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Illinois driver’s license reinstatement using out of state packet

You may find yourself in a situation in which you no longer live in Illinois and have no need for an Illinois driver’s license but have an unresolved DUI driver’s license revocation. This can occur in several situations.

You have moved outside the state of Illinois and attempted to obtain a driver’s license in your new state. You step up to the counter of your new DMV and are told that Illinois has a “hold” on your right to obtain a driver’s license in your new state. You explain that you do not want an Illinois driver’s license but the DMV of your new state mentions “PDPS” or National Registry.

Another similar out-of-state scenario arises because you were arrested in another state for DUI at a time you held an Illinois driver’s license and/or were an Illinois resident. Despite the fact you were never arrested for DUI in Illinois, a conviction for DUI in the other state will lead to an Illinois driver’s license revocation and as a result, the new state’s DMV is insisting that you clear up the Illinois revocation.

Finally, you may have never had an Illinois license or been a resident of Illinois but simply received a DUI while passing through the Illinois. If you are convicted of that DUI offense, Illinois will revoke not your driver’s license but your privilege to drive in the state of Illinois. This revocation will have to be cleared up before your new state will issue you a driver’s license.

Even more shocking, but not at all uncommon, is the circumstance in which you have held a driver’s license in another state for many months, sometimes years and even decades. You go to the DMV to renew the license when the time comes (or maybe even replace a misplaced or damaged license card) and are told that an Illinois “hold” will prevent you from driving until the hold is cleared. You are quite surprised that it is just now coming up because you have renewed your license one or more times in the past, no questions asked.           


You may ask:

1) I do not want an Illinois license, why do I have to obtain a “reinstatement order” from Illinois?;
2) I was told this would not go on my record, why is it showing up?;
3) This offense occurred many years ago, what about the statute of limitations?;
4) I paid all my fines to Illinois and completed all my classes and was discharged from probation, double jeopardy?;
5) Can I get a hardship license from my home state DMV?;
6) Will Illinois issue a hardship license while this is being cleared up, because I need to be able to work, take my kids to school, drive my elderly parent to the doctor?

The answers are:

1) Federal law requires your new State to clear up the Illinois hold. Illinois used to call this “clearance” but now refer to it as “reinstatement”. It’s just a name.

2) Because you were misinformed.

3) This is an administrative, not criminal matter. There is no statute of limitations.

4) Double jeopardy only applies to criminal charges. You are not being charged twice for the same DUI. You are not facing jail time or fines.

5) That is completely up to your DMV.

6) No, the Illinois Secretary of State cannot issue a hardship license to a non-resident.

If you contact the Secretary of State and you live more than 30 miles from the Illinois border, as measured by the Secretary of State, you will be offered the opportunity to submit an out of state packet and avoid having to drive to Illinois. This is a “paper hearing” and on the surface it sounds easy.

But the out of state affidavit and character letters are lengthy, involved and complicated. You may also be required to submit a drug and alcohol evaluation and proof of treatment. Experience shows that navigating this process requires a driver’s license reinstatement lawyer experienced with the out of state driver’s license reinstatement process.