Written by attorney John P. Yetter

Judgment Holding Up an Illinois License - It can Be Stopped!

In Illinois, the Legislature has created dozens of different ways an individual can get their driver’s license suspended. These are set out in 625 ILCS 5/7-300 The purpose of this guide is to deal with one particular type of suspension with en explanation of how you get it, and, more importantly, how to get rid of it.

A judgment suspension can be from several sources. If your Illinois driver’s abstract says your have been suspended for action code “06," your license is suspended under statute 625 ILCS 5/7-303-JUDGMENT SUSPENSION

These generally begin when you are involved in an accident, but can stem from any issue where you may be liable for damages to someone, even if a car is not involved. If you are sued and do not respond to the lawsuit, for any reason, the other party can seek to prove up a default judgment against you. If they are successful, they can file, after 30 days documents with the Illinois Secretary of State which will suspend your license.

This suspension occurs based on a judgment on a Bond Forfeiture, lis pens and other non-driving related judgments. There are several ways to clear this up, all of which require you get the name of the judgment holder from the Secretary of State. The department phone number for that is (217) 782-3720.

If you were covered by any insurance policy which may cover the damages you can contact your insurer from the time of the incident and see if they will cover or defend you. Most policies create a duty for the insurer to defend lawsuits, but they also require you give them give them notice of the suit or the accident or they can seek to deny coverage.

If no insurance existed, you must find some way to satisfy the judgment. You can either enter into a negotiated installment plan with the holder of the judgment or pay the total amount. For a payment plan the lien holder must go to the Court issuing the judgment and get the installment agreement certified. That certified agreement gets filed with the Secretary of State. For full payment you must file a “satisfaction of Judgment" file stamped by the issuing court. A voluntary dismissal will not work. (If the case was dismissed prior to the issuance of a judgment it will.)

If you default the payment plan the judgment will be re-instated and so will the suspension.

You must also obtain SR-22 insurance and maintain it without lapse for 3 years and pay a $70 reinstatement fee.

You can clear this through the use of Bankruptcy. Present to the Secretary of State a copy of your bankruptcy court declaration, including your bankruptcy case number, date of filing and with the other party listed as a potential creditor on the declaration. For some reason no re-instatement fee or SR-22 requirements attach in this type of clearance.

If the Judgment is against you is more than seven years old bring a certified copy of the half-sheet (Cook County) or File Jacket (anywhere other county) to the Secretary of State. Most places will also now provide you with a certified copy of the disposition via transcript. Again, maintain SR-22 insurance for three years without lapse and pay your $70 re-instatement fee.

Please note a few things. One, the fees and reinstatements change all the time in Illinois (always going up). The other is that the situations here are usually fairly complicated and consulting with an attorney to really nail down that you are doing the easiest and most effective thing for you is the best way to go about it.

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