Illinois Traffic Violation and DUI Lawyers

Illinois Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearings


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The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has the authority to suspend or revoke your license if you’re charged with a DUI or have a history of multiple serious traffic violations. If your driver’s license is revoked or suspended in Illinois, it is important that you obtain the assistance of competent and experienced legal counsel. We help you navigate through the complex Illinois legal system as quickly and easily as possible.

Additionally, if you reside out of state and are in need of getting clearance from Illinois to obtain a license in another state, our office can assist you with preparing an out of state hearing packet. This is required for those individuals who reside more than 30 miles outside of the Illinois border.

The Process

The first step in reinstating your driving privileges is to have an informal hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. At this hearing, the hearing officer will provide us with a detailed record of your driving history. They will also provide any treatment or documentation recommendations that would be needed before proceeding to the next step of having a formal hearing.

At the formal hearing, we must demonstrate to the hearing officer that you are a responsible and capable driver. We prove that you will respect the rules of the road, if given the opportunity to get a permit or full reinstatement of your license.

Your attorney will prepare you for this before the hearing. At the hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to question you directly.

In addition to your testimony, the hearing officer will consider evidence such as a drug and alcohol evaluation, documentation of treatment and reference letters from family and friends.

What’s the difference between a driver’s license suspension and revocation in Illinois?

Suspensions and revocations both mean the loss of driving privileges, however, they are very different. With a suspension, your driving privileges are lost for a specific amount of time and can last from a few months to a few years. In some circumstances, you can take steps, like paying a fee, to get your license reinstated after your suspension time is over. Once you’ve taken those steps, the Illinois Secretary of State will reinstate your driving privileges.

A revocation is the indefinite loss of your driving privileges. If your license is revoked, you can still take steps, like attending a formal or informal hearing with the Secretary of State’s office, to have your driving privileges reinstated. During a driver’s license revocation, you may be eligible to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) to drive to certain places at certain times of the day. In order to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit you must be able to prove a hardship to the court such as; child, medical or employment issues. 

Do I need a lawyer to get my Illinois driver’s license reinstated?

While you are not obligated to have an attorney, you do have the right to hire an attorney to help guide you through the driver’s license restoration process. A Chicago traffic attorney can review your driving record, arrest history, and prior hearing records and advise you on the best strategy for reinstating your license. Before any Illinois Secretary of State hearings, a lawyer can make sure that all of your documents meet Secretary of State requirements, or point out any potential issues they may find. The Illinois Secretary of State does not make it easy for you to restore your driving privileges and a lawyer can advocate for you and help you navigate this process. 

Can I still drive if I have a revoked driver’s license in Illinois?

No, you cannot drive on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in Illinois. Driving without a license could have serious consequences like an increased suspension period, a revoked license, or jail time. However, there are some driving relief options available.

If your driver’s license was revoked, you may be able to apply for a Restricted Driver’s Permit (RDP), or sometimes referred to as the Hardship Permit. The RDP would allow you to drive to certain places at certain times of the day. 

Another driving relief option that may be available to you is the Monitoring Device Driver’s Permit. This permit allows you to drive a car with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed. A BAIID unit requires you to blow into the device to check your breath alcohol levels before you start the car. 

Can I get my revoked Illinois drivers’ license reinstated?

Yes, there is a process to get your revoked driver’s license restored, and it’s in your best interest to speak with a driver’s license reinstatement lawyer who can advise and advocate for you. 

Depending on your particular circumstances, you can attend a formal or informal hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

For an informal hearing, there is no specific date to appear. You would simply go to the Secretary of State’s office, put your name on a list and wait for the hearing officer to become available. The hearing officer will review your paperwork and ask you questions about your circumstances. They then have 60 days to send you a reinstatement or denial letter. If you are denied, they will provide the exact reasoning and you must wait 30 days before you can have another informal hearing. 

For a formal hearing, you must request a date with the Secretary of State’s office ahead of time. Formal hearings have a hearing officer, a prosecuting attorney and an official transcript. It is recommended you have an experienced traffic attorney for a formal hearing though it is not required. Before your formal hearing date you are able to bring all of the documentation you plan on presenting to a hearing officer to the Secretary of State’s office ahead of time for review. Just as with an informal hearing, they have 60 days to send you a reinstatement or denial letter. 

How long does it take to get my revoked Illinois drivers’ license reinstated?

You can start to take steps to reinstate your Illinois drivers’ license after your eligibility date. A DUI conviction will result in a minimum three-year revocation and increases from there depending on the number and severity of offenses. You are not automatically reinstated once your revocation time expires, the Illinois SOS office sets a hearing eligibility date, and you can have a hearing on or after that date.

If this is your second or third DUI charge, you are required to drive with a BAIID unit installed in your vehicle for 5 years. Each year the Secretary of State’s office requires you to have an informal hearing to renew your BAIID unit. It is recommended that you have an attorney present at your first formal hearing but not necessary for subsequent BAIID renewal hearings.

Once you’ve taken the steps of having an informal hearing, a formal hearing and meeting all requirements, the SOS office has 60 days to reinstate or deny your petition. If you are reinstated, you must have a SR-22 form and pay your reinstatement fee then you are free to go to the DMV for your new license.

Our office has helped many drivers successfully obtain reinstatement of their driving privileges. If you are revoked or suspended for DUI, multiple traffic violations, reckless driving and drag racing, underage alcohol offenses, possession of fraudulent identification, please call us today for a free consultation.

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