In the United States, 29 people are killed every day in alcohol-related car crashes. That is one death every 50 minutes. Driving while intoxicated is one of the main reasons that people get into car crashes, and why someone might lose their driving privileges.

If you need your driver’s license back, do you know the difference in requesting a hardship license vs a restricted license? Do you know the difference between a Secretary of State formal hearing and an informal hearing? 

It’s time to find the answers to those questions. We are going to explain the hearing process at Secretary of State, and what happens if you are denied a license. We will also explain the differences between a hardship and a restricted license, and which one is right for you.

What the Law Says

In Illinois, a driver whose license has been revoked is allowed to apply for a restricted driver’s permit (RDP). To be awarded a permit, in some circumstances, they must meet specific criteria that prove hardship. 

Hardship  allows the Secretary of State to issue a restricted driving permit to persons who can demonstrate they have no other transportation available and are either suspended or not eligible to seek full privileges. The applicant must also show they are not an endangerment to society. The third requirement is the person must demonstrate they will suffer undue hardship if they are not granted a restricted permit.

If the driver is granted a Restricted Driving Permit, there will be specific restrictions that dictate when and where they can drive. Typical driving privileges include being able to drive to and from work. You may also be allowed to drive yourself or a member of your household to and from school or daycare.

Other driving privileges include driving yourself or a household member to and from medical appointments or alcohol or drug treatment programs. You will need to prove these things are necessary, and that the inability to do them will create a hardship. You may also be required to have a BAIID installed on your vehicle to be granted a restricted permit.

What is BAIID?

Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is a device installed in an automobile for the purpose of testing the driver’s breath alcohol concentration. The purpose is to prevent the automobile from starting if there is any alcohol on the breath.

The BAIID works continuously while the vehicle is in motion. The driver is required to submit periodic breath samples while driving.

If you receive a restricted permit requiring BAIID installation, once you have the permit you can schedule BAIID installation. Make sure you follow all instructions for the breath test procedures and maintenance on your interlock device.

Secretary of State Process

The Secretary of State conducts both formal and informal hearings for hardship applications. The type of hearing is based on the reason for the suspension or revocation.

Informal Hearing

An informal hearing is conducted when the driver privileges are suspended or revoked following a driver's first DUI that does not include a fatality. Informal hearings are held on a walk-in basis and no appointment is needed.

The hearing is conducted by a hearing officer who will ask you questions and write down your responses. The hearing officer will submit his/her findings and all documents to the main Secretary of State office in Springfield. The decision will be sent to you in the mail.

Formal Hearing

formal hearing is held when the driver has a history of multiple DUIs or the incident resulted in a fatality. The request for a formal hearing must be made in writing on a Formal Hearing Request Form obtained on the Secretary of State website. The form is mailed to the Secretary of State with a $50 filing fee. You receive notice in the mail with the date and time for your hearing.

The hearing officer at a formal hearing takes testimony and reviews evidence. The hearing officer is able to rule on motions, administer oaths,  question witnesses, and rule on the admissibility of evidence.

The hearing officer submits their findings and evidence to the Springfield Secretary of State Office. The driver receives the decision in the mail.

Possible Hearing Results

There are three possible outcomes when you apply for a hardship permit. The worst possible outcome is you are denied all driving privileges.

The second possibility is you are granted a hardship permit. The third possibility is that you are awarded a full reinstatement of your license and driving privileges (if eligible).

Hearing results are mailed to you within 90 days of the hearing. If your formal hearing results in a denial, you must wait 90 days from the date of the hearing before you can have a second hearing. If you had an informal hearing you may have a new hearing within 30 days of the first hearing.

The best way to secure a Restricted driving permit is to hire a license reinstatement attorney who has experience in driver license reinstatement.

What an Attorney Can Do for You

An experienced attorney will be familiar with the Secretary of State process. The attorney will file the paperwork and secure the hearing date.

The lawyer will make sure you have all the necessary documents and will review and prepare hearing questions and testimony with you. They will make sure you are taking steps necessary to get your license back.

The attorney will make sure your evidence meets Secretary of State requirements. They will attend the hearing with you and make sure you understand the procedures.

Schedule a Free Consultation

The Law Office of John M. Quinn & Associates has over 20 years of experience in driver license restoration. Call us now at (630) 529-2000 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.  Our goal is to get you back on the road.