Sep 20

When a person commits DUI or similarly dangerous traffic offenses in Illinois, he or she can lose driving privileges and go through a period of driver’s license suspension or revocation. In order to regain driving privileges, that person must fulfill certain conditions and apply for license reinstatement. Though the terms and conditions of reinstatement often changed based on a person’s criminal history and other relevant factors. 

Driver’s License Suspension vs. Revocation

When a person loses driving privileges in Illinois, the applicable requirements change based on the type of suspension or revocation in question. But most drivers tend to fall into the three categories outlined below. 

  • Suspension — Driver’s license suspension is generally temporary and limited to a maximum of one year. During the suspension period, it may be possible to obtain a restricted driving permit (RDP). But the driver must meet certain requirements, such as financial hardship, insurance coverage, or a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID). 
  • Revocation — Driver’s license revocation is a more permanent process that can last for an indefinite period of time. During the revocation period, certain drivers can apply for an RDP. But it is not guaranteed. And the driver must reach their eligibility date to apply for license reinstatement. 
  • Lifetime Revocation — A person can experience lifetime revocation of driving privileges if they repeatedly commit certain crimes, including DUI, hit-and-run, and reckless homicide. In these situations, the driver must wait at least five years to apply for an RDP. Reinstatement is not possible until the driver reaches the eligibility date. 

Driver’s License Reinstatement Process

In order to regain driving privileges on a suspended or revoked license, a driver go through the reinstatement process and complete all applicable requirements. The typical reinstatement tends to follow the pattern described below. 

  • Initial Consultation — Any driver with a suspended or revoked license must start the reinstatement process by having an initial consultation with a hearing officer. These initial consultations take place at Secretary of State facilities throughout Illinois. The hearing officer reviews the driver’s history and explains the next steps in the reinstatement process. 
  • Informal Hearing — For less severe offenses, such as minor accidents or first-time DUI, a driver may be eligible for an informal hearing. These hearings are available for walk-ins at Secretary of State facilities throughout Illinois. The hearing officer will review applicable records and determine whether the driver completed all reinstatement requirements. 
  • Formal Hearing — For more severe offenses, such as repeat DUI or accidents that cause physical harm or death, a driver must schedule a formal hearing. These hearings are only available on an appointment basis at select Secretary of State facilities in Illinois. The hearing officer will review applicable records and determine whether the driver completed all reinstatement requirements.
  • Approval or Denial — After the informal or formal hearing, the officer will decide whether to approve or deny the reinstatement claim. After receiving a denial, the driver must wait 30 to 90 days before reapplying for reinstatement. When their claim is approved, the driver must satisfy any legal requirements and pay all fees before receiving a new driver’s license. 

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or by completing an online form.