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3 ways to get your driving privileges back

Last week, we covered the differences between having your driver's license suspended or revoked. Modern America is built on getting around by car, so not having a license can quickly impact your ability to do basic chores, like grocery shopping, picking up your kids from their activities or getting to work.

Here's the good news: Illinois offers a few ways to regain your ability to drive. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be eligible to get your driving privileges back sooner than you might have thought. Here's how.

1. Applying for a probationary license

A probationary license is a temporary license that allows you to drive without restriction if your license was suspended. To qualify, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • Your license suspension resulted from committing three moving violations within a 12-month period.
  • Your suspension lasts only three months or less.
  • Your license isn't expired and was valid at the time of your suspension.
  • You're 21 years old or older.
  • You complete an eight-hour defensive driving class.

To obtain a probationary license, you must submit an application to the Secretary of State's office, pay the requisite fee ($8) and surrender your current driver's license to the state.

2. Installing an ignition interlock device

If you were charged with DUI, you may be eligible for a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP). MDDPs apply to first-time DUI offenders over 18 who have never been convicted of DUI or had their license suspended before.

To get an MDDP, you must fill out an application and mail it to the Secretary of State's office. If approved, you will then need to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) within 14 days. You are responsible for all of the fees of installing and maintaining the BAIID.

The BAIID allows those convicted of DUI to resume driving before their full suspension is up. To use it, drivers blow into the device before starting the car. If their breath alcohol concentration is .025 percent or lower, the car will start. It will also require random checks throughout your trip.

3. Fulfilling reinstatement requirements and paying license reinstatement fees

Reinstating your driver's license will likely involve a number of fees. You can generally expect to pay from $70 to $500 to have your license reinstated, depending on the infraction. This may be in addition to other requirements, like waiting out your suspension period if you don't qualify for a probationary license or MDDP.

If your license was revoked, you must fulfill the terms of your revocation before paying your license reinstatement fees. This could include undergoing alcohol or drug treatment, passing a written or driving test, and/or attending a hearing to plead your case (usually in the case of repeat offenders).

Attempting to avoid your restrictions will result in harsh penalties. Driving with a suspended or revoked license generally means serving up to one year in jail, among other penalties. Instead, it's best to explore what legal options you have to get out on the road again.

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