Prior to August of 2015, there were certain “hard time” periods during which no driving relief could be granted for the person with a revoked driver’s license. Fortunately for the revoked driver, Governor Rauner changed the laws in 2015, removing this hard time restriction in most cases. Under the current law, if your driving privileges are suspended or revoked, you may apply for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or “Hardship License” at any time during the period of suspension / revocation for any of the six reasons listed below:
- Medical or Treatment Purposes
- Court Ordered Activities and Community Service
- Support / Recovery
- Day Care
However, in order be granted an RDP, you must show by clear and convincing evidence that an “undue hardship” exists requiring issuance of the permit. Generally, the Illinois Secretary of State defines undue hardship as an “extreme difficulty” in performing one of the six activities listed above. An inconvenience to your friends and family in carpooling you or your dependent around will not qualify as an undue hardship.
Showing an undue hardship is the second hurdle you must cross in obtaining driving relief. First, you must prove to the Secretary of State that reinstating your driving privileges will not “endanger the public safety and welfare.” Only after you have met this burden will the Secretary of State even consider granting you an RDP.
In order to meet this first burden, you will be required to meet all the documentation requirements required to proceed with a hearing, including proof that all required drug and alcohol treatment is completed. Once the Secretary of State is satisfied you have met the minimum documentation requirements, a formal hearing may commence. At hearing, the hearing officer will determine whether or not you pose a danger to the public safety and welfare.
If you are granted a Restricted Driving Permit, the Secretary of State will require a BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) be installed in your car.
We highly recommend that our clients who qualify for a Restricted Driving Permit apply for driving relief during the actual suspension / revocation. The overwhelming majority of clients who apply for full reinstatement of driving privileges after their period of suspension / revocation ends are still only awarded an RDP as a probationary device under the discretionary authority of the Secretary of State. This happens despite the fact that they were eligible for full reinstatement.
Generally, our clients who drove on a Restricted Driving Permit during the actual period of Suspension / Revocation, and had no serious traffic law violations or BAID violations during that period, are granted full reinstatement at their next hearing. Therefore, if there is a strong possibility you will only be granted a Restricted Driving Permit anyway, and you can show an undue hardship, it makes more sense to seek an RDP during the actual period of your suspension / revocation.
Illinois Administrative Law gives you the right to an attorney in a Formal or Informal Hearing. Do not make the mistake of trying to seek reinstatement of your driving privileges alone. From the time you apply for a hearing until the decision is received, the process typically takes between 4 to 5 months. Therefore, it is critical you get it right the first time.
Attorney Todd J. Polito has years of experience representing drivers seeking reinstatement of driving privileges before the Illinois Secretary of State Formal or Informal Hearing Process. He and the attorneys of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC are ready to help you now. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation to review your driving record.