Sep 14

When a person is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Illinois, there is a mandatory period of driver’s license suspension. The convicted DUI offender is not allowed to drive a car or operate other vehicles for a certain amount of time. This suspension period can apply to commercial drivers, as well.

That being said, Illinois law recognizes that certain people need to drive for work or medical reasons. As a result, it is possible for a convicted drunk driver to receive a restricted driving permit (RDP). These permits allow a DUI offender to drive for approved reasons and under limited conditions.

Who is Eligible for an RDP?

As outlined by the Illinois Secretary of State, the offender must demonstrate undue hardship to be eligible for an RDP. Specifically, the offender must show that they need to drive for:

  • Employment reasons;
  • Medical reasons;
  • Child, elderly, or disabled care;
  • Academic reasons;
  • Support group attendance; or
  • Court-ordered community service.

If the offender cannot demonstrate undue hardship for any of the reasons above, then they are ineligible for an RDP.

What is the Procedure for Obtaining an RDP?

The first step in the process of obtaining an RDP involves a consultation with a hearing officer. The offender can schedule a consultation at various Secretary of State facilities across Illinois.

The second step in the RDP process revolves around alcohol and drug requirements. Within six months of their RDP hearing, the offender must schedule an alcohol and drug evaluation with a licensed provider. The provider will classify the offender as minimal, moderate/significant, or high risk and assign various requirements.

  • Minimal Risk: The offender must complete a substance abuse course from a licensed provider.
  • Moderate/Significant Risk: The offender must complete the minimal risk requirements as well as early intervention or substance abuse treatment. A continuing care status report is also required.
  • High Risk: The offender must complete recommended treatment and provide a continuing care status report. The offender must also provide three letters from their support group and three letters confirming their sobriety.

The third step in the RDP process involves an informal or formal hearing. Informal hearings are normally available for first-time or minor offenders. Formal hearings are required for repeat offenders and fatal accidents. After the informal or formal hearing, the hearing officer will decide whether to grant an RDP.

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.

(image courtesy of Andrew Peloso)