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Illinois Driver’s License Reinstatement after a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Conviction

If you are convicted of DUI and have an Illinois driver’s license, your license will be revoked. You must then submit yourself to a driver’s license reinstatement process before you are allowed to drive legally. The length of time you are required to wait before being eligible for reinstatement depends upon your age, the type of offense you committed and your previous driving record.

Something to keep in mind during this discussion: You may have been convicted of DUI in another state while driving on your Illinois driver’s license. If that conviction appears on your Illinois driving record, it will be treated as though it occurred in Illinois.

Illinois drivers may (but not necessarily will) receive court supervision for their first DUI offense. Court supervision is not a conviction and it does not result in a driver’s license revocation. In supervision cases, your license might be suspended, but it will not be revoked. This means that once the suspension period is over, you pay a fee and are automatically reinstated without a hearing.

A first conviction, on the other hand, results in a one-year revocation of your driver’s license. However, the Secretary of State will not automatically return your license to you (as happens in the case of a suspension). The end of the revocation period only signifies that upon attending a hearing, you are entitled to ask for your license.


A second conviction within 20 years of the first conviction causes a 5-year revocation. A third conviction, no matter how far apart it is from the other two, or a fourth conviction before January 1, 1999, results in a 10-year revocation. If your last DUI arrest occurred after January 1, 1999 and it results in a fourth conviction (no matter where the convictions occurred and even if the other state did not report them to Illinois) leads to a lifetime ban on your right to ever drive in this state for any reason.

An article in the Chicago Tribune concerns a driver who was recently arrested for DUI. According to the article, the driver had previously been convicted of reckless homicide as a result of a 1997 offense.

Reckless homicide occurs when someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes a fatality. Many of these convictions result in lengthy prison terms. Under current law, an individual who is convicted of reckless homicide must wait two years after his release from prison before he can ask for any type of driving privileges.

Finally, Illinois has taken steps to address under aged drinkers who drive. Such a person who is convicted of DUI faces a 2-year driver’s license revocation. However, unlike the reckless homicide offender, the under aged driver may apply for a hardship permit after 1 year.