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Driver’s license revocation in Illinois for refusing Breathalyzer

Since 1986, Illinois law has had in place the Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) law. If, in connection with a DUI arrest, the police ask you to provide a breath or blood sample to analyze your alcohol level, you have the choice of whether to submit or refuse.

If you submit and register over the legal limit of .08, your driver’s license will be suspended automatically on the 46th day after you provide the sample. If you have not had a DUI arrest in the previous 5 years, your license will be suspended for 6 months.

During the first 30 days of the suspension, you are prohibited from driving. For the final 5 months of the suspension, you are entitled to a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). That permit allows you to unlimited driving privileges, but you must install a breath machine (BAIID) in your vehicle.

If you register over .08 and have had a DUI arrest in the 5 years before you provide the breath sample, your license will be suspended for 1 year. You cannot receive any type of driving privileges, even a hardship permit, during the year.

The law is designed to encourage you to provide a breath or blood sample because doing so usually makes it easier for the state to convict you of DUI. Therefore, if you refuse to submit a sample and have not had a DUI for at least 5 years, your license will be suspended for a full year. You are entitled to an MDDP during the last 11 months of the suspension.

If you refuse to provide breath or blood and it has been fewer than 5 years since you had a DUI arrest, you will be suspended for 3 years. You cannot drive at all during the entire 3 years.

Although an SSS occurs even if you beat the DUI charges your license will only be suspended. As soon as the suspension is over, your driving privileges will restored upon payment of the fee provided you are not convicted of the DUI.

But if you do not beat the DUI charges, the Secretary of State will revoke your driver’s license. A revoked driver’s license can only be restored through a driver’s license reinstatement hearing. However, until now, before the revocation could occur, the law had usually required the state to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were guilty of DUI.


Effective July 1, 2011, Illinois will adopt what is known as a Statutory Summary Revocation (SSR). Without proving you guilty of the DUI, the state will revoke your driver’s license and require you to attend a reinstatement hearing with the Secretary of State if you refuse a breath or blood test in a situation in which someone suffered serious injuries and the police suspect you of DUI.

Amazingly, even if the state is unable to prove the DUI, your license will remain revoked until you have a reinstatement hearing. The revocation will be in place for a full year. You cannot, during the entire year, drive at all, not even for work or other hardship reasons.

In summary, the SSR does not require proof of DUI. The mere refusal of a breath test, where there is an injury accident, takes your license away. And you have to wait one year before you can even ask the Secretary of State to restore it. And removing a driver’s license revocation due to an alcohol related offense is no easy task.