You are arrested for an Illinois DUI (Driving Under the Influence) You have posted bond, been released from jail and have been assigned a court date. You have in your hand a bunch of papers and are wondering, what now and what does this all mean?
You will probably receive a confusing array of uninformed advice in answer to this uncertainty. In order to understand what is going on, it is important for you to realize some fundamental things.
One critical item to keep in mind is the distinction between a driver's license suspension and a revocation. A suspension is a temporary withdrawal of your right to drive in the state of Illinois. 625 ILCS 5/1-204 When the temporary period ends, your right to drive requires nothing more than paying a fee to the Illinois Secretary of State, provided that your driving privileges are otherwise valid.
In connection with a DUI offense, one of the things that can prevent your driver's license from being otherwise valid is a driver's license revocation. 625 ILCS 5/1-176 A revocation effectively terminates your current license, rather than simply putting it on hold as does a suspension. In order to be entitled to drive again, you must have a driver's license hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.
A driver's license revocation occurs after a DUI conviction. DUI is a criminal charge which requires involvement of the courts and a determination that the state has enough evidence to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your right to apply for a new license is denied during the period of your revocation. That period will be one year for a first conviction, five years upon a second conviction and ten years with a third conviction. If any arrest that results in a fourth or later conviction occurs after January 1, 1999, you can never apply for a license. 625 ILCS 5/6-208
In many circumstances, even though you cannot apply for a full license, the Secretary of State is authorized to grant you a hearing to request a restricted driving permit (RDP) that allows you to drive for limited purposes (employment, medical for you or family members, support group meetings, court ordered community service, day care and school for you and family members). However, upon a second or more conviction, you must wait one year before you may apply for an RDP.
There is also a waiting period of one year if you are under 21 at the time you are arrested for a DUI for which you are later convicted. Another situation that will block you from receiving an RDP hearing is if at this is your second DUI offense in the past five years.
Your right to request an RDP will be put on hold for one year if you took a chemical test at the time of your second arrest and three years if you did not take a test. These time periods, by the way, apply even if the DUI charge is dropped, or in other words, even if you are not convicted of the DUI.