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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Wirth

License Reinstatement after a DUI Revocation.

A Positive Approach to License Reinstatement Hearings with the Secretary of State.

For roughly eighteen years, I have been representing clients at Secretary of State hearings to request the reinstatement of their Illinois driving privileges. During consultations, I have had many clients come to me with worries about the process, and sometimes, downright fear of the Secretary of State.

If you have one take away from this article, it should be this: Drivers License Reinstatement can be a positive legal proceeding if you have generally improved your lifestyle and are adequately prepared by your legal counsel for the hearing.

Many clients have heard stories from outside sources that the Secretary of State is geared up to yell and interrogate Petitioners at their hearing. This has not been our experience, nor should it be yours. As an attorney that regularly defends revoked drivers at these hearings, I have never had the State yell or demean my client. If you heard from a friend-of-a-friend that this happened to them, I assure you there was a good reason that their testimony elicited this negative reaction. I have found these hearings to be pleasant and respectful proceedings over many years of doing them.

Further, the Secretary has no incentive to do a grand interrogation of every mistake you ever made in life. The key to a controlled hearing is simply providing accurate, consistent and straightforward answers to their concerns at the outset of your hearing. To ensure everything runs smoothly, your attorney should review your testimony, the questions they intend to ask at your hearing and all documents to ensure your statements are accurate and cover the topics discussed in a typical hearing. As a result, the hearing itself should consist of you answering questions presented to you by your own attorney. The State may ask follow-up questions, but it is generally minimal and respectful if you have been prepared properly.

Finally, I want to dispel the myth that “everyone” gets denied on their first hearing. Since 2005, I have kept statistics on every decision provided to our clients in a Secretary of State proceeding. Over ninety percent of our clients have received driving privileges at their first hearing with the Secretary of State on an annual basis. The Secretary of State has no incentive to deny you for no valid reason, and in our experience, we see many good cases receive good results at the first hearing.

The hearing process is designed solely to determine whether or not you are an acceptable candidate to be a safe driver and if you have resolved any problems with alcohol and/or drugs. The punishment phase of your DUI case(s) ended in court, along with the fear of imprisonment and other penalties. The sole issue in a Secretary of State hearing is whether or not you will receive driving privileges.

Think of this process for what it truly is, rather than what you have been told to fear: It is the moment that you requesting the freedom to drive again. This should be a positive moment, rather than a negative one.

To learn more about Secretary of State drivers license reinstatement hearings, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Wirth for a free consultation at 312.461.0400 or

Note: The information on this DUI license reinstatement blog is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with a qualified attorney before beginning the Illinois Secretary of State License Reinstatement Process. This website does not create any attorney/client relationship.

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