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How out of state DUI offenses affect Illinois driving privileges

The impact an out of state offense for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) has on your Illinois driver’s license depends upon a number of factors. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

If someone holds a driver’s license in one state (the licensing state) and receives a DUI in another state (the reporting state the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (Compact) requires the reporting state to notify the licensing state of that fact. So if you receive a DUI in Iowa, a Compact state, Iowa is supposed to report that to Illinois, also a Compact state. Illinois will enter that conviction on your driving record.

Compact states are also obligated to report breath and blood test refusals to the licensing state even if the DUI is dropped or reduced to a lesser charge. After Illinois receives a refusal report, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license for 12 months if you have no other DUI record and for 3 years if you have had a DUI in the previous 5 years.

A driver’s license suspension ends automatically without the need to got through a hearing with the Secretary of State, as is required if your driver’s license is revoked. A revocation will occur if the reporting state notifies the licensing state of a DUI conviction. You can be suspended and revoked for the same offense, or only suspended if the DUI is dropped, or only revoked if you take a breath test but are convicted of the DUI.

Your right to request a driver’s license or driving permit depends, among other things, upon your driving record of DUI convictions, including those that are reported to Illinois in accordance with the Compact. If the out-of-state DUI offense results in your one and only conviction, you will be revoked for one year.

If the out-of-state conviction is one of two DUI offenses that appear on your Illinois record, you will be revoked for 5 years. If the out-of state conviction is one of three DUI offenses on your Illinois record, you will be revoked for 10 years.


Often, an out of state conviction or refusal does not get reported directly to the Secretary of State. This can happen because a state is not a member of the Compact (although even non-members may, if they wish, report DUI offense to other states), a member state simply fails to obey the Compact, there was no DUI conviction and the driver took a breath test and thus the reporting requirement was not triggered, or the DUI offense occurred before the Compact took effect.

Under federal rules, all 50 states, without regard to their Compact status, are required, before issuing, renewing or reinstating a driver’s license, required to check the National Driver Registry (NDR). This is essentially a computer program that can, based upon your name, date of birth and Social Security number, “point to” problem drivers.

The system is thus known as the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS). In certain situations, DUI offenses that are targeted by PDPS work against you even if the offenses are not part of your official Illinois driving record.

A PDPS-identified DUI will not be counted against you in determining the length of your revocation (1, 5 or 10 years). However, it will count in determining whether or not you have a lifetime revocation (4 or more DUI convictions, any of which resulted from a DUI arrest after January 1, 1999), as well as in deciding whether you are entitled to court supervision and to an MDDP. In addition, PDPS offenses will also come into play in setting the length of a statutory summary suspension (6 months, 12 months or 3 years).