If you will be using an out-of-state evaluator, we will contact the evaluator to verify that they are aware of all Illinois Secretary of State requirements.

If I completed treatment for a DUI many years ago, do I need to complete treatment again?

Usually not. We will determine how to proceed based on multiple factors including the number of prior DUI arrests, when those arrests occurred, and the treatment already completed.

Do I need to have a lawyer represent me?

You have the right to an attorney but are not required to have a lawyer represent you in the out-of-state hearing process. However, it is highly recommended that you have legal counsel who is experienced and concentrates in this complex area of the law. Our office will guide you through the entire process from start to finish. We will obtain and review your driving record and arrest history, complete alcohol/drug use history, and [if applicable] obtain and review of all of your prior hearing records or denial orders. Our office will only agree to represent you if, in our professional opinion, we believe that we can obtain a successful result in your case. If we agree to proceed, we will provide you with detailed written instructions as to the specific steps to follow. We will review all of your documentation prior to submission and make certain that they meet all Secretary of State requirements. We will address any issues with your evaluator or treatment provider and verify they are resolved prior to submission. All questions you have will be answered promptly and accurately.

I cannot obtain a license where I currently live until I clear up my Illinois revocation. However, I am not yet eligible to be considered for reinstatement in Illinois. Can I obtain a hardship license?

Typically, you cannot apply for a hardship license unless you are a resident of Illinois. The only exception to this rule is if you have a valid license in the state where you reside, you can then apply for a hardship license if you have a need to drive in Illinois.

I live in another state that is willing to give me a license but only if I can get my Illinois revocation terminated. I have no intention of returning to Illinois in the future. Why won’t Illinois remove my revocation if my home state does not have a problem letting me drive?

Unfortunately, the law in Illinois is clear. Once you are revoked in Illinois for DUI, either because the offense occurred here or occurred in another state and was reported here, you must go through the hearing process and satisfy Illinois that you are not a risk. The fact that you do not intend to ever return to Illinois is irrelevant to the Secretary of State.

I am applying for reinstatement in Illinois as an out-of-state resident through the mail. There is a strong chance that I will be returning to Illinois in the future, but I don’t know when. When I come back, what will I need to do?

If you return to Illinois within 3-years of being granted reinstatement and apply for an Illinois license, you will be required to go through an in-person hearing with the Secretary of State.

If you are subject to the lifetime revocation law, because you have had 4 or more convictions for DUI, you will not be eligible to hold an Illinois license and will need to go through the hearing process before the Secretary of State and, if approved, will only be able to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) subject to Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) requirements.

I have a lifetime revocation in Illinois, but I live in another state and cannot get a license where I live because of the Illinois revocation. Can I ever get my license reinstated?

Out-of-state residents who are revoked for life in Illinois may apply for a hearing to terminate the revocation after a period of 10 years from the last order of revocation on their driving record.

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Client Reviews
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. M.M.
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.
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.
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.
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.