If you have a DUI conviction, the Secretary of State may have revoked your driver’s license. Losing your license is affecting your ability to work and to live your daily life.

How can you get your license back?

The road to reinstatement is not as easy as the Secretary of State rule book makes it sound. For one thing, you will not automatically regain your driving privileges just because you successfully completed the terms of your DUI sentence. You will still need to apply for reinstatement.

Following a first or subsequent DUI conviction, your license will be revoked for at least one year. (If you have received supervision instead of a conviction, your license is suspended rather than revoked, and you may simply need to pay the reinstatement fee.) The court will order treatment for substance abuse, and you will have to complete the terms of your sentence.

Once your sentence is terminated satisfactory, you can immediately apply for reinstatement. Bear in mind, however, that the Secretary of State does not care that you really need to drive. The Secretary is under pressure to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Once you apply, you will have to attend a hearing where you will have to testify on your own behalf. You will also be questioned by an attorney for the Secretary of State. You will have the opportunity to present evidence that you deserve to have your license returned.

Therefore, an attorney can greatly help you navigate the minefield of the reinstatement process. For example, an attorney may recommend certain courses of treatment that will improve your chance of success. An attorney can also help you present yourself in a way that will appeal to the hearing officer. A client often doesn’t realize how their statements may be perceived. What you think is a reasonable explanation may sound like a lame excuse to a hearing officer.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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