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Getting your driver’s license back after a DUI

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Posted on October 29, 2021

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime with harsh consequences.

If an Illinois court convicts you of drunk driving, you will automatically lose your driver’s license until you complete the requirements to get it back.

Suspension versus revocation

A DUI conviction can result in either a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges in Illinois. You can have your suspended license reinstated after the suspension period ends upon payment of the required fee. A revoked license is indefinite until you appear before the court to request reinstatement.

Reinstatement hearings

Depending on your risk classification level, you may request an informal or formal license reinstatement hearing through the Illinois Secretary of State. Preparing for your hearing may entail some or all the following steps:

  • Paying reinstatement and filing fees
  • Maintaining a clean driving record
  • Completing a drug and alcohol treatment or education program
  • Proving financial responsibility
  • Passing the state driver’s test

A hearing officer will review your documentation to determine if you meet the criteria for reinstatement.

Alternative driving privileges

The loss of driving privileges makes life tremendously tough, especially when you cannot perform work and family duties that require vehicle transportation. If the court denies your request to have your license reinstated, you may be eligible for a restricted driving permit. With an RDP, you can drive to state-approved places such as work, school, recovery meetings and medical appointments.

Trying to get your life back after a DUI can be overwhelming and expensive. It is important to understand the driver’s license reinstatement process so you can get it right the first time.