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What Is the Difference Between Formal and Informal DUI Hearings in Illinois?

Posted on February 16, 2021 in DUI

IL DUI lawyerThere are many reasons a person might have their driver’s license suspended or revoked in Illinois, such as for DUI, accumulating points on your driving record, or being cited for specific traffic offenses. Because losing your driving privileges is an administrative matter, your case will proceed according to a very specific process: A formal or informal administrative hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State. The two proceedings are distinct and apply in different situations, the nature of which depends upon the traffic violation, your driving record, and many other factors.

The details involved with either type of proceeding are extremely complex, yet they can have very profound implications for your driver’s license. Therefore, it is wise to trust a Secretary of State hearings lawyer to represent you and protect your interests. You can also read on for some basics in comparing formal and informal administrative hearings in Illinois.

Informal SOS Hearings in Illinois

As the term suggests, the rules governing this type of administrative hearing are quite relaxed. You do not need to make an appointment, so you can walk into your nearest Driver Services facility and request an informal hearing. This proceeding is only available for first-time DUI and minor traffic offenses that resulted in a suspended or revoked license. Depending upon your specific circumstances, the informal hearing may result in:

  • Issuance of a restricted driving permit
  • Reinstatement of your driver’s license
  • Court supervision, akin to probation where no conviction is entered if you comply with designated terms
  • Other outcomes

You should note that you may not receive these results at or immediately after the informal hearing, since you may be required to participate in an alcohol evaluation.

Illinois Secretary of State Formal Hearings

This process is reserved for more serious traffic offenses, including multiple DUIs, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a fatal or injury-causing accident, and collisions that lead to death. You must request an appointment for a formal hearing in advance, and there are just four locations in Illinois where these proceedings are held; for most individuals in Kane, DuPage, and Will Counties, Joliet will be the formal hearing location.

The hearing is similar to a trial, as it is presided over by an administrative law judge (ALJ) and there will be an attorney representing the state. Each side will be allowed to present arguments, evidence, and testimony. At the conclusion of the formal hearing, the ALJ will issue a ruling on the requested driving relief. If denied, you will have to wait 90 days before you can request another formal hearing, so it is essential to be prepared and have a lawyer to represent you.

Contact a DuPage County Secretary of State Hearings Attorney Today

Whether you must attend a formal or informal hearing to address loss of your driving privileges, you need experienced legal counsel at your side after a suspension or revocation. To learn how our team can assist with the proceedings, please contact the Law Office of Patricia Magana, LLC. You can set up a free initial consultation with an Aurora Secretary of State hearings lawyer who can explain how the laws work.




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Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC

1555 Bond Street, Suite 103A, Naperville, IL 60563

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