Driver License Reinstatement FAQs
Am I Suspended or Revoked? Why does it matter?
A suspension of your license means that there is an automatic termination date. Normally, you will be required to pay some type of reinstatement fee, but you won't need a hearing in order to start driving again. A Revocation, on the other hand, has a termination date, but it does not end automatically with the payment of a reinstatement fee. Revocations of your license will require you to have a hearing with the secretary of state before you can begin driving again. These hearings can be difficult and complex and you should bring an attorney with you before attempting one of these hearings.
A common reason to have a suspension of your license is too many moving violations. If you are over the age of 21 and you receive 3 or more minor moving violations in a 12 month period, your license will be suspended. If you are under the age of 21, it will only take 2 minor moving violations in a 24 month period to suspend your license. There are of course more severe reasons that could result in a suspension of your license: Possession of a fake ID, fleeing and eluding or leaving the scene of an accident resulting in more than $1,000.00 in damage.
Revocations of your license can occur after receiving a conviction for a DUI, drag racing or a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle. There are many other offenses than can result in a revocation and you will be required to have a hearing before you can begin driving again.
Don't Drive on a Suspended or Revoked License
You may be tempted to drive on a suspended or revoked license. Don't do it. If you are caught driving on a suspended or revoked license, you will be charged with a misdemeanor at a minimum which could include mandatory penalties like community service work or jail, and in some situations, you may be charged with a Felony that could land you in prison. Some additional penalties could be an increased suspension period or revocation of your license and the possible seizure and loss of your car.
Do I need an Informal or Formal Hearing?
As a general rule, less severe offenses can be dealt with in an informal hearing. In other situations, like multiple suspensions or revocations for a DUI, it will generally require a formal hearing. For example, an out of state resident trying to remove the hold in Illinois to obtain a license out of state, will be required to have a formal hearing or fill out the out-of-state packet. Also, individuals that had their MDDP cancelled and are now seeking a restricted driving permit (RDP) or persons that caused a death of another will be required to have a formal hearing.
Do I need an Attorney
Unfortunately, you don't just walk into a hearing and get your license back. The Illinois secretary of state hearing process is complicated and yields high denials of the applications that are heard. Having an experienced license reinstatement lawyer with you can make the difference between a denial and an approval. It is important to know that unlike a criminal case, the hearing to get your license back places the burden of proof squarely on you. You must demonstrate to the State of Illinois that you are not a risk. That, is not an easy task when you attempt these hearings on your own.
Suspension and Revocation Length
The minimum length of revocation always depends on your background and the type of offense you are facing. As a general rule, one DUI conviction will result in a 1 year revocation. Two DUI convictions will give you a 5 year revocation if they occurred within a 20 year period. Lifetime revocations can occur with 4 or more DUI convictions.
When Can I Apply for Driving Relief?
As a general rule, you can apply right away for driving relief after the entry of your revocation. There are exceptions to this rule, however. For example, Illinois residents with 4 or more DUI revocations must wait 5 years. Out of State Residents will be required to wait 10 years with 4 or more DUI convictions.
What's Required for a Hearing?
In addition to the other requirements for getting your driver’s license reinstated, cases involving DUI also require that you obtain a drug/alcohol evaluation. Depending on the results of the evaluation, you will have certain steps to comply with that include taking a substance abuse class and/or enrolling in treatment. The secretary of state has specific rules that you must comply with before you even sit down to have your hearing. An experienced attorney can help you get through this process and ensure that all documentation is in order prior to your hearing.
I Don't Have My Treatment Documents Anymore?
In some situations, clients no longer have proof of the treatment they completed after their last DUI. It is important to know that the Illinois of Secretary of State rules provide for a Treatment Waiver. That is, in some situations, it is possible to avoid re-doing all of your treatment by having a Treatment Waiver document prepared by the evaluator. This can save time and money when preparing for the hearing. A review of your history and a new DUI evaluation would be required prior to making this determination.
What are the different risk classifications?
The only individuals who can be classified as Minimal Risk are those who have no prior conviction or court-ordered supervision for DUI, no prior statutory summary suspension, and no prior reckless driving conviction reduced from DUI. Also, the individual must have had a BAC of less than .15 as a result of the arrest for DUI. Also, the individual must have no other symptoms of substance abuse or dependence which would require a higher classification. Individuals classified as Minimal Risk are usually eligible for an informal hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State (with certain exceptions). A minimum of ten  hours of DASA defined DUI Risk Education are required. These ten hours must be divided between at least four sessions with each session consisting of two and one-half hours each.
Individuals classified as Moderate Risk must have no prior conviction or court-ordered supervision for DUI, no prior statutory summary suspension, and no prior reckless driving conviction reduced from DUI. The BAC of this individual must be between .15 and .19, inclusive, or a refusal of chemical testing as a result of the arrest for DUI. Also, the individual must have no other symptoms of substance abuse or dependence which would require a higher classification. A minimum of ten hours of DASA defined DUI Risk Education is required. These ten hours must be divided between at least four sessions with each session consisting of two and one-half hours each. In addition, the individual must complete twelve  hours of early intervention.
Individuals classified as Significant Risk must have no more than one prior conviction or court-ordered supervision for DUI, one prior statutory summary suspension, or one prior reckless driving conviction reduced from DUI. Individuals with only one DUI but who have a BAC of .20 or higher as a result of the most current DUI arrest and/or other sufficient symptoms of substance abuse must be classified at minimum as Significant Risk. Significant Risk individuals must have twenty  hours of alcohol and/or drug treatment in addition to any recommended continuing care services. They must also complete risk education.
High Risk (Dependent or Non-Dependent)
High Risk Dependent
Individuals classified as High Risk Dependent must have symptoms of substance dependence regardless of their driving record and/or those whose last three DUI dispositions resulting from separate incidents occurred within a ten  year period prior to the date of the most current arrest but are not otherwise dependent on alcohol and/or drugs.
High Risk Dependent individuals must successfully complete a minimum of seventy-five  hours of dependency treatment and upon completion of any and all necessary treatment and after discharge, have active ongoing participation in all activities specified in the continuing care plan.
High Risk Non-dependent
High Risk Non-dependent individuals are those whose last three DUI dispositions resulting from separate incidents (i.e. any combination of DUI convictions or court-ordered supervisions, prior statutory summary suspensions, or prior reckless driving convictions reduced from DUI) occurred within a ten  year period prior to the date of the most current arrest but are not otherwise dependent on alcohol and/or drugs.
High Risk Non-dependent individuals must successfully complete a minimum of seventy-five  hours of substance abuse treatment and upon completion of any and all necessary treatment and after discharge, have active ongoing participation in all activities specified in the continuing care plan.
Proving You are Not a Risk to Public Safety
As we indicated previously, the burden is on you to prove to the State of Illinois that you are not a risk to have your license privileges restored. The State will put great weight not only on the documents that you present, analyzing the information that you have provided, but the State will also weigh heavily your testimony at the hearing. Not knowing what the Secretary of State looks for in the documents and not knowing the questions that will be asked in the hearing, puts you at a significant disadvantage in your petition to get your license back. Having an experienced license reinstatement attorney with you will make the difference.
Will I be Denied For Driving Relief
Reinstatement Hearings are complex and difficult. We stress to our clients that preparation is the key to these hearings. It takes great effort on your part to convey to the State, both in the documents that you present and with your in person testimony that you have accepted the problem you had with alcohol and that you are no longer a risk to the public. The hearing officer will scrutinize your background, driving history and DUI arrest record. Any inconsistencies will result in your denial.
When can I Have My Hearing
If you are eligible for an Informal Hearing, no application is required. Its as simple as walking into the Informal Hearing Officer and sitting for a hearing. Formal Hearings, however, will require an application and a $50 filing fee. Hearings will typically be set 6-8 weeks after the filing of the request, but must be set within 90 days of your application.
When Will I Get the Answer on my Hearing?
As a general rule, the answer from the State will come in about 6-8 weeks. However, understand that the State of Illinois has up to 90 days to get you the answer on your hearing.
Full Reinstatement vs Hardship License (RDP)
As a general rule, Illinois residents will be granted a hardship license or what's known as a restricted driving permit (RDP). These permits can cover work, medical, support groups, education and child care. These permits must be driven on for 9 months before application for full reinstatement can be made. Also, these hardship licenses typically require a BAIID device (breath alcohol ignition interlock device). If you have received any combination of 2 or more suspensions or revocations which arise out of separate DUI arrests, you must have a BAIID device installed on your vehicle. There are certain limited exemptions to the BAIID requirement.
I've Been Denied Already. What Now?
Contact our office. Our office has helped people with 1, 2 and even 3 straight denials to start driving again. We will review your denial letter and advise as to the issues that the Secretary of State has and make sure that they are addressed with the evaluator and addressed in your testimony at your next hearing. Preparation is the key..
Where will my hearing be held?
Our office has been located in Joliet for over 10 years and are familiar with the Joliet Hearing Office.
All hearings will be held at the Joliet facility:
54 N. Ottawa Street
Joliet, IL 60436-1080
Your Illinois Driver License Reinstatement Attorney
Jack L. Zaremba is an experienced Illinois License Reinstatement Lawyer. Jack has handled hundreds of license reinstatement hearings and he has the experience to get you back on the road. Jack is a local lawyer to the Joliet area and handles all of the firm's reinstatement hearings in Joliet. You need to drive. Give Jack a call today 815-740-4025