How to Get a Suspended CDL Back in Illinois

Updated on 03/24/2023 / Under

Because operating commercial vehicles takes more skill and is inherently more dangerous, the consequences of infractions are much harsher than those placed upon those with regular driver's licenses. Punishments and consequences tend to be swift and harsh when it comes to CDL holders. These infractions also stay on your driving record longer and can cause you to lose your job, as well as be turned down by other trucking companies even after your suspension has been lifted, and your CDL license reinstated.

Commercial driver's license suspensions can have long-lasting effects on CDL drivers, that stretch well past their suspension period. Trucking companies are less likely to hire or retain truck drivers with even a single suspension or violation.

This can threaten a driver's entire career and future, which is yet another reason why CDL license suspensions should be taken extremely seriously by drivers, and why we take license suspension cases so seriously. Our Naperville traffic lawyers put our client's needs first, and we do everything we can to get you back behind the wheel. 

When Can Your CDL Be Suspended?

Suspension of commercial driver's licenses is almost always associated with extremely serious traffic violations. Things like minor speeding infractions or traffic signal violations normally do not result in CDL suspensions. Operating commercial vehicles, such as buses or semi-trucks, requires a lot more talent and carries a lot more responsibility than operating a normal motor vehicle. Accidents involving commercial vehicles are much more expensive and much more likely to end in serious physical injuries, permanent disabilities, and even fatalities. 

Because these accidents tend to be so serious, it is a lot easier to lose a CDL than it is to lose a regular license. While your driving privileges can be suspended no matter the type of license you have, you can have multiple serious infractions, depending on the infractions, before facing license suspension when you have a regular driver's license. However, when operating a commercial motor vehicle, a single serious infraction can be enough for you to lose your driving privilege. 

a commercial truck in a parking lot

Illinois, like many states, has a point system run and monitored by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. According to state law in Illinois, the Illinois DMV allows drivers over the age of 21 to commit three traffic violations before they add up all of the points assigned to the driver based on the traffic violations that the driver committed. If the driver is under 21, they need only to commit 2 violations before their points are added and counted. If over-21 drivers have at least 15 points, and under-21 drivers have at least 10 points, they will face a 2-month suspension. 

When it comes to CDL holders, however, these drivers are judged much more harshly. A single serious traffic violation, such as reckless driving or speeding, or any other more serious infractions on the road, can result in an immediate 60-day to 1-year disqualification from operating any commercial vehicles. Even if you had a spotless driving record before your violation, you will most likely face an immediate suspension. 

What is Classified as a Serious Traffic Violation?

The most common reasons for CDL suspensions are:

  • Excessive speeding >15 over the posted limit
  • Tailgating 
  • Fatal accidents, or accidents resulting in serious injury 
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Reckless driving 

These are not all of the driving infractions one can commit in Illinois, however, they are the most common driving laws broken by drivers, whether those drivers have basic driver's licenses or CDLs. Using handheld devices, for example, or driving without your CDL on your person can also be considered serious traffic violations. 

When it comes to driving commercial vehicles and the kind of damage caused by accidents involving commercial vehicles, almost every infraction is considered to be serious and results in the suspension of your commercial driver's license. This threat to public safety is extremely real, and a single mistake can end in terrifying, and sometimes fatal, consequences for the commercial and the noncommercial driver alike. 

How can You Reinstate a Suspended CDL?

As long as you have not received a lifetime disqualification from possessing a CDL or operating commercial vehicles, you will be able to have your commercial driver's license reinstated. In some cases, you may even be eligible for a reversal or revisiting of your lifetime ban.

Once your disqualification period is over, you are able to apply to have your commercial driver's license reinstated. This process includes two steps: completing any required rehabilitation programs, educational programs, etc, assigned to you at the time of your suspension, and paying the reinstatement fee for your CDL. Depending on the reason for your suspension, your reinstatement fee can be anywhere between $100 to $700. 

Can You Get Court Supervision Instead of Losing Your CDL?

As mentioned above, CDL holders are held to a higher standard in Illinois. In most cases, this means that while you can request court supervision, ie parole, instead of other punishments for your traffic crimes, the Secretary of State's Office and DMV still have the option and ability to suspend your commercial driver's license, and in most cases view voluntary court supervision as a conviction or admittance of guilt.

If you have subsequent violations, this can be especially detrimental to the possibility of your commercial driver's license being suspended. While getting your trial over with as quickly as possible can seem attractive, it can cause harm to your livelihood and quality of life down the line. You should never accept any kind of plea deal or request court supervision until you have spoken to a defense attorney about all of your realistic options.  

There are some parts of court supervision that can be helpful to the reinstatement of your commercial driver's license. Court-ordered additional penalties, such as required attendance at a drug remedial education program, a driver improvement program, or even alcohol counseling and alcohol education courses, can help show the Secretary of State's office that you deserve to have your license reinstated. 

a man getting into a tractor trailer

Can You Appeal a CDL Suspension?

If you feel your original suspension was unwarranted, you may also appeal your suspension as soon as your license is suspended. These hearings are held by the Secretary of State's office, and you must apply for a hearing by submitting the correct paperwork and paying the $50 application fee. This fee is non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of your hearing. These hearings can be informal hearings, for less serious crimes, or formal hearings, for more serious violations. 

Informal hearings, in Illinois, are classified as hearings overseen by the Secretary of State's office involving no fatalities, no more than one DUI conviction, or any sanctions related to lesser moving traffic violations. These hearings are run on a walk-in basis and can result in a restricted driving permit for regular drivers, up to full reinstatement for commercial drivers and civilian drivers. 

A Formal hearing, however, is very different. These hearings must be applied for, and are overseen by a Hearing Officer. This hearing officer acts as the judge in your "trial", or hearing, and has been granted power by The Illinois Secretary of State to rule over your hearing for reinstatement. Once you have submitted your hearing request and $50 filing fee, you will be notified of your hearing date via a Notice of Hearing. This notice will inform you of the time, date, and location of your hearing. Once the date is set, the countdown begins. 

You will only have until your hearing date to gather evidence and build your defense, and it is imperative that you have an experienced traffic lawyer by your side as you do. You are allowed a lawyer at both formal and informal hearings. While the overseeing Hearings Officer will make a decision in your case, their decision still falls under the purview of the Administrative Review Law. 

Do You Need Help Getting Your License Back?

If you are facing a suspension of your commercial driver's license, or your CDL has already been suspended, it's not too late. Even a lifetime disqualification of your commercial driving privilege can be overturned if you are willing to work hard enough. For most truckers, losing their CDL privileges means losing their job, and many future career options. It can end in bankruptcy for those who own their own trucks or don't work for large companies. Don't let a single mistake change your entire life. 

Call the Law Office of Naperville DUI Lawyer today, and, through a free consultation, allow us to walk through all of your options with you. It's time to get back on the road, and we're here to make sure that happens.