When a person has too many unpaid debts, their driver’s license may be suspended until the debts are paid off. It is even possible for one’s license to be suspended for debts unrelated to traffic matters (unpaid child support, alimony, personal injury claims, etc.).

Depending on the nature of your debts, it is possible that filing for bankruptcy in Will County, Illinois will result in a reinstatement of your license. Since a bankruptcy proceeding is designed to help you discharge your debts, it follows that a debt-related suspension of your license will be lifted once these debts are taken care of. However not all debts are dischargeable, so bankruptcy is not a surefire way of getting your license reinstated.

Debts for which your license may be suspended include unpaid judgments for personal-injury or property-damage lawsuits, overdue maintenance or child-support payments, outstanding parking tickets, and other unpaid fines. In general, monetary damages owed for things like car accidents are usually dischargeable under Chapter 7. Many other types of debts that are serious enough to warrant a license suspension, however, are not.

For instance, unpaid damages arising out of DUI-related accidents are not dischargeable, nor are damages for willful or malicious or injury to persons or property. Furthermore, whenever drugs or alcohol are involved in a cause of action against you, the resulting judgment is generally not dischargeable via bankruptcy. Overdue child support payments, parking tickets, or other fines owed to the government for ticketable or criminal offenses also cannot be discharged under Chapter 7.

If filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not help you get your license reinstated due to the fact that your debts are not dischargeable, there is still another option. Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code offers solutions for those whose debts are of the non-dischargeable variety: A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to set up a payment plan to pay off your non-dischargeable debts. Filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 in Will County can secure an automatic stay on your driver’s license suspension, allowing you to initiate reinstatement of your license even before your debts are all paid off. However, if your Chapter 13 case is dismissed at any point—for instance, if you fail to follow the repayment plan—the DMV can re-suspend your license since your debts remain unpaid.

Note that not even a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing in Will County will help you get your driver privileges back if your license was suspended for serious criminal traffic offenses, such as a DUI or reckless driving conviction. If your driver’s license has been suspended for any reason, consult an attorney in Will County or Joliet who is experienced in both bankruptcy and traffic-related matters to discuss your options.

To discuss your individual situation with an experienced attorney, contact Hamilton & Antonsen at 815.729.9220.

Written by Sarah Hanneken