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Can I Drive Anywhere? A Basic Overview of the Lawful Purpose Permit

Jennifer Wirth Attorney at Law
Person taking their hand out of a car window

With probationary permits replacing many restricted driving permits, the Secretary of State is enabling many people to drive for work and pleasure prior to full reinstatement.

n January of 2022, the Illinois Secretary of State began issuing a newly-created permit available to many revoked drivers, entitled the “Lawful Purpose Permit” (LPP). The LPP allows eligible petitioners to drive for any lawful purpose, up to twelve hours a day, six days per week, within a 200-mile radius of their residence.

In this article, I briefly summarize how the LPP changes permit restrictions for certain petitioners, as well as answer common questions posed about the new permit.

What is a “Lawful Purpose?”

In the past, the Secretary of State would only issue restricted driving permits to revoked drivers for specific driving purposes, such as work, school or medical purposes. Although these classifications remain in effect for some revoked drivers, the LPP allows eligible petitioners to drive for any lawful reason, within a 200-mile radius, up to twelve hours a day and six days per week.

The “lawful” restriction is pretty straightforward. If a permittee robs a bank on their LPP, the permit doesn’t cover driving to and from the bank to commit the robbery. Conversely, a permittee can use their LPP to drive to the bank to legally deposit or withdraw money. So long as the purpose is “lawful,” the LPP allows for such driving within the parameters of the permit.

This is a positive change in the law for petitioners who quality for the LPP. LPP holders may drive to go shopping, workout at the gym, go to the movies and/or visit family and friends. Once they have a LPP, the permittee can choose any lawful purpose in which to drive, subject to the above stated restrictions.

Will Lawful Purpose Permits Require a Breathalyzer?

The LPP does not change whether or not a breathalyzer is required to drive on a permit. If the Secretary of State has deemed you to be a BAIID petitioner, you will be required to have a breathalyzer installed while driving on an LPP.

Who Can Apply for a Lawful Use Permit?

Effective January 1, 2022, the following groups of petitioners and/or permittees are eligible for a probationary permit:

  • Any petitioner that is eligible for full reinstatement;
  • Any petitioner that is currently driving on a restricted probationary permit;
  • Any five-year BMO Petitioner can apply for a LPP, even if they are in hardship; and
  • Any five-year BMO Petitioner that is currently driving on a hardship permit.

The following petitioners are not eligible for a Lawful Purpose Permit. These petitioners are restricted to hardship permits under the original classifications (i.e., work, school, support group, etc.):

  • An applicant that is considered a “Lifetime Petitioner,” as a result of four or more DUI convictions; and
  • An applicant that is not subject to the five-year BMO permit and is currently in hardship.

Can I Split My Lawful Purpose Permit Hours?

If a petitioner is eligible for a LPP, they are allowed to pick the specific twelve-hour period of a day they would like to drive. A petitioner may “split” the hours once in a day.

For example, if a petitioner does not drive between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. while working at a desk job, they can ask that an LPP permit be issued for the hours they are not working. In such a scenario, a petitioner may split the hours in a twelve-hour period, asking for two hours to get to work between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., leaving them with ten hours to choose the next driving period.

With the remaining ten hours, the petitioner may request to drive between 2 p.m. and Midnight. If a petitioner chooses to split the hours, they would not be able to drive during the period not selected, such as 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the above listed example.

I Am on a Restricted Driving Permit. How do I Convert it to a Lawful Purpose Permit?

If a petitioner is eligible for a Lawful Purpose Permit, they can convert their current restricted driving permit to a LPP by visiting an Informal Hearing Officer. Informal Hearing Officers are located throughout the state and a petitioner should call ahead to ensure they have one present before they visit a facility. For a list of informal hearing locations, click here.

When the petitioner visits the Informal Hearing Officer, they will be required to bring a $5 check or money order, payable to “Secretary of State,” as well as an original copy of their current restricted driving permit(s). The Informal Hearing Officer will give them forms to complete, including a form to choose the days and hours they would like to drive on their Lawful Purpose Permit.

Click to view a sample of the form to complete to choose the LPP hours.

Once the forms are completed, the Petitioner will be allowed to keep their current restricted driving permits until their new LPP arrives in the mail. Once the new LPP arrives, the old restricted driving permit will no longer be valid and the LPP will take the place of any former restricted driving permit(s).

This article does not serve as legal advice. All persons are encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney to determine the best course of action in their particular case. There is no attorney/client relationship formed through our website or reading our materials.

If you would like a free consultation with Jennifer Wirth, please do not hesitate to call our office at 312.461.0400 or email directly at jenniferwirth@msn.com. We return calls and emails the same business day they are received.

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