Chicago Lawyer Explains Illinois Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearing

Chicago lawyer and Chicago attorney Fred Dry explains: an Illinois driver’s license reinstatement hearing is held by the Illinois Secretary of State to determine whether a driver may regain their driving privileges after their driver’s license has be suspended or revoked.

Types of Illinois Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearings

There are two types of reinstatement hearings — formal and informal. Informal hearings are designed for first-time Illinois DUI offenders while formal hearings are designed for second-time or subsequent Illinois DUI offenders, or for those whose Illinois driver’s license has been suspended or revoked for an offense involving a fatality. A skilled Chicago lawyer or Chicago attorney that deals with drunk driving and driver’s license reinstatement issues is a critical asset.

To be eligible for a formal or informal hearing, all of the statutory suspensions must have expired, the offender must have a clear driving record (other than the revocation sanction), undergo an alcohol/drug evaluation, complete a remedial alcohol/drug education program and they must demonstrate during the hearing that public safety will not be endangered if driving privileges are restored.

Informal hearings are held at most driver’s license facilities, and are handled on a first-come first served walk-in basis. Those who are denied for full reinstatement can request another hearing after 30 days.

Second-time or subsequent Illinois DUI offenders are usually required to request a formal hearing for full reinstatement. An application must be submitted, along with a fee, to the Illinois Secretary of State.

Potential Outcomes

Potential outcomes from the hearings include full reinstatement of the driver’s license or restricted driving privileges.

Reinstatement, or the full restoration of driving privileges, allows driving at any time and anywhere, provided the driver has obtained a valid Illinois driver’s license and is not suspended or revoked or withdrawn in another state. All revocations and most suspensions require a reinstatement fee.

In Illinois, a person who has had their driver’s license revoked may be granted limited driving privileges. Restricted driving permits are issued only for employment, education and/or medical purposes when no other form of transportation is available.

A first-time DUI offender can regain some driving privileges after 31 days of suspension by obtaining a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). First time offenders can drive with an MDDP without limitations. Non first-time offenders are unable to get an Monitoring Device Driving Permit.

Second-time and subsequent DUI offenders may obtain Restricted Driving Permits (RDP), depending on the level of risk that they are classified under by their treatment providers. An offender may be required to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on their vehicle as a condition of driving relief.

MDDP and RDP users can request a formal hearing for full reinstatement of their drivers’ licenses after 9 months use of the permit as reinstatement is not automatic.

Overturning Suspensions

There are over 30 reasons the State of Illinois can suspend or revoke a person’s driver’s license. Knowing the type of suspension is critical in restoring driving privileges. Sometimes traffic related suspensions can be overturned or a DUI suspension can be challenged. Examples include clearing failures to appear in court, failure to pay fines, or moving violations. A knowledgeable Chicago lawyer or Chicago attorney may be able to reopen these cases and overturn the suspension or request the judge lift the conviction.


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