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McHenry County DUI defense attorneyIf you are subject to a driver’s license revocation because you were convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, you must take specific actions to regain your driving privileges. Driving with a revoked or suspended license in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor offense punishable by a mandatory minimum jail sentence and up to $2,500 in fines. A second offense for driving on a suspended or revoked license may constitute a felony. To avoid these criminal charges and regain your ability to legally drive, you will need to attend a formal or informal Secretary of State reinstatement hearing.

Complete the Education Program and Other Requirements

Many people mistakenly assume that a driver’s license suspension is the same as a revocation. If your license is revoked, it is revoked indefinitely. You will have to take certain actions to prove that you deserve to have your license reinstated. The exact steps that you must take depend on the reason that your license was revoked, the results of your drug and alcohol evaluation, and other factors. You must complete a drug and alcohol remedial education program and, if the results of your evaluation indicate possible drug or alcohol dependency, you may need to undergo treatment. You will need to provide documentation that proves that you completed the necessary steps.

Prepare to Answer Difficult Questions

If you were convicted of a first-time DUI, your reinstatement hearing is likely to be an informal meeting at a Secretary of State Driver Services facility. If you have been convicted of multiple DUIs or DUI resulting in serious injury or death, you will likely need to attend a formal hearing with a lawyer representing the Illinois Secretary of State. Whether your hearing is formal or informal, you must be prepared to answer some difficult questions about:


McHenry County suspended driver's license defense lawyerMany people believe that driving on a suspended or revoked license is a petty offense or traffic violation, punishable with perhaps a fine, or something equally minor. In reality, Illinois law characterizes it as a standard criminal offense, meaning that if you are charged with this crime, you may face both fines and jail time. If you drive with a suspended license after you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), the consequences can be even more severe because you have already shown that you have a disregard for others’ safety. Enlisting an experienced attorney for your case is crucial. 

Reasons for an Illinois Driver’s License Suspension

There are many reasons that an Illinois driver’s license could be suspended, including failing to appear in traffic court, failing to pay child support, and being convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period. Depending on the severity of the traffic violations, your license could even be revoked after multiple offenses in a short time.

License suspension and revocation are also common consequences related to a DUI arrest or conviction. For example, if you fail a breathalyzer test at the time of your arrest, you will face an immediate suspension of your license for at least six months. Refusing the test completely can mean a suspension for at least a year. If you are convicted of driving under the influence, your license can then be revoked for at least a year for the first offense, and longer for subsequent offenses. You will also likely be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a period of time.


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.


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.


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.


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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