Naperville Lawyers Assisting with Administrative Hearings

Secretary of State Hearings, DCFS Hearings, and Concealed Carry Appeals in Illinois

An administrative hearing resolves a dispute involving a government agency, such as the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or the Secretary of State. You may become involved in an administrative hearing if:

  1. A complaint is filed against you by a governmental agency;
  2. You wish to appeal an agency's decision, such as a denial of a Concealed Carry License Application; or
  3. You are subpoenaed to testify.

An administrative hearing is similar to a trial conducted in a courtroom setting, where evidence is presented through witness testimony and/or presentation of documents. An administrative hearing is recorded, thereby establishing a record of facts of the particular dispute. In the hearing, you are allowed to tell your side of the story. You may be represented by an attorney at the hearing, as well as during pre-hearing conferences. For most administrative hearings, an attorney will not be appointed for you so you must hire one on your own.

At the hearing, your dispute is presented to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who is a licensed attorney responsible for impartially presiding over the hearing. Like a judge, the ALJ will listen to opening statements, testimony, and closing arguments. He or she will oversee the hearing by ruling on procedural matters, evidence presented, and objections. At the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ will either render a decision or make a recommendation to the head of the agency. A final decision will be sent to all parties and will be accompanied by a notice of appeal rights.

Our attorneys are experienced to handle various administrative matters, such as:

  • Secretary of State disputes;
  • DCFS appeals; and
  • Concealed Carry License denials.

Secretary of State

If your license is suspended or revoked, you may be able to obtain relief through an administrative hearing. A suspension is a temporary loss of your driving privileges, whereas a revocation involves an indefinite loss of your driving privileges. Once revoked, you must request a hearing in order to apply for reinstatement. During your suspension or revocation period, you may also have the option of applying for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) for school, community service, employment, medical appointments, daycare, or support group attendance.

Informal hearings do not require an appointment and are conducted by hearing officers at certain DMV facilities on a walk-in basis. You can apply for an RDP or reinstatement through an informal hearing only if your suspension does not stem from an offense involving a fatality or from a second or subsequent DUI disposition. A formal hearing must be scheduled and is done so by mailing a written request to the main office in Springfield. You will then be notified of your hearing date by mail. The hearing officer does not render the final decision, but instead, submits all documentation and his or her recommendation to the Springfield office. You will receive the decision in the mail in approximately six to eight weeks.

It is important to consult with an attorney before proceeding to hearing to ensure that you are prepared and bring the proper documentation. For example, in many instances, an updated drug and alcohol evaluation is required, along with proof that you have completed all recommended treatment. If you miss your hearing or show up unprepared, you will not be able to reschedule. Instead, you will have to wait 90 days before reapplying.

Department of Children and Family Services

If you are ever the subject of a DCFS investigation, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney immediately to understand your role in the investigative process, your rights, and the consequences of an indicated finding. You have the right to an attorney well before a hearing is held. If you are being investigated for abuse or neglect, a DCFS investigator will want to interview you. You have the right to have an attorney present for the interview. Your attorney may even advise you that forgoing the interview altogether is in your best interest. Don't make this decision alone. Call us the moment an investigator contacts you. We can be your voice by communicating with DCFS and preventing your statements from being used against you in their decision-making process or later at an administrative hearing. Depending on the severity of the allegations, DCFS may even report the matter to local law enforcement and the state's attorney's office.

Concealed Carry License Denials

In 2013, the State of Illinois enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which allows individuals to possess concealed firearms in Illinois so long as they hold a Concealed Carry License (CCL). You must first apply for a concealed carry license with the Illinois State Police.
To be eligible, you must:

  • Be 21 years old or over;
  • Hold a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card;
  • NOT have been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving the threat of physical force or violence to any person within the past five years;
  • NOT have two or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds within the past five years;
  • NOT be subject to a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm; and
  • NOT have been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the past five years.

Even if you are eligible, you may still be denied a license. Did you know that law enforcement agencies can object to the issuance of your CCL if they feel that you pose a risk of danger to yourself or others? If the CCL Review Board sustains the objection, your application will be denied. You can appeal the Board's decision to deny your application by filing a Petition for Review in the circuit court in the county in which you live. However, time is of the essence because you must do so within 35 days of the Board's final decision. Do not delay. Call J. Aldrich Law, P.C. today at 630-953-3000.

To apply, or for more information about obtaining your Concealed Carry License, visit the Illinois State Police website.

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