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Why a Driver’s License Revocation Is More Severe Than a SuspensionLosing your driving privileges is a cumbersome penalty that you can face for various infractions in Illinois. People often refer to a driver’s license suspension and a driver’s license revocation as if they are the same thing. Both have the same result of making it illegal for you to drive unless you receive a Restricted Driving Permit. However, a driver’s license revocation is more severe and will make it more difficult for you to regain your driving privileges. You will need the help of an experienced license reinstatement lawyer in order to get your license back.

What Is the Difference Between Suspension and Revocation?

When your driver’s license is suspended, you still possess it but it is temporarily inactive. You could have a definite suspension, in which your license is suspended for a set amount of time, or an indefinite suspension, in which reinstatement of your license is dependent upon meeting conditions such as paying fines. Once the conditions for ending the suspension have been met, you will automatically be eligible for reinstatement of your license.

When your driver’s license is revoked, it has been terminated so that it no longer exists. To regain your driving privileges, you will need to apply for a new driver’s license after a set waiting period. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office must grant permission for you to reinstate your license, which it will determine at a hearing. In order to receive permission, you may need to show that you will not be a danger to yourself or others if you are allowed to drive.

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How Serious Is Driving with a Suspended License?Illinois can suspend or revoke your driver’s license for a number of reasons. Your license will be suspended if you commit three moving traffic violations within 12 months. Some driving offenses require an immediate suspension, such as driving under the influence. You can even lose your license for not paying child support. Being legally prohibited from driving is a major inconvenience if you are trying to hold down a job or go about your daily life. Some people are tempted to drive anyway, believing that it is unlikely that they will be caught. However, driving with a suspended or revoked license is a serious offense that can make your current situation much worse.

Penalties

Being caught while driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license can be a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony, depending on your circumstances:

  • Most violations are a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by as long as a year in jail and a fine of $2,500.
  • The violation is a traffic citation if your license was suspended for failing to pay parking tickets or child support.
  • The violation is a Class 4 felony if you have previously been convicted for driving with a suspended license or if your license was suspended for DUI or reckless homicide.
  • A second violation when your license was suspended for DUI or reckless homicide is a Class 2 felony.

In addition to these penalties, the suspension period for your driver’s license will be extended by the same amount of time as your original suspension.

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Preparing for a Driver's License Reinstatement HearingYour license has been suspended due to your conviction for a traffic-related offense. You adhere to the terms of your punishment, including serving jail time and paying fines. You take required classes to show that you have learned from your mistakes. Now, your suspension period has ended, and you are eligible for reinstatement of your driver’s license. You are confident because you have done everything asked of you. However, it would be a mistake to treat your driver’s license reinstatement hearing as a formality. The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office will subject you to great scrutiny during the hearing to ensure that it is safe to reinstate your driving privileges. Going into the hearing unprepared can result in disaster and disappointment.

Reinstatement Requirements

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office can restrict driving privileges by suspending or revoking a person’s driver’s license. Courts use suspension as a punishment for people who:

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Proposed Illinois Law Would Strengthen Driver's License Suspension After DUI ArrestThe Illinois House of Representatives approved a bill that would create an additional requirement for rescinding a statutory summary suspension following an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law would require a court to provide the Illinois Secretary of State’s office with a factual reason for the decision before the office will comply with an order to rescind the driver’s license suspension. The bill still must receive approval from the Illinois Senate and governor before it becomes a law.

Statutory Summary Suspension

The Secretary of State can take civil action against a DUI suspect before a criminal trial by issuing a statutory summary suspension or revocation of the suspect’s driver’s license. The suspension applies to people arrested for DUI who either refused the blood alcohol concentration test or had test results that showed that their BAC was over the legal limit. The suspension begins 46 days after the suspect receives a notice of summary suspension. The duration varies, depending on the circumstances:

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Difference Between Formal, Informal License Reinstatement Hearings

Reinstating your Illinois driver’s license after it has been suspended or revoked requires attending a hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. The type of hearing you receive depends on the infraction that caused you to lose your license:

The purpose of any hearing is for you to explain to the hearing officer why your driving privileges should be reinstated in full or on a restricted basis. However, a formal hearing is a more arduous process.

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