License Reinstatement FAQ
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Frequently Asked Questions About Driver’s License Reinstatement In Illinois


1. What’s the difference between a license suspension and a license revocation?

A driver’s license suspension is for a definite amount of time, usually ranging from three months to one year. At the end of the suspension period, you pay a fee and your driving privileges are restored. A revocation, on the other hand, is indefinite. In other words, the license cannot be automatically reinstated after a certain amount of time. Rather, you must go through the process of earning your privileges back from the Illinois Secretary of State Department of Administrative Hearings.

2. How much does it cost to get my license reinstated?

There are many variables that determine the cost of reinstatement. The cost will vary depending on whether your license was suspended or revoked. If it was revoked, the cost will again vary depending on whether your hearing can be informal or whether it must instead be formal. The best thing to do is to contact a lawyer to discuss your specific circumstances.

3. What’s the difference between formal and informal Secretary of State Hearings?

First-time DUI offenders and those with only one prior DUI are eligible for reinstatement via the informal hearing process. This proceeding is conducted at a driver’s license facility in front of a local hearing officer. Formal hearings are for those with two or more DUI-related incidents in the past. Formal hearings are conducted at hearing offices in Chicago, Joliet, Springfield and Mount Vernon. The formal hearing is recorded and an informal is not. The results of a formal hearing can be appealed to a court. Informal hearing results are not appealable.

4. What documents will I need for my hearing?

If the revocation is DUI-related, you will need to bring your drug/alcohol evaluation and any subsequent treatment documents, such as a treatment plan, discharge summary, aftercare plan, and Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction (AODA) certificate.

If not DUI-related, you must bring proof that you completed any court-required classes, traffic school or other assigned program. A Certificate of Completion or equivalent document is sufficient.

5. Do I have to quit drinking to get my license reinstated?

This answer depends on your specific situation. If your alcohol evaluation designates you as a Level II alcohol abuser, you will not have to quit drinking in order to get it reinstated. But, you have to learn to drink moderately and without intoxication. If you are classified as a Level III alcoholic, you must quit drinking for a minimum of 12 months prior to asking the Illinois Secretary of State for reinstatement. The period of sobriety must be documented and you must have spent at least 12 months in an ongoing support program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) with a sponsor.

6. As an alcoholic, is it enough for me to be sober to get my license reinstated?

No. You must also have an ongoing support program such as AA or church, where you actively acknowledge that you are an alcoholic, are powerless over alcohol or drugs and that you are working to stay sober every day. The other members of your support program must be active participants in your quest for sobriety.

7. I owe a lot of money on parking tickets or toll violations. What can I do?

I have not had success getting these types of matters reduced; therefore, I do not accept these cases. It may be possible for you to set up a payment plan with the Parking Authority or the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. You must deal with these entities directly. In some cases, a lump-sum payment that is less than the total amount owed will be accepted, but this is at the discretion of the Authority.

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