New Year, New Me with a Reinstated License

Steps to Getting Your License Reinstated

If you’re charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) your license to operate a vehicle is automatically suspended or revoked based on the offense. A misdemeanor and a first time DUI will suspend your license for at least a minimum period. A higher criminal charge will revoke your license indefinitely.

In either case, driving privileges are not automatically reinstated when the court order penalty expires. In Illinois, the Administrative Hearings Department conducts hearings for reinstatement of a driver’s license. You can’t apply before the suspension’s expiration date, but you can take steps in preparation for this legal procedure.

If you are eligible, talk with your attorney. They can help assemble and authenticate the necessary evidence to support reinstating your driving privileges.

Suspension versus Revocation

The differences between suspension and revocation involve the circumstances for the charge and the conviction outcome. First time suspensions with no injuries or minor driving infractions could last a few months or several years. Repeat offenses will always increase the penalties making it more difficult to reinstate your driver's license.


Don’t be tempted to take a risk and drive with a suspended or revoked license. The decision is going to affect the hearing’s outcome. Failure to abide by the court orders will instigate harsher punishments, such as:

  • Increase the suspension or license revocation

  • Monetary fines

  • Arrested with jail time

  • Possession of your vehicle

  • Preparations for a Hearing

There are informal and formal hearings procedures for reinstating a driver’s license. Less severe DUI cases may have the option of an informal hearing. More serious criminal cases will mandate a formal hearing.

Forms need to be filled out and submitted with a filing fee (cash not allowed). Informal hearings are walk-ins with no scheduled appointments. Formal hearings require a scheduled meeting with the hearing officer.

Be prepared to discuss why your license was suspended and why you should have it reinstated. If you have a history of DUIs or a reckless driving record you may have been ordered to complete an alcohol evaluation and educational program. The hearing officer will want reference letters for the recovery programs.

In the event you are denied, you can appeal to another hearing.

Hearing Contingencies

If you have no alternative transportation and the loss of driving privileges creates a hardship, you may be eligible for a restricted driving permit.

Proof of financial responsibility for the vehicle, any fines or fees including court-ordered conditions such as an ignition interlock device (IID) must be paid before reinstatement is approved. IID is an alcohol monitoring tool. It prevents the vehicle from starting if you fail its breath test.

In the city of Chicago reinstating your driving privileges requires legality and evidence of changed behavior. Hearings issue license reinstatements, restricted driver's permit, or denial notifications.

The loss of your license is one consequence of drinking and driving. The Toney Law Firm will guide you through the process of being charged and the best defense options to move-on with your life.

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