Formal Hearing vs. Informal Hearing

Formal Hearings

A formal hearing is required for a driver whose privileges have been suspended or revoked for an offense(s) involving a fatality or multiple DUI dispositions. A formal hearing request must be made in writing through U.S. mail. Faxes or email requests are not accepted. Petitioners are eligible for a subsequent hearing 90 days after their most recent hearing.

 

A hearing officer presides at a formal hearing at which both testimony and documentary evidence is heard. The officer is authorized to rule on all motions, administer oaths, subpoena witnesses or documents at the request of any party, examine witnesses and rule upon the admissibility of evidence. An order reflecting the recommendation of the hearing officer and the decision of the Secretary of State's office is issued. Decisions from a formal hearing are subject to the Administrative Review Law.

 

By law, a Formal Hearing Request must be accompanied by a non-refundable $50 filing fee in the form of a check, money order or credit card payable to Secretary of State. Cash is not accepted. Upon receipt of a Formal Hearing Request and the filing fee, a hearing will be scheduled and a Notice of Hearing will be mailed to the petitioner. If a request is received without the required fee, the request will be returned and a hearing will not be scheduled

 

This formal hearing is a contested proceeding before a hearing officer. During the hearing, the Secretary of State is represented by an attorney. The petitioner is permitted to have an attorney and it is highly recommended. During the hearing, the petitioner will be subject to aggressive questions not only by the attorney for the State, by also form the hearing officer. Failure to have experienced legal representation will often will result in a denial of relief.

 

Proper documentation is key to these hearings. The State will be reviewing your alcohol and drug evaluation, all treatment documentation and any support group or abstinent documents that are required.

 

At the completion of the hearing, the State has 90 days to provide you with an answer or approval or denial, although it typically takes less time than that. You will receive that written response via U.S. Mail. If denied, you may sit for another hearing as long as 90 days has passed since your last hearing. The subsequent hearing must address any issues that the hearing officer had during your original hearing.

 

Our office will handle your Formal Hearing at the Joliet location:

  • Joliet – 54 N. Ottawa St., 4th Fl., Joliet, IL 60432

Informal Hearings

An informal hearing is required for a driver whose privileges have been suspended or revoked for an offense(s) not involving a fatality, a single DUI disposition or for sanctions related to lesser moving violations. An informal hearing is conducted by an informal hearing officer at select Driver Services facilities. Informal hearings are held on a walk-in basis, no appointment is necessary. Informal hearings may result in the issuance of a Restricted Driving Permit or full reinstatement of driving privileges.

 

An informal hearing requires the driver submit to an interview with the informal hearing officer. You should have a local Joliet drivers license reinstatement lawyer with you at this hearing. Typically the interview will require you to answer questions not only about your current use of alcohol or drugs, but also a detailed explanation will be required of your past use history. The informal hearing officer will review in detail all your previous alcohol related offenses, including those that didn't result in a suspension or revocation of your license. It's vital to the success of your hearing that you don't minimize your previous use history and that you are able to convey your lifestyle changes since those violations, thus assuring the informal hearing officer these types of offenses won't be committed again. 

 

As with the formal hearing process, you will be required to provide an alcohol / drug evaluation and show proof of any classes that were required. Additional documentation may be required on a case by case basis. Our office has years of experience presenting these cases to the informal hearing officer in Joliet and will expertly guide you through this process. 

 

Once the interview has been completed, the hearing officer will review all answers given at the hearing along with documentation you submitted, ultimately recommending what type of driving relief should be granted. All this documentation and the recommendation of the informal hearing officer is submitted to Springfield for final approval. You will be notified by mail of the decision which typically takes about four (4) weeks to receive.