Losing your driving license can make your life miserable. The best possible advice anyone can give is that you obey the law at all times and avoid a suspension altogether. Otherwise, going through the process of getting your license reinstated can mean a tremendous amount of hassle and, in some cases, substantive financial penalties and jail time.
In the state of Illinois, a driver’s license can be suspended for the following reasons:
- Receiving three moving violations within a 12-month period.
- Having 10 or more unpaid parking violations.
- Being cited for five or more automated traffic violations (e.g., running a red light).
- Failure to appear in court to resolve a traffic citation.
- Failure to pay fines for five or more tollway violations.
- Being cited for driving without insurance resulting in an accident.
- Conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substance.
- Failure to pay court-ordered child support.
The Illinois Secretary of State suspends driver’s licenses in the state of Illinois. A suspension is a temporary loss of driving privileges with an attached end date. It is different from a revocation, which revokes driving privileges for an indefinite period.
Getting Your Driver’s License Reinstated
In order to get an Illinois driver’s license reinstated from suspension, the driver must wait out the suspension period. Some suspensions are set in stone – e.g., an automatic two-year suspension for DUI – while other suspension terms depend on the particular violation and how long it takes to get it resolved. At any rate, the reinstatement process is nearly identical in all situations.
At the conclusion of the suspension term, you will need to participate in either a formal or informal hearing with a duly authorized Secretary of State hearing officer. It is that individual’s responsibility to assess your circumstances in order to determine whether reinstatement should move forward. Whether your hearing is informal or formal will depend on why your license was suspended in the first place. Informal hearings can be requested by visiting the office of the local hearing officer; formal hearings can only be requested by mail, in writing.
The result of your hearing will be one of two options: a complete reinstatement of your driving privileges or a restricted driving permit contingent upon fulfilling additional obligations. The hearing officer’s decision will be mailed to you within 90 days. Should your full driving privileges not be restored, you will also receive additional instructions regarding what to do next.
Driving on a Suspended License
Drivers should be aware that the state of Illinois does not take driving on a suspended license lightly. Any driver caught doing so is subject to additional time added to the original suspension, possible jail time, possible license revocation, and seizure of the driver’s vehicle. Repeat offenders are dealt with harshly so as to discourage them from continuing such behavior.
Should you face the suspension of your license for any reason you can, and should, contact an attorney for advice. In cases such as DUI and accidents involving driving without insurance, legal representation will be vital to ensure you get a fair hearing and proper protection of your rights. In addition, contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Waiting too long does nothing but make your case more challenging to defend.