Getting My Driver's License Reinstated When it is Suspended for Not Paying a Judgment

Getting My Driver's License Reinstated When it is Suspended for Not Paying a Judgment

Last updated: July 2012

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If you are uninsured and get into a car accident, and the other person sues you, a court can enter a judgment against you for the damages. The Secretary of State will suspend your driving privileges if you do not pay your judgment after 30 days. If you do not pay any part of your debt, your driver's license will be taken away, along with the things you need to drive legally in Illinois including:Your registration cardYour registration stickersYour license platesClick on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.How long will the suspension last? The suspension will last until:You pay the judgment or a settlement is reached; You file for bankruptcy; You reach an installment payment agreement with the judgment creditor. If you do not follow the agreement, your license will be suspended again; The judgment order is not renewed after 7 years from the date the court issued it;The court vacates or removes the judgment from your record.What should I do if I don't know anything about the judgment? You can get information about the judgment from the Secretary of State's office. For details on how to do this, please see "For information about the judgment" in the "Instructions" section.What can I do to get my driver's license reinstated? You have 5 different options for getting your driver's license reinstated:Show that you have entered into a court ordered payment plan to pay off the judgment over time, called an Installment Agreement OrderShow that you have paid off the judgment in fullShow that you have filed for bankruptcyShow that the judgment is at least 7 years old and hasn't been renewedShow that the judgment was entered in errorMost of these options also involve getting SR-22 insurance from a private insurance agency and paying a reinstatement fee.What is an Installment Agreement Order? An Installment Agreement Order is an agreement with your creditor to pay off the judgment over time. The order must be certified or file-stamped by the court in the county where the judgment was entered, and given to the Secretary of State's office. If you do not make all the payments on time, your license may be suspended again, so be careful about entering into a payment plan that you cannot afford.For details on how to get your license reinstated with an Installment Agreement Order, please see "For reinstatement with an Installment Agreement Order" in the "Instructions" section.How can I reinstate my license by paying off the judgment in full? Once you have paid off the judgment in full, you must get a signed "Release and Satisfaction of Judgment" from the creditor's attorney, file it with your local Clerk of the Circuit Court, and submit a certified copy of the form to the Secretary of State's office.For more details on what you will need to do to reinstate your license by paying off the judgment in full, please see "For reinstatement by paying the judgment" in the "Instructions" section.How do I get my license reinstated if I filed for bankruptcy? To get your license reinstated after filing for bankruptcy, you will need to present proof of bankruptcy to the Secretary of State's office.Please note that reinstatement after bankruptcy is not possible in alcohol-related cases. For more details on how to get your license reinstated after filing for bankruptcy, please see "For reinstatement after filing for bankruptcy" in the "Instructions" section.How can I reinstate my license by showing that the judgment is at least 7 years old and hasn't been renewed? To reinstate your license by showing that the judgment is at least 7 years old and hasn't been renewed, you will need to order a document from the circuit court which entered the judgment, and present it to the Secretary of State's office.For more details on how to do this, please see "For reinstatement when the judgment is at least 7 years old" in the "Instructions" section.What do I do if the judgment was entered in error? If the judgment was entered against you in error, you must file a Motion to Vacate or Dismiss in the court in which the judgment was entered. You should speak with an attorney for assistance with this process. Please go to the "Find Legal Help" section to find an attorney to assist you.Once the court issues an Order to Vacate or Dismiss, you will need to bring a certified or file-stamped copy of the order to the Secretary of State's office. Please see Illinois Secretary of State Facility Locations for the location near you. If you are in Chicago, the office is located at 17 North State Street on the 10th floor.For information about the judgment To get information about the judgment, you will need to do the following:Call the Secretary of State's office. Their toll-free number is 800-252-8980;Provide your driver's license number, and the Secretary of State's office will be able to tell you the court case number;Go the office of the Circuit Court Clerk for the county in which the judgment was entered and give them your case number. For the Circuit Court Clerk's office in your county, please see Illinois Circuit Court Clerks by County. If the judgment was entered in Cook County, go to room 601, Counter 4 of the Daley Center.The clerk will order your file, which can take a few days to get;When you return to pick up your file, you will have to show identification;Take the file to the cashier; Located inside of the file is the "Halfsheet." You will need to have the Halfsheet certified by the cashier. There is a fee for this certification;Bring the certified Halfsheet to the Secretary of State's office. For the office near you, please see Illinois Secretary of State's Facility Locations. If you are in Chicago, the office is at 17 North State Street on the 10th floor. Be sure to bring identification with you. The Secretary of State's office will let you know what else you will need to do.For reinstatement with an Installment Agreement Order To reinstate your license with an Installment Agreement Order, you will need to do the following:Get a court order agreeing that you will pay the judgment in installments and submit this Installment Agreement Order with a court stamp or seal to the Secretary of State’s office. Please see Secretary of State Facility Locations for the office near you. If you are in Chicago, the office is located at 17 North State Street on the 10th Floor;Get SR-22 insurance from a private insurance agency. You must maintain this insurance for 3 years without it expiring or being cancelled; andPay a reinstatement fee of at least a $70.00.For reinstatement by paying the judgment You will need to do the following to reinstate your license by paying off the judgment in full.Pay the full amount of the judgment to the creditor's attorney. Make sure to get a certified, file-stamped copy of a “Release and Satisfaction of Judgment” form;Bring this form to the Secretary of State's office. Please see Secretary of State's Facility Locations for the office near you. If you are in Chicago, the office is located at 17 North State Street located on the 10th Floor;Get SR-22 insurance from a private insurance agency. You must keep this insurance for 3 years without it expiring or being cancelled; andPay a reinstatement fee of at least $70.00.For reinstatement after filing for bankruptcy You will need to do the following to reinstate your license after filing for bankruptcy:Present proof of bankruptcy to the Secretary of State's office. Please see Secretary of State Facility Locations for the location near you. If you are in Chicago, the office is at 17 North State on the 10th floor. The proof must be file-stamped or bar-coded and include the bankruptcy case number, the date of filing bankruptcy, and the name of the creditor;Get SR-22 insurance from a private insurance agency. You must keep this insurance for 3 years without it expiring or being cancelled; andPay a reinstatement fee of at least $70.00.For reinstatement when the judgment is at least 7 years old You will need to do the following to show that the judgment is at least 7 years old and hasn't been renewed:Get a court-certified or stamped copy of the Court Docket Sheet, or "Halfsheet," from the Circuit Court Clerk of the county where the judgment was entered. See Illinois Circuit Circuit Court Clerks by County for locations near you. If this was in Cook County, you can go to Room 601 of the Daley Center. You will need to provide your case number;Bring the Halfsheet to the Secretary of State's office. See Illinois Secretary of State's Facility Locations for locations near you. If you are in Chicago, the office is at 17 North State Street on the 10th floor; Get SR-22 insurance from a private insurance agency. You must keep this insurance for 3 years without it expiring or being cancelled; andPay a reinstatement fee of at least $70.00.

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