Winter is just around the bend in Illinois. For Chicagoans who have suspended or revoked licenses, it may be time to start thinking about reinstating—waiting for public transit can get pretty cold.
Suspension and revocation are two different processes that both result in your license being taken away.
If your license was suspended, you will lose your driving privileges for a specific amount of time, or until you meet certain reinstatement requirements. When your license has been revoked, your driver's license has been taken away for an indefinite period of time.
The process of reinstating can be long and complicated, and there are a few obstacles on the road to reinstatement. Many find the guidance of a criminal defense attorney invaluable—your attorney's expert knowledge of the laws regarding reinstatement can ensure your license is restored in a simple, timely manner.
Before your license is reinstated, a few things must be taken care of. Here are some of the more common issues that may stand between you and your reinstated license.
If your license was suspended, you must wait the designated period of time to have your license reinstated. If it was revoked, you will have to wait at least a year to apply for reinstatement. Drivers who have been convicted of multiple DUIs face increasing periods of revocation—5 years for 2 convictions, 10 years for a third, and lifetime revocation for a fourth or subsequent conviction.
If you have any outstanding fines related to your suspended or revoked license, you will have to pay them before you can apply for reinstatement. You will have to pay a reinstatement fine as well.
For first-time suspensions, this fine is $250 dollars. For repeat offenders, it is $500. Those who have had their license revoked have to pay a $500 dollar fine to reinstate their license. For a complete list of fees and their explanations, click here.
- Evaluation and Remedial Education (for DUI Revocations)
If you've had your license revoked because of a DUI, you will have to undergo a drug and alcohol abuse evaluation. If you were evaluated and determined to have a substance abuse problem, you must complete some form treatment. Proof of successfully completed treatment is needed before your license will be returned to you.
Even if the evaluation doesn't recommend it, you will also need to complete a remedial alcohol education program. Again, you will need proof of this. The program needs to be a Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA)-licensed alcohol/drug remedial education class. DASA approved courses can be located online here.
- Your Reinstatement Hearing (for DUI Revocations)
Even if you have waited a year (or more), paid all due fines, and completed the necessary programs, your license might not be returned to you if state believes you are still a risk to other drivers.
Before you are allowed behind the wheel again, you'll have to appear before a Secretary of State hearing officer. This person will review your case, taking a number of factors in account before approving or denying your reinstatement request.
At this hearing you will have to demonstrate that reinstating your license will not endanger the public. Your hearing officer considers the seriousness of the offense, your overall driving record, and the remedial steps you have taken during your suspension.
For a more in-depth look at the process of reinstatement, you can visit the Illinois DMV website.
Reinstatement is a complex and frustrating process. Often there is no guarantee that your license will be reinstated—despite all your efforts. A knowledgeable defense attorney can increase your chances of getting back on the road soon by guiding you every step of the way.