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How your driver’s license may be revoked without a trial

In Illinois, if you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the Illinois Secretary of State is required to revoke your driver’s license. The revocation could be for 1, 5 or 10 years, depending upon your previous record.

By law, a revocation can only be undone through a driver’s license hearing with the Secretary of State. During the 1, 5 or 10-year revocation period, you may be eligible for a restricted driving permit (RDP) if you can show undue hardship.

A 1-year revocation results from a first conviction. A second conviction within 20 years of a previous arrest leads to a revocation for 5 years. A third conviction within any period of time will cost you your license for 10 years.

You must not confuse a revocation with a statutory summary suspension. A suspension in connection with a DUI arrest results from the fact that you failed to provide the police with a blood or breath sample upon request, or you provided a sample that show your blood alcohol content to be above the legal limit of .08. A suspension ends automatically once the suspension time is over.

If you have not had a DUI arrest within the last 5 years, the suspension will be for 6 months if you agree to provide a blood or breath sample and 12 months if you refuse. Restricted driving relief (hardship license) is an option.


If you have had a DUI arrest within the past 5 years, and you refuse the breath test, you will be unable to drive for any reason for 3 years. If you submit to testing, you will be off the road for 1 year. No restricted permit is available during either time period.

In almost all cases, a revocation can only occur after you have been convicted of a DUI in Illinois. However, the Illinois Secretary of State does have very limited authority to revoke your driver’s license before you have been convicted of DUI and before you have had a hearing. This action is known as an administrative revocation because the Secretary of State is an administrative agency (not a court) who imposes a revocation without court action.

After the Secretary of State enters a revocation, you are entitled to request a hearing to contest his actions. The problem is that by then, you will have been charged in the criminal courts with DUI or aggravated DUI, which is a felony. Anything you say at the hearing can be used against you in the felony case.