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Can You Get a Restricted Driving Permit After a DUI in Chicago?

A restricted driving permit (RDP) is designed to assist those with an undue hardship due to the loss of driving privileges. After a DUI you may be eligible to receive an RDP in order to continue to drive under certain circumstances. Contact Chicago DUI Defense for assistance with navigating the legal proceedings of a DUI and restoration of driving privileges.

Where Can You Go With an RDP?

An RDP grants limited driving privileges, allowing people to continue with their daily lives after their license has been suspended. This hardship license allows the driver to go between their home and any of the following:

  • Your workplace, including driving your car for job-related duties. There are cases that allow you to drive a non-BAIID-equipped employer-provided motor vehicle for job-related duties.
  • A school attended by you or anyone in your household. 
  • A daycare facility attended by a person who lives in your household, including children and elderly persons or disabled persons who can’t drive.
  • Your alcohol rehabilitation program/alcohol classes/drug treatment/drug recovery program, such as AA or other rehabilitation programs recommended by a licensed service provider.
  • Court hearing, Court-ordered activities, and community service.
  • A medical facility, for medical appointments, to receive necessary medical care for yourself or a family member who lives with you.
  • Counseling appointments

Additional restrictions may be placed on the permit such as the certain times of day the motorist is permitted to drive the vehicle. 

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How Do You Qualify for a Restricted Driving Permit?

In order to qualify for an RDP, a driver must meet certain criteria. Eligibility requires a driver to provide the following: 

  • Proof of an Undue hardship – You must prove that you have a driving-related hardship, meaning there is a specific need for you to drive and there are no other modes of transportation to get you to places such as school, your job, or your doctor, or your substance abuse counselor.
  • Contact and consult with a hearing officer 
  • Complete a Uniform alcohol/drug abuse evaluation – This is to be completed by a Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) licensed provider within six months prior to your hearing date. 
  • Complete Alcohol / Drug Requirements - A drug and alcohol evaluation must be completed by a licensed provider and requirements will be made based on the classification given by a DASA evaluator. You will need to provide proof of completion. – 
    • Minimal risk - complete an alcohol/drug remedial education course offered by a licensed provider
    • Moderate Risk or Significant Risk - Minimal Risk Course, complete early intervention or recommended alcohol/drug treatment, and provide continuing care report
    • High Risk - Minimal Risk Requirements, Moderate / Significant Risk Requirements, proof of participation in a substance abuse recovery/support program, as well as proof of abstinence from alcohol/drugs, non-problematic / non-dependent use. 
  • Have a clean driving record – The hearing officer will review your complete driving record. Any prior DUIs and/or past infractions (including traffic violations), can affect your ability to get an RPD. You cannot have any pending tickets at the time of your application.
  • Provide / Install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID)– If you have two or more driving incidents involving alcohol on your record, you must have a BAIIRD on your vehicle to get an RPD. Alternatively, you must use a BAIIRD if you have a single alcohol-related incident that was aggravated by an injury or death.
  • Proof of financial responsibility / Proof of insurance - Minimum liability insurance is required before an RDP is issued. It must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office in the form of a certified policy of insurance, cash deposit, or surety bond, and must be maintained for three years. Insurance must also be submitted on an SR-22 insurance certificate.
  • You are over 16 years of age – Drivers under this age with revoked driving privileges are not eligible for relief.
  • Proof you are not a danger to public safety
  • Pay a $50 Non-Refundable filing fee and if BAIID is required
  • Take driver's examination if required

Learn More: How Much Does a DUI Cost?

How to Apply for an RDP

In order to apply for a restricted driving permit, you must first make sure you have met the above guidelines for qualification.  You must attend an administrative hearing to prove your eligibility to be issued an RDP.  The State of Illinois has two types of hearings, informal and formal.  The type of hearing you must attend depends on the charges and offenses you violated.  

Informal Hearing

First-time DUI offenders without any fatalities or other criminal charges may attend an informal hearing.

Informal hearings are available by walk-in during normal business hours at designated Driver Services facilities. During the informal hearing process, you will meet with a hearing officer. The informal hearing officer will gather all information pertaining to your charges and submit them to the court. The decision will be mailed within 90 days. The verdict may: deny your reinstatement, grant you a Restricted Driving Permit, or fully reinstate your license.

The court decision of an informal hearing cannot be appealed as it is not formally recorded. 

Formal Hearing

If you have multiple offenses or are dealing with an offense that involves a fatality (such as reckless homicide), you must submit a formal request for a hearing by mail. It is advised to have a defense attorney with experience with license revocation represent you for the legal proceedings.

To obtain a formal hearing, you must send a written formal hearing request to the Secretary of State along with a filing fee within 90 days of the notice of your license suspension or license revocation. A notice with the date and time of your formal hearing will be mailed by the court.

a man drinking with his car keys on the bar

An Administrative Judge presides over the formal hearing. A Secretary of State prosecutor and a formal hearing officer will review the evidence, hear your testimony and submit the court's recommendation. The court will contact you with a decision in 3-5 weeks. The decision may deny your reinstatement, grant you a Restricted Driving Permit, or fully reinstate your license.

If you choose to represent yourself and are not fully prepared for the reinstatement hearing process, it is best to notify the court to request a new hearing. 

How Long Does it Take to Get an RDP?

Getting an RDP is not instantaneous. It takes on average, 10-14 weeks. This is because you have to request a formal or informal hearing, wait for the court's decision, and wait for the decision to be mailed.

If the court's decision grants you a restricted driving permit, you will receive your RDP by mail. It is important to remember that your license is suspended until you receive your RDP, so until you have the permit in your possession, you cannot operate a motor vehicle. If a BAIID is required, it must be installed within 14 days from the RDP issue date. An RDP is typically valid for 12 months.

After 8 months of driving with the RDP, you must apply for a renewal for another 12 months. Sometimes a driver may be required to drive with a restricted permit for up to 5 years; in rare cases, a driver has been given restrictions for their driving lifetime. 

If the court decision fully reinstates your license, you will receive authorization by mail. A full or partial driver's license will be required to complete the process.

If the court decision denies your request for an RDP or license reinstatement, you may reapply for an RDP. If the request was denied in an informal hearing you may apply for a formal hearing or wait 30 days from the date of the previous hearing for another informal hearing. If denied after a formal hearing, you must allow 90 days from the date of the previous hearing to request another hearing.

The steps and guidelines to get your driving privileges back can be confusing. Contact a DUI attorney in Chicago to help you navigate the legal proceedings to restore your driving freedom.

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