Bankruptcy and Reinstatement of Driver's Licenses


The state of Illinois can suspend a person’s driver’s license for any number of reasons. Suspensions are often the result of unpaid tickets or fines, unpaid child support, or judgments as a result of being involved in an accident without having proper insurance. Unfortunately, a suspended driver’s license can inhibit one’s ability to go to work and earn a living, creating financial hardships that could eventually lead to bankruptcy.

Over the years, we have assisted clients who have found themselves in this very position. Clients overwhelmed by debt they cannot manage, yet they struggle to pay what they owe because their work ability is severely hampered by not having a valid driver’s license. Bankruptcy may be a solution. Bankruptcy should not be pursued just to affect the reinstatement of the driver’s license, but getting a license back may be one of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy.

Traffic Tickets, Fines, Etc.

There are certain kinds of debts that are considered non-dischargeable under chapter 7 bankruptcy. According to U.S. bankruptcy law, any debt owed to a government agency, especially those debts incurred as a result of breaking the law, will not be dischargeable under normal conditions. Therefore, filing chapter 7 bankruptcy will not directly allow you to get your driver’s license back by eliminating unpaid fines or tickets.

It can help by discharging other debt and freeing up the money you need to pay your unpaid fines and tickets. In such a case, getting your license back would involve checking with the Secretary of State to ensure they have a record of your bankruptcy proceeding, followed by applying for reinstatement and paying the associated fee. In the case of a chapter 13 filing, you should be able to get your license back as soon as the court approves the reorganization plan.

Failure to Pay Child Support

A person whose driver’s license has been suspended due to a failure to pay child support is in a similar position as the one who has unpaid fines and tickets. Child support is not dischargeable under U.S. bankruptcy law. The only way to get your driver’s license reinstated is to pay what you owe or file a successful chapter 13 reorganization that satisfies the court handling the child support issue.

Satisfying Judgments under Bankruptcy

Judgments resulting from insurance problems are dischargeable under chapter 7 bankruptcy in most cases. That being the case, a successful chapter 7 filing that wipes out judgments satisfies the claim against the consumer and makes him or her eligible for reinstatement of a suspended license. The same process of checking with the Secretary of State and paying a reinstatement fee applies.

A chapter 13 reorganization may also make it possible to get a driver’s license reinstated. However, the court may insist that a significant portion of the judgment be repaid first. These kinds of cases are totally up to the discretion of the court.

Bear in mind that the state of Illinois also has an SR-22 requirement in place to prevent future insurance violations. In order to get a driver’s license reinstated after an insurance-related judgment, a driver must procure adequate insurance and provide evidence, by way of an SR-22 filing, that insurance is in force and that he or she has the financial means to keep it in force for the duration of the filing.

It is possible to get a suspended driver’s license reinstated as a result of a bankruptcy proceeding. Feel free to contact our law offices if you want to know more about how this applies to your case.

Convenient Locations

In order to provide convenience for clients throughout Chicago and Northern Illinois, we have offices in the following locations: 

Chicago • Schaumburg  • Oakbrook • St. Charles • Naperville • And More


We have office locations throughout the Chicago Area:

Chicago (Downtown)


Oak Brook


All calls are routed through our Downtown office for your convenience.

Phone: 312-967-3159

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