FAQS - Secretary of State

Secretary of State Evaluations for License Reinstatement


What is the difference between a DUI Evaluation and SOS Evaluation?

A DUI Evaluation is the initial Evaluation a person must obtain when going to court for a DUI Arrest.  This evaluation will determine how many hours of education and/or counseling must be completed.  I use the term SOS (Secretary of State) Evaluation for the evaluation that must be obtained in order to seek license reinstatement after a person’s license is revoked.

What is the costs of an SOS Evaluation?

The cost of an evaluation for license reinstatement is $300.00.  There may also be other fees for any additional paperwork that is needed.  This fee includes all of the evaluation paperwork (evaluation, alcohol/drug history, treatment needs assessment) needed for a hearing along with guidance and preparation for the hearing process.  This additional guidance is not offered by most other agencies.


Why do I need an SOS evaluation if I already received a DUI Evaluation?

Evaluations are only considered valid for 6 months.  For most people by the time they are ready to apply for license reinstatement, their initial DUI evaluation is no longer valid, and the state requires a new or updated evaluation. Most often, there is also information in the initial DUI Evaluation that will interfere with getting your license reinstated.  The new SOS evaluation gives you the opportunity to present information in a way that optimizes your chances for success at a hearing.

I completed all my court requirements.  Won’t I just get my license back?

No, a revoked license is an administrative penalty separate from the court system.  You must now complete an Administrative Hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State in order to get your license reinstated.

My license is revoked for 1 year. Will I get my license back at the end of that year?

Automatically, no, and while the revocation has a set timeframe, a revocation is technically indefinite.  The state does not ever have to reinstate your license. It is up to you to petition for your reinstatement, attend an administrative hearing, and prove to the state you are no longer a risk as a driver.

When can I start the process of obtaining License Reinstatement?

It is recommended that you start the process as soon as you complete all of your required treatment, even if your set revocation period is not up yet.  This is because the SOS will usually put you on a restrictive driving permit first before reinstating your full driving privileges.  It shortens the process if you have the restricted driving permit during your revocation period.  Then, you can get your full license as soon as the revocation period ends.

What determines the length of revocation?

The length of revocation is determined by the number of DUI convictions you have.  The important thing to note is, it is the number of convictions not the number of DUI arrests; there is a difference.

How do I prove that I am no longer a risk as a driver?

There are a few specific criteria the state looks at here.  They are whether or not a person has assessed their past issues with alcohol and can honestly speak about them, and whether or not a person can show they have made significant changes to their alcohol use and lifestyle.

What do I need to bring to the hearing?

The most important things are the Evaluation and verification on any DUI classes and Risk Education completed.  If you were assigned High Risk Classification, you need to provide documentation of abstinence and your support system.  The Secretary of State provides a list of all the hearing requirements.  

I completed my DUI classes years ago.  What if I no longer have any proof?

Don’t worry you are not the only one. If you do not have proof of completing the DUI counseling, this is not a problem. There is additional paperwork I do, that is part of the SOS evaluation, that will satisfy the state’s requirement for proof of DUI counseling. As for the Risk Ed, if that was required of you, and you do not have proof, you will have to re-take the course. 

I have been told everyone gets denied at their first hearing. Is this true?

While the hearing process can be challenging, if you are prepared with the right paperwork and answers for the state’s questions, then it is entirely possible to be successful at your first hearing. 

State’s questions; What will they be asking me?

At the hearing, a hearing officer will be asking you very specific questions about your DUI arrests, past and present alcohol/drug use, what you learned in your classes, what changes you have made in your life to prevent another DUI, and if you are classified as High Risk, about your support system. This is why it is of upmost importance that you be prepared for the hearing.

Do I need an attorney for the hearing process?

An attorney is not required, but highly recommended to better your chances of success.  Should you be interested in working with an attorney, I can help you find one. It is important that the attorney specializes in or at least frequently does license reinstatement hearings.

Will I need to have an Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID)?

Most likely, yes. A BAIID device is required to drive while on a restricted permit unless you only have one DUI arrest. The length of time on a permit and with a BAIID device depends on your length of revocation. 

I have been driving on a restricted permit. What happens next?

After you have been approved for and driving with a restricted permit for the designated amount of time, you will have to go through the hearing process again to receive full license reinstatement. Unfortunately, this also means obtaining a new updated evaluation to again present at the next hearing. 

I was denied at my hearing. What do I do?

The denial letter you received needs to be addressed by a treatment provider/evaluator, and chances are, you will need a new evaluation and paperwork. I will help you sort through the reasons for the denial and provide expert guidance on how to overcome the same issues at your subsequent hearing.

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