Secretary of State Hearings

Secretary of State Hearings in Lake County IllinoisFormal and Informal Hearings

Due to the increased enforcement of DUI and traffic laws there has been a substantial increase in the amount of license revocations and suspensions and the Secretary of State has made it increasingly difficult to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit or reinstatement. To obtain driving privileges a person must have a hearing before the Secretary of State and whether it is a Formal or Informal hearing the majority of people who attend these hearings without a qualified lawyer are denied.

At the formal hearing the Secretary of State has it’s own prosecutor who will question you.  To ensure a fair hearing you must have a qualified attorney who will represent you at the hearing and thoroughly prepare you prior to the hearing.  An attorney that concentrates in Secretary of State law is a must. 

The Law Offices of Winer & Winer has helped hundreds of people obtain driving privileges.  Due to our years of experience we understand the process and are well versed in the complex requirements set forth by the Secretary of State.  David Winer is recognized as a leading attorney in Secretary of State hearings and has authored pre-eminent articles on Secretary of State hearings has lectured other attorneys as a Illinois Continuing Legal Education presenter of SOS hearings and has also lectured at seminars for the Probation Department and Alcohol/Drug Counselors. 

CALL 847-336-9111

We will provide you with detailed instructions of the specific steps to prepare for your hearing. We will review all of your treatment documents including the evaluation, treatment plan, discharge summary, aftercare plan, etc. and make certain they meet the Secretary of State requirements. We will directly address any potential problems with your evaluator and make sure they are resolved prior to your hearing and will help you obtain the letters you need to present. In addition, we will be prepare you to testify. We will meet several times to make sure your documentation and testimony is accurate. Many clients prefer appointments on the weekends or in the evening to avoid missing work and to obtain a ride.  Because we know the inconvenience and hardship of not having a license we try to accommodate our clients and arrange convenient week end and after hours appointment times. 

The Law Offices of Winer & Winer is the right choice.  David Winer teaches a detailed course designed to help other attorneys navigate through this process.  You can watch this 2-hour course free of charge at  Scroll almost to the bottom of the page until you find:

     Driver’s License Revocation, Suspension, Reinstatement, Restricted Permits
     2 Hours Illinois MCLE Credit
     Instructor – David J. Winer

Then click on “View this Course Free”.  You do not have to enroll for CLE course credit.  Simply click on each of the eight 15-minute segments and you can watch for free. 

General Preparation for a Secretary of State Hearing

Proper preparation is the key to a successful Secretary of State reinstatement hearing and it is critical to spend a lot of quality time with each client preparing them to understand the issues that will be raised at the hearing.  Prior to the hearing we will: 

  • Review driving record:  To determine the type your suspension or revocation and determine whether you are eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit or full reinstatement.
  • Review all Treatment Documentation:  It is critical to carefully review all your prior alcohol evaluations and treatment documentation. Your testimony at the Secretary of State hearing must be consistent with the treatment information. 
  • Denial Order from Prior Hearing:  If you have had a previous Secretary of State Hearing it is critical to carefully examine the denial letter to learn the reasons why you were denied. We must then remedy and address those reasons in your new evaluation and testimony. 
  • Preparation for Testimony:  During several meetings we give you a direct and easily understandable methods to approach your case and provide testimony at the hearing. We will the circumstances of each DUI arrest, what you learned from treatment, changes you made in your life since your last arrest, past and current drinking patterns and your hardship in not having a license and why the Secretary of State should rely on you to never to get another DUI arrest. 
  • New Update Evaluation:  If you earlier evaluation is more than six months old you must obtain a new Update Evaluation and possibly additional documentation. This new evaluation is critical and will contain information relied in by the Secretary of State. 


Q. If I have already was denied at a prior hearing can a lawyer still help me?

A. We often represent client’s that previously went alone to a hearing or with an attorney not qualified to conduct Secretary of State hearings. We will obtain all of your prior hearing records and treatment documents to determine what issues need to be addressed and then prepare instructions to address these issues with you and the evaluator. As with all other hearings we will thoroughly prepare you and represent you at your hearing.

Q. What if I have a non-alcohol related suspension? 

A. Depending on the type of suspension, you may be eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit or reinstatement. A careful review of your Secretary of State driving abstract will reveal the options available. As with any hearing we thoroughly review all the documentation and prepare you for the hearing which may be a Informal or Formal hearing. 

Q. I live out of State, can I still apply for driving relief? 

A. Out of state clients who are revoked due to an Illinois offense may either have an in person hearing or apply through the mail with an Illinois Secretary of State “Out-of-State Packet.” We guide you throughout the entire process. See our other link regarding Out of State resident for more detailed information. 

Q. My Illinois License is revoked due to an out of state offense. 

A. Many clients lose their Illinois license due to an out of state Driving Under the Influence or other offense(s). Often, following a revocation or suspension of an out of state offense you must have a Secretary of State hearing to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit or reinstatement. There are different types of hearings available with varied requirements depending on the type of offense and circumstances of the case. 

Q. What is the difference of a Restricted Driving Permit and reinstatement hearing: 

A. Depending on the type of offense and age of the arrest leading to the loss of your license the Secretary of State determines whether you must first obtain an Restricted Driving Permit or are eligible for full reinstatement An RDP allows people to drive to and from work, school, medical visits, daycare, public service and attend support meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous. After receiving a Restricted Driving Permit and are eligible for full reinstatement after having the permit for nine months you can request full reinstatement of your license. If your reinstatement eligibility date has passed than you can petition for full reinstatement instead of a Restricted Driving Permit. However, the Secretary of State often prefers to first give a Restricted Driving Permit in order confirm that you can follow all the rules and regulations. However, depending on how long ago the offense was and the circumstances of the arrest reinstatement can be obtained. 

Q. How long will it take and what is the procedure? 

A. For a Formal Hearing you must mail a written petition with a $50.00 fee to the Secretary of State. A Notice of Hearing will be mailed to you with a hearing date usually scheduled roughly six weeks after the petition was mailed in. On the hearing date you will testify before a Secretary of State hearing officer will also review any treatment and other submitted documents. After a review of your testimony and documentation in one to three months you will be mailed a written Order with their ruling. For an Informal Hearing no petition is mailed as it a walk-in hearing at a local Secretary of State office that has a Hearing Officer present. 

Contact the Law Offices of Winer & Winer for a thorough and honest assessment of your situation. The first step is to have a qualified attorney who concentrates in Secretary of State Law to evaluate your case. CALL 847-347-9111


* Driving Under the Influence (DUI) * Secretary of State Hearings
* Suspended or Revoked License * Zero Tolerance
* Driver’s License Reinstatement * Minor Consumption of Alcohol
* Boating Under the Influence * Open Alcohol in Vehicle
* Reckless Driving * Speeding in Construction or School Zone
* Auto Accidents * Passing a School Bus
* Reckless Homicide * CDL Violations
* Overweight Trucks * All Traffic Violations  (See Waukegan Traffic Lawyer Information Center for all other traffic issues.