If your Illinois driver’s license has been revoked, you are probably anxious to get back behind the wheel. But because the driving offenses that lead to revocation are so serious, the state does not make it easy to get your license back.
How Soon Can I Start the Reinstatement Process?
For purposes of illustration, we will assume your license was revoked for a minimum of one year. (Your actual revocation could be five years or even longer.)
As a general rule, you can apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP), sometimes referred to as a hardship permit, any time after the revocation is entered on your record.
You can apply to get your license fully reinstated one year from the effective date of revocation. However, you can and should start preparing well in advance for the hearing that will be necessary to get your license back.
See our page on Getting Ready for Your Hearing for details.
How Long Will the Reinstatement Process Itself Take?
Depending on the reason for your revocation, you will go through either the Informal Hearing process or the Formal Hearing process.
Informal Hearing Process: From start to finish, expect this process to take at least two to three months. As with all hearings with the secretary of state, you are required to wait for a written decision as to whether you have been approved for an RDP or the reinstatement of your license. The Secretary of State is required to provide you a written answer within 90 days of your hearing.
If your revocation was for first-time DUI or an offense that did not involve a fatality, you will need to attend an informal hearing with a Secretary of State hearing officer. Informal hearings are available at numerous Driver Services facilities and are held on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary).
The possible outcomes are full reinstatement of your license, a restricted driving permit (RDP) for some period of time (typically 1 year), or denial of any driving relief. If you are approved for reinstatement, you must next pay some fees and prove you have auto insurance. You will then receive authorization to get a new license. With that, you can go to a Drivers Services facility, take a driver’s exam, and get your new license made.
If you receive an RDP, you are required to drive on the RDP for a period of 8 months before you can apply and sit for your next hearing to either extend the RDP or to apply for the full reinstatement of your license. If you are denied all driving relief, you can have another hearing to correct any issues that the Secretary of State had with your petition.
Formal Hearing Process: Expect this process to take about four to six months. Unlike the informal hearing process where no appointment is needed, the formal hearing process requires you to pay a $50 fee and mail in a request for hearing. The hearing will typically be set about 4-6 weeks out from receipt of your application.
Repeat DUI offenders, or an offense involving a fatality, requires a formal hearing. Formal hearings are only available in a few locations, and you must schedule them in advance. After receiving your request for a formal hearing, the Secretary of State’s office will send you a written notice of the date and time of the hearing. By law, the hearing must be held within 90 days of your request. A written decision will be mailed to you within 90 days after the hearing.
Refer to the earlier paragraphs about what happens if you are approved for reinstatement or an RDP. If you are denied, you are entitled to one formal hearing every three months.
How Can I Make Sure I Get It Right the First Time?
As you can see, driver’s license reinstatement in Illinois is neither quick nor simple. The process takes months, and if you fail at your first hearing, you will wait more months to get back on the road. Being extremely well prepared for your hearing is of utmost importance, and the guidance of an experienced reinstatement lawyer will be invaluable.
Trust an Experienced Joliet License Reinstatement Attorney
If your driver’s license was revoked, and you are anxious to get your full driving privileges back, you need to present a very strong case for reinstatement at your first hearing. You need the guidance of a Will County reinstatement lawyer who knows the process and the expectations of the Secretary of State hearing officers. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 today.