Written by attorney John P. Yetter

Missed Court in Illinois and lost your DL? How to fix it.

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 5/7-303 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.

If your Illinois driver’s abstract says your have been suspended for action code “09," or one or more of the citations on the abstract has the letters FP or FA near them, you failed to appear at a required court date or failed to pay a fine in the time allotted. These are authorized under 625 ILCS 5/6-306.3 or 625 ILCS 5/6-306.6.

Many tickets, even though they are petty offenses, require your appearance at court dates. While authorized to issue arrest warrants in these cases, most courts do not bother because of the strain that would place on the legal system and the police. Instead, they order the Clerk of the Circuit Court to send notice to the Illinois Secretary of State of your failure to pay or appear. The Secretary then suspends your driver’s license.

It is somewhat common sense that you clear a failure to appear suspension by appearing. This may also require that you pay underlying fines, if you missed a payment date, or that you appear and get sentenced on the underlying ticket if you did not.

A failure to appear suspension (FA) is not the same as a failure to pay, which gets marked FP. That usually does not require an appearance in court and can be handled through the Clerk of the Circuit Court, often over the phone or by mail. FP suspensions are covered by 625 ILCS 5/6-306.6. Payment is required to the total amount of the judgment to clear the suspension. One should be careful about this because sometimes judgments are entered on the bond forfeiture which are in excess of the fines and costs assessed and need not necessarily be paid. They do require a motion to vacate be granted by the judge.

Please note a few things. One, mode of reinstatement changes all the time in Illinois. So do basis’s for suspension. 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 usually the best way to go about it.

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