Administrative Hearing with the Secretary of State Following the Revocation of a Driver’s License After a DUI Conviction

If you are convicted for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you face complicated administrative hearings before the Secretary of State (SOS) in order to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or full reinstatement of your driving privileges. Worse yet, the criminal penalties for driving without a license due to a DUI conviction are severe and can range from misdemeanor to felony offenses. (See Driving on Suspended or Revoked License).  It is possible to gain reinstatement or a RDP, though the SOS’s regulations are strict.  Petitioners must prove by clear and convincing evidence that they are no longer a risk to public safety and welfare.

If the SOS has revoked a drivers’ license following a DUI conviction you may still be eligible for an RDP during the period of your revocation.  The petitioner can request an RDP for various reasons including employment, medical care treatment/recovery meetings, community service and/or education and others.  In order to be granted a RDP an individual must show an undue hardship.  The undue hardship must be more than a mere inconvenience to the petitioner.

Once a person is eligible for full reinstatement, a hearing must take place in order to restore full driving privileges. Often times SOS will require a RDP for a period of time prior to granting full reinstatement, even though the petitioner is technically eligible full reinstatement of driving privileges. Whether a formal hearing or an informal hearing is required depends on the petitioner’s driving record.


When a Formal Hearing is Required

A formal hearing is required if the petitioner has two DUI arrests and/or a summary suspension on his abstract. The petition must be mailed to the SOS office along with $50. A hearing date is then set. If you don’t know what type of hearing is required you can call the SOS Administrative Hearing office to find out. You can also stop into a number of SOS locations and discuss it with an informal hearing officer.

You will need the following documentation for the hearing including: Uniform Evaluation (including alcohol/drug use history), an Updated Evaluation (if it’s been more than 6 months since the original Uniform Evaluation), a Risk Education/Remedial Education Certificate, a Treatment Verification Form, an Individualized Treatment Plan, a Discharge Summary, an Aftercare/Continuing Care Plan (for certain petitioners), a Medical Report (if on medication or has existing medical or mental health problems), and Continuing Care Status Report (need not be completed prior to the hearing date). If you were categorized as a level 3/Dependent- you’ll need 3 letters of abstinence for a minimum of 12 months if seeking reinstatement and six months for a RDP and 3 letters from fellow participants of a support program.

At the Hearing

At the hearing, you have the right to bring an attorney with you. A hearing officer from the SOS will preside over the hearing. The SOS will also have an attorney present. The petitioner will present his or her documentation and then be required to testify and then subject to cross examination by the SOS attorney. If you bring an experienced attorney with you to the hearing, you may avoid being bombarded with up to 100 questions from the hearing officer and/or SOS prosecutor. These hearings are tape recorded, so a record of your answers will be preserved for future appeals to the Courts or for further proceedings with the SOS.

If the petitioner is not eligible yet for reinstatement, “undue hardship” must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. A petitioner who is eligible for reinstatement does not need to establish undue hardship to obtain an RDP. The SOS considers undue hardship the lack of reasonable alternatives to driving, such as public transportation, rides from others, walking etc. Mere inconvenience does not constitute an undue hardship.

At the conclusion the hearing the Hearing Officer will submit his findings and a recommendation for final review. It takes about four to eight weeks for the SOS to prepare a written detailed order. If the petition is denied then, the petitioner must wait four months from the original hearing date for a new hearing. If the SOS grants reinstatement or an RDP, it will send detailed instructions that must be followed in order to receive the specified license or permit. Often times, a BAIID device is required.

This process is tedious and difficult. Often times, petitioners are rejected on the first try. In many of these cases, it is because of insufficient documentation or a lack of preparation for the hearing. Having an experienced attorney at your side can mean the difference between success and failure during this difficult administrative process. Don’t take chances with the future of your driver’s license.   The attorneys at Gruszeczki & Smith Law have successfully conducted numerous hearings at the SOS and will put their experience to work for you.


Disclaimer:  The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the facts and circumstances of the cases we discuss here. Not all results are provided. The case results discussed here are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases. Each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.