Can a Bankruptcy help me get my Drivers’ License Back?
Your drivers’ license was suspended. Is all hope lost?? NO! In certain situations, a bankruptcy filing will help a person get their drivers’ license back. You can get your license back if it was suspended for property damage without insurance, and for parking tickets or tollway fines. Bankruptcy will not help if your license was suspended for drunk driving, or other moving violations, however.
If your license is suspended because of an auto accident, where you caused property damage to another person’s vehicle but did not have insurance to cover the damages, Bankruptcy can help. The law in Illinois requiring people to have auto insurance coverage is called “Safety Responsibility”. You should ALWAYS have insurance coverage while you drive. That’s the law. You should not let your insurance lapse. You might say that you can’t afford to buy the insurance. You really can’t afford NOT to have insurance. If you have to pay for medical bills from an accident, it literally could drive you into bankruptcy. Or, if you made the mistake of not paying your car insurance bill on time, the company will cancel your insurance. Then, too, you’ll be left without coverage. Once the person you were in the accident with will be able to make a claim, or sue you, for their damages. Those damages can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. Without insurance, you are out of luck. The only way to save your license, other than paying all of the damages, is by filing bankruptcy. Then, the state agency gets the bankruptcy notice, and you can pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back. This is definitely not the best way to handle the situation, but, it is a last resort.
The other type of suspension that bankruptcy can help with is a parking ticket or tollway fine suspension. Many times people get parking tickets or toll fines, and, because of frustration, or because it seems so small, they ignore the tickets. Sometimes, people get so many parking tickets, from the City ofChicago(they pile them on your windshield over several days!), that they add up. And, to top it off, the City then adds penalties, often much more than the ticket itself, if you don’t pay the tickets! Each time they add penalties, the city then sends a new notice. If you ignore the notices, after a while, the city sends a notice to you and to the State, which suspends your drivers’ license. This is definitely not the best thing to happen! Again, you have a way to get your license back… A bankruptcy will lift the suspension. Once you file the case, you have to take the bankruptcy notice to the secretary of state to pay a fee to get the license back. Note that parking tickets are generally NOT dischargeable (eliminated) in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. So, once the Chapter 7 is over, you’d need to work out a payment plan with the city, to prevent another suspension. If you file a Chapter 13 (payment plan) bankruptcy, once you finish the plan payments, you will not owe any more parking tickets, and that debt is discharged (eliminated).
The most important thing to remember is that if your license is suspended, to go to an experienced bankruptcy attorney to review your situation to see which type of bankruptcy relief you qualify for, and what is the best solution for you.
Daniel J. Winter
LAW OF DANIEL J WINTER
53W. Jackson Boulevard