Can You Get a Hardship License After a DUI in Illinois?

Updated on 07/16/2021 / Under

Having your driving privileges suspended or revoked can make life challenging. In most communities, motor vehicles are the primary mode of transport. Everything needs the use of a motor vehicle, from driving to medical appointments to driving to the grocery store, work, school, and/or daycare.

Lawmakers in Illinois understand the devastating impact that losing a driver's license can have, and have it possible to get a hardship license after a DUI in Illinois. If you can prove you need to use a car to get to work you can get a provisional license, which allows them to get to and from work. You can lose your driving privileges because of many reasons, such as not paying your traffic tickets, having too many traffic violations, being convicted for drunk driving, or failure to make child support payments.

With a license suspension, there's an end date to the suspension period, while a license revocation is indefinite and requires a license reinstatement hearing to reinstate your driving privileges. The experienced license reinstatement lawyers at Ktenas Law can help you get a hardship license. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our criminal defense law firm today at (630) 425-0250, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.

What Is a Hardship License in Illinois?

Often, you need a hardship license or restricted driving permit (RDP) to achieve full reinstatement of your driver's license. Although restricted licenses impose certain restrictions, they allow people to drive to school, work, and regularly scheduled medical appointments. A hardship license is beneficial because it grants you driving relief from the hardship of a revoked or suspended driving license.

Given the many requirements that you must meet before receiving a restricted driving permit, it's essential to hire an experienced driver's license lawyer to guide you. At Ktenas Law, we have helped thousands of drivers in Cook County and throughout Illinois get restricted licenses and we can help you too.

How Do You Get a Hardship License After a DUI in Illinois?

When applying for an RDP, you must demonstrate that you need this permit. Some reasons for getting the permit are:

  • Driving to and from work,
  • Driving to and from a medical appointment,
  • Driving to and from school, and
  • Disability and medical reasons for yourself, an elderly person, child, or another person in your care.

Even if you meet these requirements, there may be some limitations. For instance, you can't receive the permit if your school or workplace around the block. Further, meeting these requirements doesn't mean you qualify for an RDP.

Contact our attorneys for help getting your hardship license.

Also, your age may influence the final decision. Sometimes, you may be given a driver's permit that features a monitoring device, such as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID).

Before applying for the limited driving privileges, you must:

  • Provide proof of medical evaluation and alcohol or drug abuse treatment,
  • Attend a hearing before a public officer,
  • Prove you aren't a danger to public safety,
  • Prove that hardship actually exists, and
  • Pay a $50 filing fee.

Further, you must attend a hardship license hearing to prove your eligibility for the permit. However, it's essential to note that you can only request a formal hearing by mail. And if you apply for a formal hearing, you must submit a formal hearing request. If you're not eligible for a formal hearing, you can request an informal hearing if you qualify. This is available during normal business hours on a walk-in basis.

During the license reinstatement hearing, there are three potential outcomes. You may receive a full license reinstatement, a restricted driving permit, or reinstatement denial.

How Long Does it Take to Get the Hardship Permit in Illinois?

To receive a hardship permit, you must prove that losing your driver's license will subject you and your family to "undue hardship."

Undue hardship includes:

  • Inability to get to your workplace,
  • Inability to take your kids to school, and
  • Inability to get to medical appointments.

It takes 90 days to receive your hearing results. This is approximately 10 to 14 weeks from the date of your administrative license hearing with the Secretary of State.

Further, it's imperative to note that there's a waiting period before your formal hearing. And after the approval, it takes some time to receive the permit. If your application is approved, you'll receive the approval letter via mail. Also, the mailing includes petitioner-specific requirements that you must meet. You must complete the documentation and submit it to the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS).

What Happens if I Drive on a Suspended License?

Most people assume that driving on a suspended or revoked license is like any other petty traffic offense. However, driving on a revoked or suspended driver's license is a criminal offense, which serious consequences. Typically, this criminal offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 364 days in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500 plus mandatory court assessments.

Sometimes, driving on a suspended or revoked is charged as a felony offense with more severe criminal penalties. If your driver's license was revoked or suspended for DUI, a first-time conviction of driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license carries a minimum criminal penalty of a jail sentence of 10 days or 240 hours of community service.

A second violation for driving on a suspended or revoked for driving under the influence is charged as a Class 4 felony offense. The mandatory minimum punishment for a second offense requires a maximum fine of $25,000,  30 days in jail, or 300 hours of community service.

Driving without a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) issued to you, multiple traffic violations, and driving on a license that was revoked for reckless homicide all carry additional penalties.

If you're caught driving on a suspended license in Illinois, you could face the following criminal penalties:

  • An increased license suspension period.
  • Jail time.
  • Revocation of your driver’s license.
  • Seizure of your car.

If you're convicted of driving on a suspended license, the SOS will extend your license suspension for the same duration as your original suspension. If your license suspension has already expired, the SOS will re-suspend your license for the same time as your original suspension.

If you're convicted of driving on a revoked license, the SOS won't consider the reinstatement of your driving privileges for at least one year from the date of conviction.

How Do I Get My Suspended License Back in Illinois?

There are no requirements for a driver to get their driver's license back. The process for reinstating your driver's license depends on the reason it was suspended/revoked, and other factors, such as your driving history. Typically, you must do the following to get your license back:

  • Satisfy any requirements set by the court; and
  • Pay a reinstatement fee.
Hardship License After a DUI

However, it's vital to note that reinstating a revoked license is trickier because there are more steps to follow. For instance, to get your license reinstated after a DUI conviction, you must:

  • Have a clean driving record.
  • Have alcohol or drug evaluation. And if an alcohol or substance abuse problem is noted, you must submit proof of alcohol or drug treatment.
  • Complete an alcohol treatment program.
  • Meet with an SOS hearing officer.
  • File proof of financial responsibility.
  • Pay the application fee and $500 reinstatement fee. But if you request a formal hearing for license reinstatement, you must pay a $50 non-refundable filing fee.
  • Pass a driving exam, written exam, and vision exam.

Your license reinstatement only becomes valid once it's entered on your driver’s record in the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. Loss of driving privileges isn't an exciting experience because you're subject to severe penalties aimed at keeping you from breaking the rules again. Drive safely to avoid all the hassle.

How Can a License Reinstatement Lawyer Help?

Our license reinstatement attorneys have extensive experience offering high-quality criminal defense and driver's license reinstatement services throughout Illinois. Our driver defense team can review your driving record to determine the best course of legal action.

If possible, we help you clear the license suspension or revocation before appearing in court on a driving on suspended or revoked license charge. At a minimum, reinstating your license can be used as mitigation in court, resulting in a more favorable outcome. Sometimes, walking into court with a valid license can even result in a full dismissal of your charges.

However, only certain types of license suspensions or revocations can be cleared while your case is pending. It's essential to understand that you don't qualify for an administrative hearing with the SOS if you have a case pending in court. Your case must be resolved first before you can qualify for license reinstatement through a driver's license hearing.

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented thousands of clients charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Kendall County, Lake County, and throughout Illinois. Our license reinstatement attorneys will work hard to avoid or reduce the negative impact these criminal charges may have on your life and driving privileges. By clearing your license suspension before going to court, negotiating a favorable plea deal, or taking your case to trial, our license reinstatement attorneys will provide you with the experienced legal representation you need.

If you're seeking a restricted permit or reinstatement of your license before the Illinois Secretary of State, contact the Naperville DUI attorneys at Ktenas Law to discuss your case. Our attorneys have decades of experience and will provide the high-quality representation that you need. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our experienced hardship license attorneys today at (630) 425-0250.