Can I Get a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) After a DUI?

Updated on 08/10/2023 / Under

In the case where your driving license has been suspended or revoked there are situations where you will be eligible to get a restricted driving permit. A court or DMV will grant you restricted driving privileges. It will depend on the situation surrounding the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. You should note that as a CDL holder who drives commercial motor vehicles and you have been disqualified from driving you will not be eligible to get your commercial driving privileges reinstated to drive commercial motor vehicles.

When you decide to petition the court so you can have restricted driving privileges you will need to provide documents that will show why you need a temporary license. One of the documents should be a letter written by your employer if you need restrictions that allow you to drive to and from work, an SR-22 form, and other documents.

Most people who have had their driving privileges taken away after they have been convicted for a DUI have the same questions ‘can I get a restricted driving permit after a DUI?’ A restricted driver’s permit will only be issued if the cause of the suspension violation of insurance laws or as a result of DUI. Also, your records need to indicate that there are no other withdrawal actions.

DUI defense attorney Alex Ktenas

A lot of individuals depend on their personal vehicles to take them to and from places. A license suspension will seriously inconvenience them. Not having a driving license for most drivers will mean that they will lose a job or driving career. They will not be able to attend school or take and pick their kids from school. Before you sign up for that bus pass and considering public transportation find out if you are eligible for a restricted license. A hardship license will allow a driver to drive to and from restricted places while their driving license is still suspended.

How to Get Your Restricted Driving License in Illinois

If you have valid reasons why you need a hardship permit before your driver's license suspension period is over you should understand that there are some requirements that you should meet in order for you to be granted the permit. Here are some of the requirements that driving privileges pursuant should meet before getting access to DMV-granted restricted driving privileges.

Avail Yourself and Attend the Hearing

You will need to request a formal hearing by mail but you must attend the hearing to show that you are eligible for the hardship permit. During this hearing, there are three possible outcomes that you should expect. With a restricted driving permit(RDP), your driver’s license will be fully reinstated/ revocation period shortened or a reinstatement denial.

Are You Eligible?

Save yourself time and money by evaluating if you are eligible for a restricted driving license. Everyone that has been convicted of a DUI and has received DUI-related suspensions as a penalty is not eligible to get a hardship license. There are instances where a judge could have told you during the time of your sentence that you can apply for a hardship license. Even as this is the case, most of the time judges do not address the issue.

There are only several reasons why an individual will not be eligible for a restricted license. One of them is that they refused to comply with the police officer's request for a chemical test after a drunk driving arrest. Another reason is that they already had a suspended or revoked license at the time when they faced a drunk driving arrest. If these two incidences do not apply to you can pursue a temporary license.

restricted driving permit for DUI arrest

Get Into a DUI School

One of the most common requirements that you will need so you can be granted a hardship license is to enroll in DUI school. It shows your willingness to comply with all the set requirements. When you enroll In a DUI driving school you will take several teaching classes that teach how to drive safely. You do not need to be done with the course in order to get the permit you only need to enroll in the classes. You can ask the DUI school program to give you proof of enrollment as you will need the document while applying for the license.

Wait Until Your Hard Suspension Period Is over

You will have to wait for a certain duration until you are eligible for a restricted driving permit. In most cases, individuals charged with driving under influence of alcohol will have to wait for a thirty days period of time. In other instances, a judge can impose a 30-day suspension period to serve as an individual’s criminal sentence.

During the 30-day hard suspension period a person cannot drive a car at all. Individuals who are being charged for a DUI will have a longer hard suspension period. They can choose to wait until the hard suspension period is over or they can install an ignition interlock device in all the cars that they have so the hardship period can be shortened.  

Participate in Other Court Ordered Programs

There are sentences that require you to enroll in other court-ordered programs such as an alcohol education class. You may require to go into alcohol treatment programs such as rehab, an addiction support group, or other drug addiction treatments such as an AA group. You should enroll in these programs before applying for a driver’s license. Remember to ask for proof of enrollment in all of the programs.

Show Proof of Financial Responsibility

As a DUI offender, you will need a higher level of car insurance compared to other drivers and it will cost you more. It is necessary to show proof of insurance to prove that you are being financially responsible.  You will not be allowed to drive until you present proof of insurance. Talk to your car insurance company so you can relevant documentation (SR-22 insurance form). 

After you are done with the steps above you can now apply for a temporary restricted driving permit.

How Does A Hardship License Work?

The reason why people apply for a hardship license is so that they can retain the jobs that they have and so they can continue tending to their essential day-to-day activities during their driver's license suspension time. It is necessary to prove to the court that you need to drive for your hardship allowance to be granted. The court or DMV needs to see that you need to drive because;

  • You need to maintain a job
  • Go to rehab or get treatment for alcohol or substance addiction
  • Get emergency medical attention
  • Take your kids to school or go to school yourself
  • Take care of other important tasks
restricted driving license

The hardship license is not meant to restore the driving privilege that you had. The license will come with limited driving privileges and will give requirements on where the driver can and cannot drive. There are states that will put limitations on the route that a driver can drive to and from permitted areas. Also, almost all restricted licenses will dictate the time limit in which the driver can drive. When a motorist has a restricted driving permit they may only be allowed to drive during the day

How Long It Will Take to Get Restricted Driving License in Illinois

The process of receiving your restricted driving permit is lengthy and complex. On average the process can take around ten to fourteen weeks from the time you attend your administrative hearing scheduled with the Illinois secretary of state. Aside from the waiting period before a scheduled formal hearing, you will also have to wait for the Illinois secretary of state to give you the verdict. After the verdict, you will still have to wait until you can receive the permit.

After the date of request, an in-person formal hearing will be held after approximately sixty days. The Illinois secretary of state will then have ninety days to issue a decision after a hearing has been held. However, the verdict does often take the full ninety days to be delivered.

It is not necessary for drivers to request or schedule an informal hearing. Informal hearings can be assessed during regular business hours on a walk-in basis. There is no time limit for an RDP informal hearing on the Illinois secretary of state and you can expect a decision to be made within six to twelve weeks.

The secretary of state will mail you a decision that will either deny you or grant you the permit to the address that you provided on file after an informal or formal hearing is held. If you have been granted a restricted license together with the decision the secretary of state will as well mail you a list of petitioner requirements that you are obligated to fill in before you are issued your restricted driving permit. After you are done with the paperwork and have submitted it to the secretary of state will mail you the restricted driving permit within three weeks.

After your request has been denied during a formal hearing decision another future hearing can be held again in another 90 days.  If the request was denied after an informal hearing you will be eligible for another hearing within 30 days. Within that period the issues that have been mentioned as the reason for denial need to be resolved.

FAQ: How much does a DUI lawyer cost in Illinois?

The Illinois secretary of state’s rules are strict. It is highly recommendable for you to seek legal help from a criminal defense attorney that is familiar with license reinstatement laws if you are facing DUI-related license suspension issues. An experienced DUI lawyer can notice a mistake that can cause complications and result in you having to wait again to repeat the restricted driving permit process. Contact a defense lawyer at Ktenas Law if your driving license has been suspended or revoked in Illinois.