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Waiting period for Illinois driver’s license hearings after a DUI

In Illinois, there are two different types of actions that the state can take against your driver’s license due to DUI. You will receive a driver’s license suspension, a driver’s license revocation or both.

A suspension has a specific ending date. When the suspension date arrives, the suspension ends after you pay a reinstatement fee. A revocation also has an ending date but when the date comes, you do not automatically get your license back but instead must have a driver’s license hearing.

Your DUI arrest involves two cases. The first is the suspension case. The suspension arises not from the state having to prove you were driving drunk but from the mere fact that they asked you to take a breath or blood test and you either: 1) refused to take the test or 2) took the test and registered over the legal limit of .08.

Therefore, even if the DUI is dropped or you are find not guilty, your license will be suspended unless your DUI lawyer is able to convince the judge that the police had no basis to stop you, or to believe you were under the influence or to ask you to submit to a breath or blood test.

How long you will be suspended depends upon two things. The first is whether or not you submitted to a breath test or refused. A refusal always results in a longer suspension because the police want you to take the breath test and make it easier to prove their case.

The second factor is whether you have a previous DUI arrest and how long ago that arrest occurred. If in the previous 5 years you have not had a DU arrest that resulted in court supervision, a plea down to reckless driving or a breath test suspension, you are a “first offender”. If you have had a DUI in the previous 5 years, even though you received supervision or reckless driving or the DUI was dismissed but you had a breath test suspension, you are not a “first offender”.

If you are a “first offender” and you took a breath test, your license will be suspended for 6 months. If you refused the test, the suspension will be for 12 months.

In either case, you will not be able to have a hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State to obtain a work permit. However, after the suspension has been in effect for 30 days, you are entitled to petition the judge for an MDDP.


If you are not a first offender, you cannot drive for any reason during the period of your suspension, even if your revocation period has ended. A non first offender who takes the test is suspended for 1 year. A non first offender who refuses is suspended for 3 years.

The second part of your DUI arrest is the criminal case. Here, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove drunk. If you are convicted of the DUI, your license will be revoked. How long?

If this is your first DUI conviction, your license will be revoked for a year. At the end of the year, you will be entitled to a hearing, unless your driver’s license suspension has not ended.

If this is your second DUI conviction in the past 20 years, your license will be revoked for 5 years. You may apply for a hardship license with the Secretary of State after your suspension has ended but may not apply for a full license for 5 years.

A third conviction causes a 10-year revocation. Again, you can apply for a hardship license once your suspension ends but cannot apply for a full license for 10 years.

If you have 4 or more convictions, any of which were caused by a DUI arrest that occurred after January 1, 1999, you can never drive again in the State of Illinois for any reason. This may also prevent you from obtain an out-of-state driver’s license due to the Illinois hold. When you are counting up your DUI convictions to determine your particular situation, you must include out-of-state DUI arrests. This includes arrests that turn up on the PDPS national registry.