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The Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license due to drinking tickets or a fake ID

The Illinois Zero Tolerance (ZT) Law provides that if you are under the age of 21 years and are stopped for a traffic violation and the police suspect you may have been drinking, they are entitled to ask you to take a breath, blood or urine test to determine if there is any amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. Even though the legal limit for driving in Illinois for a driver over 21 is .08, for a driver under 21, any amount of alcohol (or drugs, including marijuana) above zero is illegal.

Upon finding alcohol or drugs in your system, the police will issue you a Zero Tolerance ticket and report it to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will suspend your license for three (3) months for a first offense. If you refuse to submit to testing, you will be suspended for six (6) months for a first offense.

However, you can and will also lose your license in other circumstances in which you are not driving if you received a ticket for illegal consumption or possession of alcohol, or being in a tavern under the legal age. I will refer to these as drinking tickets.

You can also be suspended for the mere fact of being in possession of a driver’s license or ID card that was issued to someone else, even if you are not issued a ticket. We will call these fake ID cases.


If you receive a drinking ticket and are given court supervision, your license will be suspended for three (3) months just like a ZT arrest, even though you may not have been driving or intended to drive. If you are convicted of the drinking ticket, you will be suspended for six (6) months.

There are different fake ID tickets but they all share some common elements. You are under 21. The fake ID shows you are over 21. You are in a drinking-type situation- at or near a bar, or in possession of alcohol, or showing evidence you have been drinking, for instance.

The police somehow find the fake ID in your possession. They confiscate it from you. They send it into the Secretary of State. A few weeks later, you receive a notification from the Secretary of State that your license is suspended (or maybe revoked, as discussed below). This happens even though you were nowhere near a car. It happens even though you may not have received any drinking ticket, or the drinking ticket was dropped.

If the license is a real one but it belongs to someone else, you will be suspended for one year. At the end of the one-year suspension, the Secretary of State will return your license to you. If you are in possession of a manufactured license or ID, the Secretary of State will revoke your license. In order to receive it back, you will be required to have a hearing with the Secretary of State.