Informal Hearings

Informal Hearings Before the Secretary of State

Informal Hearings Before the Secretary of State for Restricted Driving Permits and Reinstatements
– David Winer

In Illinois there are no shortage of ways to get your license suspended or revoked. Under the Illinois Vehicle Code at 625 ILCS 5/6-206 there are currently forty five ways to have your driver’s license suspended while under section 6-205 there are thirteen ways to have your license revoked. Predictably, the list grows every year, so practitioners must constantly keep up with the myriad of ways to lose one’s driver’s license and the requirements to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or for Reinstatement. To obtain driving privileges following an Order of Suspension a petitioner must attend either a Formal or Informal Administrative hearing before the Secretary of State (SOS). While strict, the requirements to obtain an RDP a petitioner who possess a legitimate hardship and is not a risk to public safety can, with perseverance, obtain driving privileges for the limited purposes of employment, education, medical care, day care and community service. This article primarily deals with the Informal Hearing procedure in obtaining a Restricted Driving Permit.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUSPENSION AND REVOCATION

Suspension

A suspension is a temporary withdrawal of a petitioner’s driving privileges for a determined period of time, as such it, has a beginning and end date. The Secretary of State determines the length of the suspension based on the type of offense, prior driving history, age of the driver and other factors. If the driver does not receive a conviction for a moving violation during that period the suspension will simply end on the termination date upon timely payment of a reinstatement fee. The amount of the reinstatement fee varies depending on the type of suspension.

Revocation

In contrast, a revocation is indefinite, and unless the petitioner requests a SOS hearing he will never be valid to drive. A revocation does not automatically terminate even though there is an eligibility date set forth on the Notice of Revocation. Moreover, a Petitioner must wait until the eligibility date before he can petition for full reinstatement, but he can request an Restricted Driving Permit before that date. Without a hearing, the driving privileges will remain indefinitely revoked.

DATES FOR ELIGIBILITY ON SUSPENSIONS

Restricted Driving Permit (RDP)

Generally, a petitioner is eligible for an RDP upon entry of an order of suspension unless strictly prohibited by the Administrative Code. The petitioner can request a permit only for employment, medical care, recovery meetings, education, day care and community service. As soon as a Suspension Notice is received a petitioner may request a hearing even before the suspension actually takes effect.

Full Reinstatement

The date for full reinstatement is set forth in a Notice of Suspension which is mailed to the driver by the Secretary of State, and lists the exact starting and ending date of the suspension. Assuming the driver does not receive any traffic convictions that lengthen the suspension, upon payment of a reinstatement fee their license is becomes valid on the termination date.

INFORMAL HEARINGS

An Informal Hearing is conducted on a walk-in basis at select Secretary of State offices as not every facility has a Hearing Officer. So a practitioner must check the location and available hours of a Hearing Officer. Upon arrival at, the SOS office, there are several documents that must be filled out by the petitioner then you wait until the case is called and proceed to the hearing room. Unlike a Formal Hearing, the Informal Hearings are conducted by the Hearing Officer who makes the inquiry from a prepared SOS form. It is very important that the petitioner’s testimony be consistent with any submitted documentation. Following examination by the Hearing Officer the attorney can attempt to correct any missing, misleading or misunderstood testimony. The attorney’s primary role is assisting the client to have all the proper documentation and prepare him for the potential examination questions.

Unlike a Formal Hearing, there is no record of the proceedings and therefore an appeal cannot be filed. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will submit the factual findings and recommendation to the Department of Administrative Hearings in Springfield for final review and decision. Generally, within four to eight weeks a written Order is prepared and sent to petitioner and counsel. If the petitioner is denied he must have another hearing to remedy the specific reasons set forth by the Secretary of State.

Non-Alcohol Related Suspensions

The most common suspension is for too many moving violations, possession of false identification or providing false information to the Secretary of State in obtaining a license or state ID card. (See below list for all the suspendable offenses) At the Hearing the petitioner must (1) submit any letters regarding character, employment, day care, school schedule and hardship, (2) provide a plausible and acceptable reason for the past offense(s) that lead to the suspension, (3) convince the Hearing officer that they have reformed their driving habits and (4) will abide by all the regulations set forth in an Restricted Driving Permit. Practitioners must keep a full copy of all the tendered documents because if the permit is denied all the documents may likely be resubmitted at a subsequent hearing.

Alcohol Related Suspensions (Non-DUI)

Non-DUI alcohol related suspensions are typically for minor consumption or possession of alcohol. Even if a Minor receives Court Supervision for consumption or possession of alcohol his license will be suspended for a minimum of three to a maximum of twelve months depending in on their prior background. For these suspensions, an “Investigative Evaluation” must be completed which is a less comprehensive version of the “Uniform Evaluation” required for Driving Under the Influence arrests. Upon completion of the Investigative Evaluation and any recommended classes the driver can petition for a Restricted Driving Permit. The Evaluation must be conducted by an OASA licensed evaluator and the original signed evaluation and treatment documents must be submitted to the Hearing Officer.

First Offense Driving Under the Influence Revocations

A driver convicted (as opposed to Supervision) for a first time DUI is eligible for an Informal Hearing if he does not have a prior DUI Court Supervision, Summary Suspension or Reckless Driving on his driving record. Commonly this occurs when an Illinois driver receives an out of state DUI charge. Unlike Illinois, other states do not have Court Supervision and therefore a conviction is sent to Illinois and a revocation is entered. A conviction for a first time DUI can also be entered if a driver with an Illinois DUI has his supervision revoked, fails to appear in court or get a conviction on a trial or plea of guilty. In this situation the driver must obtain a Uniform Evaluation and complete any recommended classes. All Evaluations must be completed within six months of the hearing date. If it is older than six months, the same agency that performed the original evaluation or the treatment should provide a new Updated Evaluation. However, a different agency may perform the evaluation if the original agency has ceased operating and a new agency has assumed its files. The petitioner does have the right to obtain a completely new evaluation from another OASA licensed agency. However, if a new agency completes the evaluation it should prepare a full Uniform Evaluation, Treatment Needs Assessment and chronological drinking history. If no further treatment is required a Treatment Waiver should also be included.

UNDUE HARDSHIP

TO obtain driving privileges for any type of suspensions a petitioner must additionally show an “Undue Hardship” due to the loss of his license. To do so the petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence a lack of reasonable alternatives to driving, such as public transportation, rides from others, cabs, walking etc, and that the lack of transportation poses a serious threat to their employment. Mere inconvenience does not constitute an undue hardship. It is good practice to prove an undue hardship by submitting a letter from the petitioner’s employer noting possible termination of employment or a serious loss of income due to lack of advancement, promotion, a reduction in hours and so forth. As it relates to school, recovery meetings, day care or community service the petitioner must testify and/or present other evidence to the distance travelled, unavailability of alternate transportation and the inability to fulfill those tasks without an RDP.

ISSUANCE ON A RESTRICTED DRIVING PERMIT

If the SOS grants a Restricted Driving Permit, it will mail the petitioner a list of requirements to fulfill. These must be completed within a specified period of time or the permit will be canceled. An RDP may be issued for more than one purpose and will be limited to the times, dates, hours, and specified radius. The petitioner’s underlying driving privileges will remain suspended except for the purposes specified on the permit. Any traffic offense or violations of the terms in the permit may result in the cancellation or extension of the permit. It is critical to obey all the traffic laws and specifications of the RDP.

REINSTATEMENT

When the petitioner is eligible for reinstatement following a suspension he does not need to have another hearing. As mentioned above, barring any traffic convictions the suspension will simply end on the termination date provided the reinstatement is timely paid.

*The Administrative Rules for Secretary of State Hearings are found at 92 Ill. Admin. Code Ch. II Sec. 1001, et seq.*

SUSPENSIONS: Sec. 6 206. Discretionary authority to suspend or revoke license or permit.

(a) The Secretary of State is authorized to suspend or revoke the driving privileges of any person without preliminary hearing upon a showing of the person’s records or other sufficient evidence that the person:

1). Has committed an offense for which mandatory revocation of a license is required upon conviction;

2). Has been convicted of not less than 3 offenses against traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles committed within any 12 month period. No revocation or suspension shall be entered more than 6 months after the date of last conviction;

3). Has been repeatedly involved as a driver in motor vehicle collisions or has been repeatedly convicted of offenses against laws and ordinances regulating the movement of traffic, to a degree that indicates lack of ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable care in the safe operation of a motor vehicle or disrespect for the traffic laws and the safety of other persons upon the highway;

4). Has by the unlawful operation of a motor vehicle caused or contributed to an accident resulting in death or injury requiring immediate professional treatment in a medical facility or doctor’s office to any person, except that any suspension or revocation imposed by the Secretary of State under the provisions of this subsection shall start no later than 6 months after being convicted of violating a law or ordinance regulating the movement of traffic, which violation is related to the accident, or shall start not more than one year after the date of the accident, whichever date occurs later;

5). Has permitted an unlawful or fraudulent use of a driver’s license, identification card, or permit;

6). Has been convicted of an offense or offenses in another state, including the authorization contained in Section 6-203.1, which if committed within this State would be grounds for suspension or revocation;

7). Has refused or failed an examination provided for by Section 6-207 or has failed to pass the examination;

8). Is ineligible for a driver’s license or permit under the provisions of Section 6-103;

9). Has made a false statement or knowingly concealed a material fact or has used false information or identification in any application for a license, identification card, or permit;

10). Has possessed, displayed, or attempted to fraudulently use any license, identification card, or permit not issued to the person;

11). Has operated a motor vehicle upon a highway of this State when the person’s driving privilege or privilege to obtain a driver’s license or permit was revoked or suspended unless the operation was authorized by a monitoring device driving permit, judicial driving permit issued prior to January 1, 2009, probationary license to drive, or a restricted driving permit issued under this Code;

12). Has submitted to any portion of the application process for another person or has obtained the services of another person to submit to any portion of the application process for the purpose of obtaining a license, identification card, or permit for some other person;

13). Has operated a motor vehicle upon a highway of this State when the person’s driver’s license or permit was invalid under the provisions of Sections 6-107.1 and 6-110;

14). Has committed a violation of Section 6-301, 6-301.1, or 6-301.2 of this Act, or Section 14, 14A, or 14B of the Illinois Identification Card Act;

15). Has been convicted of violating Section 21-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 relating to criminal trespass to vehicles in which case, the suspension shall be for one year;

16). Has been convicted of violating Section 11-204 of this Code relating to fleeing from a peace officer;

17). Has refused to submit to a test, or tests, as required under Section 11-501.1 of this Code and the person has not sought a hearing as provided for in Section 11-501.1;

18). Has, since issuance of a driver’s license or permit, been adjudged to be afflicted with or suffering from any mental disability or disease;

19). Has committed a violation of par. (a) or (b) of Sec. 6-101 relating driving without a driver’s license;

20). Has been convicted of violating Section 6-104 relating to classification of driver’s license;

21). Has been convicted of violating Section 11-402 of this Code relating to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle in excess of $1,000, in which case the suspension shall be for one year;

22). Has used a motor vehicle in violating par.(3) (4)(7) or (9) of subsec. (a) of Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 relating to unlawful use of weapons, in which case the suspension shall be for one year;

23). Has, as a driver, been convicted of committing a violation of paragraph (a) of Section 11-502 of this Code for a second or subsequent time within one year of a similar violation;

24). Has been convicted by a court-martial or punished by non-judicial punishment by military authorities of the United States at a military installation in Illinois of or for a traffic related offense that is the same as or similar to an offense specified under Section 6-205 or 6-206 of this Code;

25). Has permitted any form of identification to be used by another in the application process in order to obtain or attempt to obtain a license, identification card, or permit;

26). Has altered or attempted to alter a license or possessed an altered license, identification card, or permit;

27). Has violated Section 6-16 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934;

28). Has been convicted of the illegal possession, while operating or in actual physical control, as a driver, of a motor vehicle, of any controlled substance prohibited under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, any cannabis prohibited under the Cannabis Control Act, or any methamphetamine prohibited under the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, in which case the person’s driving privileges shall be suspended for one year, and any driver who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense, within 5 years of a previous conviction, for the illegal possession, while operating or in actual physical control, as a driver, of a motor vehicle, of any controlled substance prohibited under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, any cannabis prohibited under the Cannabis Control Act, or any methamphetamine prohibited under the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act shall be suspended for 5 years. Any defendant found guilty of this offense while operating a motor vehicle, shall have anentry made in the court record by the presiding judge that this offense did occur while the defendant was operating a motor vehicle and order the clerk of the court to report the violation to the Secretary of State;

29). Has been convicted of the following offenses that were committed while the person was operating or in actual physical control, as a driver, of a motor vehicle: criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, juvenile pimping, soliciting for a juvenile prostitute and the manufacture, sale or delivery of controlled substances or instruments used for illegal drug use or abuse in which case the driver’s driving privileges shall be suspended for one year;

30). Has been convicted a second or subsequent time for any combination of the offenses named in paragraph 29 of this subsection, in which case the person’s driving privileges shall be suspended for 5 years;

31). Has refused to submit to a test as required by Section 11-501.6 or has submitted to a test resulting in an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or any amount of a drug, substance, or compound resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis as listed in the Cannabis Control Act, a controlled substance as listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, an intoxicating compound as listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, in which case the penalty shall be as prescribed in Section 6-208.1;

32). Has been convicted of Section 24-1.2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 relating to the aggravated discharge of a firearm if the offender was located in a motor vehicle at the time the firearm was discharged, in which case the suspension shall be for 3 years;

33). Has as a driver, who was less than 21 years of age on the date of the offense, been convicted a first time of a violation of paragraph (a) of Section 11-502 of this Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance;

34). Has committed a violation of Section 11-1301.5 of this Code;

35). Has committed a violation of Section 11-1301.6 of this Code;

36). Is under the age of 21 years at the time of arrest and has been convicted of not less than 2 offenses against traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles committed within any 24 month period. No revocation or suspension shall be entered more than 6 months after the date of last conviction;

37). Has committed a violation of subsection (c) of Section 11-907 of this Code that resulted in damage to the property of another or the death or injury of another;

38). Has been convicted of a violation of Section 6-20 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 or a similar provision of a local ordinance;

39). Has committed a second or subsequent violation of Section 11-1201 of this Code;

40). Has committed a violation of subsection (a-1) of Section 11-908 of this Code;

41). Has committed a second or subsequent violation of Section 11-605.1 of this Code within 2 years of the date of the previous violation, in which case the suspension shall be for 90 days;

42). Has committed a violation of subsection (a-1) of Section 11-1301.3 of this Code;

43). Has received a disposition of court supervision for a violation of subsection (a), (d), or (e) of Section 6-20 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 or a similar provision of a local ordinance, in which case the suspension shall be for a period of 3 months;

44). Is under the age of 21 years at the time of arrest and has been convicted of an offense against traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles after having previously had his or her driving privileges suspended or revoked pursuant to subparagraph 36 of this Section; or

45). Has, in connection with or during the course of a formal hearing conducted under Section 2-118 of this Code: (i) committed perjury; (ii) submitted fraudulent or falsified documents; (iii) submitted documents that have been materially altered; or (iv) submitted, as his or her own, documents that were in fact prepared or composed for another person.

(Source: P.A. 94 307, eff. 9 30 05; 94 556, eff. 9 11 05; 94 930, eff. 6 26 06; 95 166, eff. 1 1 08; 95 310, eff. 1 1 08; 95 382, eff. 8 23 07; 95 400, eff. 1 1 09; 95 627, eff. 6 1 08; 95 876, eff. 8 21 08; 95 894, eff. 1 1 09.)

REVOCATIONS: Sec. 6 205. Mandatory Revocation of license or permit; Hardship cases.

(a) Except as provided in this Section, the Secretary of State shall immediately revoke the license, permit, or driving privileges of any driver upon receiving a report of the driver’s conviction of any of the following offenses:

1). Reckless homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;

2). Violation of Section 11-501 of this Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance relating to the offense of operating or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof;

3). Any felony under the laws of any State or the federal government in the commission of which a motor vehicle was used;

4). Violation of Section 11-401 of this Code relating to the offense of leaving the scene of a traffic accident involving death or personal injury;

5). Perjury or the making of a false affidavit or statement under oath to the Secretary of State under this Code or under any other law relating to the ownership or operation of motor vehicles;

6). Conviction upon 3 charges of violation of Section 11-503 of this Code relating to the offense of reckless driving committed within a period of 12 months;

7). Conviction of any offense defined in Section 4-102 of this Code;

8). Violation of Section 11-504 of this Code relating to the offense of drag racing;

9). Violation of Chapters 8 and 9 of this Code;

10). Violation of Section 12-5 of the Criminal Code of 1961 arising from the use of a motor vehicle;

11). Violation of Sec. 11-204.1 of the Code relating to agg. fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer;

12). Violation of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of Section 6-507, or a similar law of any other state, relating to the unlawful operation of a commercial motor vehicle;

13). Violation of paragraph (a) of Section 11-502 of this Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance if the driver has been previously convicted of a violation of that Section or a similar provision of a local ordinance and the driver was less than 21 years of age at the time of the offense;

14). Violation of paragraph (a) of Section 11-506 of this Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance relating to the offense of street racing;

15). A second or subsequent conviction of driving while the person’s driver’s license, permit or privileges was revoked for reckless homicide or a similar out-of-state offense. The Secretary of State shall also immediately revoke the license or permit of any driver in the following situations: 1. Of any minor upon receiving the notice provided for in Section 5-901 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 that the minor has been adjudicated under that Act as having committed an offense relating to motor vehicles prescribed in Section 4-103 of this Code; 2. Of any person when any other law of this State requires either the revocation or suspension of a license or permit; 3. Of any person adjudicated under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 based on an offense determined to have been committed in furtherance of the criminal activities of an organized gang as provided in Section 5-710 of that Act, and that involved the operation or use of a motor vehicle or the use of a driver’s license or permit. The revocation shall remain in effect for the period determined by the court. Upon the direction of the court, the Secretary shall issue the person a judicial driving permit, also known as a JDP. The JDP shall be subject to the same terms as a JDP issued under Section 6-206.1, except that the court may direct that a JDP issued under this subdivision (b)(3) be effective immediately.

(Source: P.A. 94 307, eff. 9 30 05; 95 310, eff. 1 1 08; 95 337, eff. 6 1 08; 95 377, eff. 1 1 08; 95 382, eff. 8 23 07; 95 627, eff. 6 1 08; 95 848, eff. 1 1 09; 95 876, eff. 8 21 08.)

Winer and Winer helps people get their Illinois driver’s license reinstated throughout Lake County Illinois, including residents of the following cities and the surrounding areas: