The ALR Hearing: A Trial Within a Trial

 Posted on November 10,2014 in DUI

ALR hearing, Arlington Heights DUI defense lawyer, drunk driving, DUI arrest, license revocation hearingA DUI in Illinois is actually two separate proceedings: the criminal prosecution and the Administrative License Revocation action to suspend a drivers’ license. A surprising number of people do not even request an ALR hearing. But, whether you win or lose, the experienced DUI defense lawyers in DuPage County can use the ALR hearing to your advantage.


If you are arrested for DUI, the state will initiate suspension proceedings. Your license can be suspended for up to one year if you fail a chemical test, and up to three years if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. But before the state can take action, you have a right to a hearing. Typically you only have 15 days to exercise this right, so you have to act fast.


The ALR hearing officer is not a judge, and may not even be a lawyer. The hearing officer serves as both prosecutor and jury. Since it is technically not a criminal process, the criminal rules of procedure do not apply. Most significantly, and this happens rather frequently, you may be called to testify against yourself.

It is not all bad news. Your attorney has the right to review the evidence against you and subpoena witnesses on your behalf. In other words, the arresting officer has to come testify under oath and your lawyer has the right to look at the prosecutor’s file, which includes the confidential police report.

If there is no ALR hearing, your lawyer must arrange an expensive, out-of-court deposition to get the officer’s testimony on record. And, if the county has a closed-file policy, your attorney would not be able to view the police report until the day of trial.


In order to suspend your license, the hearing officer must conclude that:

  • The officer had reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle;
  • There was probable cause for the arrest; and
  • You had a BAC of .08 or higher, or you refused to submit to a test.

If there is a finding of no reasonable suspicion or probable cause, it will be almost impossible for the prosecutor to convict you in the criminal trial. Even if the hearing officer finds against you, your attorney has gained a valuable tactical advantage. Finally, you have nothing to lose. The worst possible outcome is that your drivers’ license is suspended for the maximum period, and that was going to happen anyway.

If you are arrested with DUI, the ALR hearing is an important part of your overall DUI defense. For a consultation, contact Arlington Heights DUI defense lawyer Scott F. Anderson.

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