Formal Hearings for Knox County Residents

A driver’s license revocation is mandatory in Illinois for a person who is convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol. You should consult a driver’s license attorney to explain to you the difference between a driver’s license suspension and a driver’s license revocation.

In the context of a DUI arrest, whether the arrest occurs in Galesburg, other parts of Knox County or any other Illinois location, the police will ask the accused to take a breath or blood test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol level. If the reading is .08 or higher, or if the driver refuses to take a test, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend the offender’s driver’s license.

The driver’s license suspension will begin on the 46th day after the arresting officer serves on the driver a Law Enforcement Sworn Report that identifies the blood alcohol level or the refusal. The driver’s license suspension will be for six months if the driver is a first offender, which for purpose of the Illinois driver’s license law is defined as anyone who has not had an arrest for DUI in the last five years.

If a first offender refuses the test, the Illinois Secretary of State will impose a driver’s license suspension for twelve months. For someone who has had a DUI arrest in the previous five years and is therefore not a first offender, the suspension will be for twelve months if the driver submits to testing and three years if the driver refuses testing.

The suspension is often described as “automatic” but a qualified driver’s license lawyer may be able to convince the judge to rescind (throw out) the suspension. This can be especially useful to a non first offender who is not allowed any type of driving relief during the entire period of the suspension.

A first offender whose driver’s license suspension is not rescinded is entitled to a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) during all but the first thirty days of the suspension. The MDDP requires installation of an Ignition Interlock Device, after which the MDDP holder is entitled to drive the vehicle so equipped for any reason, at any time and without limitation as to mileage. An MDDP applicant should not take advantage of the program without consulting with an attorney who understands how the program works and the traps to avoid.

Regardless of what happens to the DUI charge itself, unless the suspension is rescinded, it remains in place. But once the period of the suspension ends, the Secretary of State, upon receipt of a fee, will reinstate driving privileges that are otherwise valid.

One of the things that can make the driver’s license invalid is a conviction for the DUI charge. As previously indicated, this will lead to a driver’s license revocation.

Once the revocation takes effect, the driver’s license and driving privileges (the right to drive in Galesburg or any other place on the Illinois roadways) is terminated. Restoration of the right to drive requires the revoked driver to have a hearing.

A driver’s license revocation may require a formal or informal hearing. Unlike an informal hearing, which can occur in numerous cities and towns throughout Illinois, (including Galesburg), a formal hearing may only occur in Springfield, the Chicago-area and far southern Illinois. At such a hearing the applicant may be eligible for a full license or in the alternative, a hardship license, technically known as an RDP.

Not only can a Springfield driver’s license attorney represent a petitioner at a Springfield formal hearing, but it makes sense for an applicant to hire a lawyer whose office is only blocks from the hearing location, Room 275 of the Howlett Building. An experienced driver’s license lawyer can help a Galesburg or other Knox County applicant prepare for the hearing with only one trip to Springfield, on the day of the hearing.

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