In order for you to do well at your hearing, you must understand the difference between the requirements for your DUI case at the Court, and the requirements of the Secretary of State. The two types of cases are completely different.
The Court Process
When you are arrested for a DUI you must appear in Court, which is usually located in the County Courthouse of the arrest. The goal at this stage is to “beat” the DUI, or to possibly “get in thrown out”. At this stage, your ultimate goal is to be found not guilty or at least get the lightest sentence possible. Your guilt or innocence has yet to be determined.
Penalties for DUI in Illinois vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest and conviction. These circumstances may include the driver’s age, the driver’s BAC level, whether the driver was transporting a child under age 16, and whether the driver has previous DUI convictions. Any DUI offense resulting in felony charges is classified as Aggravated DUI.
If convicted for a DUI in Illinois, you face severe penalties. For the first DUI conviction, your driver's license will be revoked for at least one year. A second DUI conviction will revoke your driver's license for 5 years. A third DUI conviction will revoke your driver's license for 10 years.
The Secretary of State process
When you go to the Secretary of State, your guilt has already been established. The case is over. Whether you believe you were guilty of the DUI or not, the Secretary of State assumes that you were guilty. They can assume that you were intoxicated on the occasions of your DUI arrests, and probably on other occasions too but were not caught. At this stage, the time to fight and deny is over.
You have to show the Secretary of State that you have identified, addressed and resolved your alcohol problem.
The purpose of your hearing is:
to define the nature and extent of use/abuse of alcohol/drugs,
whether you have resolved the problem,
whether you will be a safe and responsible driver, and
whether you have proven hardship
The ultimate objective of the Secretary of State Hearing process is:
QUANTIFY THE RISK TO THE PUBLIC SAFETY ON THE ROADS
Consultation with the Secretary of State
Takes place with an informal hearing officer, who reviews the applicant’s driving record and explains the dates of eligibility to apply for reinstatement of driving privileges or an RDP.
Your evaluator will give you the list of Informal Hearing Officer Locations where you can obtain this information.
Enrollment at DMS Metropolitan Center, Inc.
Once your eligibility has been obtained, your evaluator will review the documents completed by your treatment provider. If applies, you will be instructed how to obtain any document needed. It is a frequent situation that some petitioners have no documents to prove completion of treatment because the documents are not available, or the treatment provider does not exist anymore. If this is your case, your evaluator will explain to you how to proceed with your case.
Establishing a schedule of sessions with your evaluator
Your evaluator will begin the process of your paperwork preparation. It is very important you make plans in advance to be on time to each appointment. The goal of this step is to complete all documents you will need to present at your hearing. These are the hearing documents required by the Secretary of State:
Uniform Report Evaluation
History of Alcohol and Drugs Use
Individualized Treatment Plan
Continuing Care Plan
Continuing Care Status
Illinois Treatment Verification
Depending on your level of risk, some of these documents are not needed.
Your evaluator will prepare two sets of documents for you. One set will be presented at the time of your hearing and the other one for your records. It is very important you keep a copy of all documents you present to the Secretary of State.