Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a suspension and a revocation?

A suspension and a revocation are different. A suspension is for a fixed period of time. A revocation can last indefinitely. For DUIs, your suspension will probably be for either 6 months, 12 months or 36 months. Depending on your priors, during your suspension, you may possibly be eligible to have a driving permit.

If you pled guilty or you go to trial and you are found guilty of DUI, you maybe eligible to receive court supervision. Court supervision is not a conviction. However, sometimes people are sentenced to Probation or Conditional Discharge, and others are sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. If you do not receive court supervision, then you will receive a "conviction." If you receive a DUI conviction, then your driver’s license will be revoked.


If you were arrested for DUI, the police officer probably asked you whether or not you would take a breath test. You were told that if you took the breath test and failed, then your license would be suspended, and you were told that if you refused to take the breath test that your license would be suspended even longer. This type of suspension is called the "Statutory Summary Suspension," sometimes abbreviated as "SSS."

If your license is suspended and not revoked, you don’t have to apply for reinstatement, which means that you don’t have to do anything to "earn" your license back. All you have to do is pay a reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State and they automatically reinstatement your driving privileges. The only good thing about a suspension is that you know exactly how long it is going to last.


Revocations are different than suspensions. The worst thing about a revocation is that it can last indefinitely. This can mean FOREVER. The revocation will last until you “Earn” your license back.

  1. You have to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation.
  2. You must complete any treatment that is recommended by the evaluator.
  3. You must have a hearing and at that hearing you must demonstrate to the Secretary of State that in spite of your bad driving record, they can trust that you will be a safe and responsible driver for the rest of your life and never again will you pose a danger to the public safety of the citizens of Illinois.
  4. IF you do all of these things successfully, then you get to pay a Reinstatement Fee.

A revocation is not for a fixed period of time. Instead, it is for an indefinite period of time. We have been hired by clients who had been revoked for over 30 years. Your revocation will last until you can convince the SECRETARY OF STATE that you are no longer a danger on the roads. An experienced attorney can help you with all of these steps.

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What is the difference between an MDDP and an RDP?

An RDP (Restricted Driving Permit) is similar to an MDDP (Monitoring Device Driving Permit), but it isn't the same. With the MDDP you could drive wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted, but with the RDP, you can only drive for certain purposes, and generally the permit is for set hours during the week. You must follow the permit as it is set. However, on an MDDP, you could only drive a car that had a BAIID. An RDP may or may not require a BAIID
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I need a permit just to get back and forth to work, but the Illinois SECRETARY OF STATE says that I am NOT ELIGIBLE YET. What do I do?

I haven’t lost my license yet, but I know that I am probably going to lose it. Is there anything that I should I do now?

Even if you have not lost your license yet, and even if you’ve been told that you are not "eligible" for a hearing yet, you should still give us a call right away.

First, even if you have been told that you are not eligible for a license yet, you may actually be eligible for a special type of permit called a "HARDSHIP PERMIT." We have had several clients call believing that they were not eligible only to find out that they had been given incorrect advice. We can tell you if you are eligible for a hardship permit and we can help you get one. Most people are eligible for some form of driving relief.

Second, even if you are not eligible yet, there are many things we can get started on now so that we are 100% ready for your hearing on the very first day that you are eligible. Some of these things that we will have you do take time and you don’t want to wait until the day you are eligible to get started .

If possible, you should hire an attorney to begin working on getting your license back, even before you lose it. Most people get their Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, also known as a Uniform Report, while their DUI case is still pending. The judge is going to want to see this document before he sentences you. If you have a lawyer, hopefully your lawyer has explained how important this evaluation is going to be for you some day. This drug and alcohol evaluation that you give to the judge is someday going to be handed to the Hearing Officer at your Secretary of State hearing. In fact, in many cases, it is the most important exhibit at the hearing. The Secretary of State will read every single word in this evaluation. Make sure you get good advice from an experienced attorney who handles Secretary of State cases, not just DUI cases, before you get your evaluation.

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Is there anything that I should NOT be doing?

If you are revoked, STOP driving!!!! If you are revoked, and you get caught driving in Illinois, the criminal penalties are VERY strict. In many counties, the judge will sentence you to 10 days in jail for even your first offense. Driving on a revoked license, even your first offense, is punishable by up to one year in jail

Not only that, getting caught driving without a license will make it even harder for you to get your license back. The Hearing Officer will have a hard time believing that you are a law abiding citizen when he or she is looking at your rap sheet which says you continued to drive illegally, even after your license was revoked.

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I am an OUT OF STATE resident but I have a "REVOCATION" from Illinois. What do I need to do?

If you live in some other state beside Illinois but you are not able to get a license in your home state because of something on your Illinois record, you need to get what is called a "clearance letter." Essentially, you will need to get your Illinois license reinstated before your “home” state will issue you a license.

You can apply for reinstatement through the mail, simply request what is called an "Out of State Packet." Then, you and a counselor from your “home” state fill out the form. However, this is not to say that you don’t need a lawyer in Illinois. If you and your counselor don’t fill out the form in exactly the right way, after several months of waiting, you will receive a letter from Illinois telling you that your request for Clearance has been denied. In many cases, Illinois will recommend that you return to the counselor to see about doing even more drug or alcohol treatment.

The experienced attorneys at Gates Wise Schlosser & Goebel can greatly improve your chances of getting Clearance from Illinois ON YOUR FIRST APPLICATION! We will work with you and more importantly, we will work with your counselor. You may find that evaluators and counselors from other states often get frustrated when dealing with Illinois, because they don’t understand what the Illinois Secretary of State requires. If you don’t know what you are doing and you fill out the form wrong, you run the risk of making things even worse for yourself. We will thoroughly review your packet before you send it in, making sure that your paperwork is correct the first time.

If driving is important to you, then the money you spend on attorney is money well spent.

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Can you guarantee that I’ll win if I hire you?

There are no guarantees in life, so NO, we can’t promise that we will win your case. We can only make two guarantees. First, we promise that we will care passionately about your case. We will care about and worry about your case on a personal, individual basis. Second, we will work as hard as possible to make sure you have the absolute best chance of succeeding.

I did everything the court or probation told me to do. I went to the hearing on my own, and i still lost. If i did everything the judge told me to do, why didn’t i win?

You are dealing with two separate branches of government. You are dealing with the Court System and Probation AND you are also dealing with the Illinois Secretary of State (SECRETARY OF STATE ).

Think of it this way... The Court and Probation is in charge of your punishment and the SECRETARY OF STATE is in charge of keeping the roads safe.

When you pled guilty or you were found guilty of a crime such as DUI, you were punished. The Court and Probation could have punished you in many different ways. The judge could have sentenced you to jail or prison. Perhaps as part of the punishment you were ordered to complete community service. You were likely ordered to get a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation and complete treatment. You were ordered to pay a fine and court costs. Maybe the judge and your probation officer told you that you could not drink alcohol or go to bars. In many counties, you were possibly subject to drug testing. You were also given a criminal record. These were all punishments.

Again, the SECRETARY OF STATE is a different branch of government. The SECRETARY OF STATE is NOT in charge of punishment. Instead, the SECRETARY OF STATE is in charge of keeping the roads safe. The law says that anyone who is arrested for DUI and fails a breath/blood/urine test, or refuses to take the test, will have his or her license suspended. This suspension was technically not a punishment, but instead, they say it was to keep the roads (and you) safe. Another law says that anyone who gets a DUI conviction on their criminal record will have their license revoked. Again, technically, having your license revoked wasn't a punishment. It sure feels like a punishment, but legally, it isn't.

The SECRETARY OF STATE has established rules for deciding whether or not a person with DUIs and other crimes in their past is going to be safe in the future. Once you convince the SECRETARY OF STATE that you are going to be safe in the future, you are on your way to getting your driver’s license back.

The trick is convincing the SECRETARY OF STATE that you are not going to be a danger in the future. And just because you did everything that the court and probation told you to do does not mean that you will be able to convince the SECRETARY OF STATE that you will be safe in the future. The SECRETARY OF STATE will require you to get a drug and alcohol evaluation and complete treatment, just like the court system. The judge probably did not scrutinize your evaluation and the probation officer probably did not scrutinize your proof that you completed treatment. The SECRETARY OF STATE will definitely put your evaluation and your treatment records under the microscope.

Just because you showed up at your hearing with the required paperwork doesn’t mean that the SECRETARY OF STATE is going to like your paperwork. If the SECRETARY OF STATE decides that you were not honest with your evaluator, your hearing may not go well for you. If you lose, the Denial Order probably will say that the evidence at the hearing might not be consistent with your classification. The Denial Order may say that the extent of your alcohol/drug problem was unclear. Maybe it says that the SECRETARY OF STATE is unsure of the effectiveness of your treatment. The Denial Order possibly say that you should return to the evaluator with a copy of the Denial Order.

An experienced attorney will help you navigate properly through all this paperwork. Let a trained attorney help with any questions or concerns you have regarding your paperwork or denial.

Our advice is that you should talk to us, first, before you go back to your evaluator. We will make sure that you don’t dig yourself into a hole and will help alleviate the confusion.

If you want to talk to one of our lawyers, please give us a call at (217) 522-9010, or send an email to or

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