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The effect of a foreign-state DUI on Illinois driving privileges

If you hold an Illinois driver’s license and receive a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in another state, Illinois will proceed as follows: If at the time of the arrest, you refuse chemical testing, the SOS will enter a suspension against your Illinois driver’s license and driving privileges for the same period of time as though you had refused testing in Illinois 625 ILCS 5/6-203.1
A DUI suspension is a temporary license sanction imposed for a definite period of time. Once that time elapses, you automatically get your license back upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided driving privileges are not invalid for some other reason. 625 ILCS 5/1-204
One of the things that will invalidate your license and take away the right to automatic restoration is a revocation. 625 ILCS 5/6-208 A revocation is the withdrawal of driving privileges for a period of 1, 5 or 10 years following a conviction.

At the end of that period, restoration of your driving privileges is not automatic. Rather, it is contingent upon a successful hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State will not suspend your Illinois license if you submit to a breath test during a DUI arrest in another state. However, if you are convicted of the out-of-state DUI, your driver’s license will be revoked. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(6)

Other than determining whether the lifetime driving ban applies (discussed below), the SOS, in determining the length of a revocation, takes into account a DUI conviction from another state only if the rendering state directly reports the conviction to Illinois in compliance with the Interstate Drivers License Compact. DUI convictions that Illinois discovers only through a search of the National Registry/PDPS do not become part of the revocation equation.

If you have no previous DUI revocations that appear on your Illinois driving record, the revocation must be for one year. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(1) Putting aside any credits that may apply, after a year, you may request full restoration of your driving privileges provided that the implied consent suspension has run its course.


A second DUI conviction that the SOS enters on your Illinois driving record within 20 years of a first DUI conviction that also appears on your Illinois driving record will cause a 5-year revocation. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(2) During the first year of the revocation, as a twice-convicted DUI offender, you are not eligible to apply either for reinstatement or an RDP (this no-relief period is colloquially known as “hard time”). 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(6)

A third conviction on you4 Illinois driving record leads to a 10-year revocation of driving privileges The first year is hard time. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(3)

A fourth conviction results in a lifetime revocation. In that instance, current law prohibits the SOS from even scheduling a hearing to request any type of driving relief. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(4)

Due to case law, all convictions from any state, even if that state did not report them to Illinois and cause them to appear on the Illinois driving record, are counted in determining whether a lifetime ban will be imposed. Girard v. White, 356 Ill. App. 3d 11, 826 N.E.2d 517 (Ill. App. Ct. 2005) In mitigation, for the lifetime ban to apply, at least one of the arrests that resulted in a conviction must have occurred after January 1, 1999. 92 Illinois Administrative Code ยง1001.420(o)

Drivers who are under 21 when they commit a DUI offense for which they are ultimately convicted suffer more severe driver’s license consequences. The revocation is 2 years; the first year is hard time. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(d)(1)

A different license sanction regime also applies when a DUI results in death and a reckless homicide or aggravated DUI conviction. While that topic is beyond the scope of this article, be advised that another set of rules exists.