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How to Get an Illinois Hardship License


Getting convicted of a DUI can not only result in costly fines or even spending time in jail, but it can also result in driver’s license suspension. Without your driving privileges, simple tasks such as driving to work and/or school, making important appointments, and performing household tasks can be a serious issue because you have to rely on public transportation or ask family and friends to drive you. 

However, if you can prove to the court that the loss of your driving privileges is a hardship to your and/or your loved ones, you may be eligible for a “restricted driving permit (RDP),” which is also known as a hardship license. This type of license allows individuals with a suspended or revoked license to drive to and from specific places. 

An RDP is only available to first-time offenders. On the other hand, individuals with a prior DUI or summary suspension within the last five years are not eligible for this license. 

An RDP will allow you to drive to the following places at certain times: 

  • To and from work 

  • To and from school or daycare to drop off/pick up your children 

  • To and from the doctor’s office or hospital for a medical appointment 

  • To and from an alcohol or drug rehabilitation activity by a licensed provider 

If you are eligible, you can request an RDP in writing from the Secretary of State’s Office. You must demonstrate that you need this permit to all or some of the essential tasks mentioned above and submit several documents, including proof of medical evaluation and treatment. 

You will also need to attend a hearing and complete mandatory classes or counseling. You will get the results of the hearing within 90 days after appearing in court. 

If you are approved, you will receive an approval letter in the mail, which contains specific requirements you must meet in order to obtain an RDP. If your request was denied, you can request another formal hearing within 90 days of the previous hearing, or an informal hearing within 30 days of the previous hearing, in order to raise issues about the denial. 

However, if you do not qualify for an RDP, you may be eligible for a “monitoring device driver’s permit (MDDP),” which also gives drivers restricted driving privileges but with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed. The IID requires drivers to blow into the device to start the vehicle. 

If you are interested in obtaining a hardship license or facing DUI charges in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Steven Fine today at (312) 436-0638 for a free initial consultation. Get more than two decades of legal experience on your side!