Can I get my Illinois driver’s license back through bankruptcy?
Posted on May 18, 2009 in Life After Bankruptcy
Cllients often ask – how can I get my driver’s license back after bankruptcy. Thanks to our friends at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, we have answers for this and many other driver’s license related questions.
The Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your drivers’ license if you have an accident while uninsured. The Illinois Safety Responsibility Law allows the Secretary of State to suspend your driver’s license if you do not have insurance and have been involved in a car accident that results in personal injury, death of any person, or greater than $500 in property damages. The Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license if you are uninsured and cannot guarentee of payment of the damages. Your driver’s license can also be suspended if you are sued, the judge awards the pther person a civil judgment against you, and you fail to pay the judgment.
Paying off the Judgment in full
If you choose to pay off the judgment in full, you must get a signed “Release and Satisfaction of Judgment” from the creditor’s attorney. The Release and Satisfaction of Judgment must be filed with the clerk of court that entered the judgment. When filing your Release with the Clerk, you need to request a certified copy for the Secretary of State. To get your driver’s license reinstated, you must deliver the following documents to your local Secretary of State’s office:
- A certified copy of your Release and Satisfaction of Judgment
- A completed SR-22 insurance verification form which you can obtain from your insurance company as proof that you are currently insured
- Payment of at least a $70.00 reinstatement fee
Entering into a court ordered payment plan
You may agree to a payment plan to pay off the judgment over time. In order to reinstate your driver’s license, the payment plan must be entered as a court order that is signed by the judge. After the order is entered, it must be certified by the clerk in Room 601 of the Daley Center. A certified copy of the payment plan must then be delivered to your local Secretary of State’s office along with the SR-22 proof of insurance form and $70.00 re-instatement fee mentioned above. Be cautious about entering into a payment plan that you cannot afford. If you sign an agreement, and fail to make the payments on time, your license can be re-suspended.
Filing a Bankruptcy
You may file a Bankruptcy to discharge this judgment and other debts. Your license can only be reinstated after the bankruptcy has been completed and the judgment is discharged. You must deliver a certified copy of the Discharge in Bankruptcy (including a schedule naming the creditor) to your local Secretary of State’s office along with the SR-22 proof of insurance form and $70.00 reinstatement fee mentioned above. A bankruptcy cannot be accepted in alcohol-related cases that result in personal injury or death.
Prove the judgment was entered in error
If the judgment was entered against you in error, you must file a Motion to Vacate or Dismiss the judgment in the trial court. You should consult an attorney for assistance with this process.
Once an order vacating or dismissing the case is entered, you must take a certified copy of the order to the Secretary of State along with the SR-22 proof of insurance and $70.00 reinstatement fee.
Prove the Judgment is more than 7 years old
If your judgment is more than 7 years old, and has not been revived, your suspension can be removed. Go to Room 601 of the Daley Center and give the clerk your case number. The court will order your file. After the file is obtained, make a photocopy of the half sheet located inside the file and get the half sheet certified by the cashier. Go to the Secretary of State and present a copy of the half sheet. You will also have to provide SR-22 insurance from your insurance agency.
If you can’t afford the damages you will have to pay as a result of the uninsured accident, you may be forced to file a bankruptcy case.
If you do end up filing bankruptcy and need any help getting your license reinstated, please contact us and we’ll help you through the process.