Published on:

Is there any point at which Illinois will never give you a driver’s license?

The State of New York recently passed a law that if you have five (or more ) convictions for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you may never again obtain a driver’s license. Under this law, if a revoked driver applies for reinstatement, the DMV will check the applicant’s driving record and automatically deny the application if the record shows five or more DUI convictions.

Illinois a has a provision that imposes a lifetime ban on any type of driving relief, even a restricted driving permit (RDP), if an applicant has four or more DUI convictions. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(4) However, under Secretary of State administrative rules, at least one of the convictions must have arisen from a DUI arrest that occurred on or after January 1, 1999. 92 Illinois Administrative Code ยง1001.420(o).

In determining whether you fit under the “four-and-out” rule, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, as indicated, someone with four or more convictions remains eligible to apply for a license if all the arrests were before January 1, 1999.

Another requirement is that there be four or more “convictions”. A disposition of court supervision does not count as a conviction. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1(f); Kirwan v. Welch, 133 Ill. 2d 163, 139 Ill. Dec. 836, 549 N.E.2d 348 (1989) Nor does a reckless driving conviction count, even if you were originally charged with DUI.

The number of DUI convictions that you have on your Illinois driving record determines whether you will be revoked for one year (one conviction), five years (two convictions within 20 years) or 10 years (three convictions). Most states, under the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (Compact), are supposed to report to Illinois any DUI convictions that a driver who holds an Illinois license receives in the state of arrest and conviction. However, this reporting often does not happen, although the failure to report seems to be occurring less frequently in more recent times than it did in the past.

In calculating how long you will be revoked following a DUI conviction, Illinois only takes into account the arrests that the other states report to Illinois, unless the total of convictions is four or more. In the four or more situation, Illinois must include all out-of-state convictions, even those that were not directly reported to Illinois. Girard v. White, 356 Ill. App. 3d 11, 292 Ill. Dec. 376, 826 N.E.2d 517, (1 Dist. 2005) Illinois finds out about these non reported DUI offenses by reviewing a nationwide database through a process known as Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS).


These can lead to a vicious circle for a resident of another state who is trying to obtain a driver’s license in that state (known as a “foreign state”). The foreign state may be prepared to issue you a driver’s license but the PDPS shows a revocation due to an Illinois DUI arrest (sometimes decades old), the result of which is that the foreign state will not issue a license until you clear the Illinois hold.

Suppose you have three DUI convictions in the foreign state in addition to an old one in Illinois. When you ask Illinois for a hearing to clear the hold, Illinois sees the one old DUI conviction on your Illinois driving record. However, PDPS shows 3 convictions in other states. As a result, Illinois will not lift the hold. And the foreign state will not issue a license to you because of the Illinois hold.

There are a few states that may, after you have lived in that state for a year, issue you a license to drive in that state and that state only. Otherwise, the Illinois hold, even though it stems from an old DUI, may effectively bar you from being licensed anywhere in the United States. A potential solution is to try and persuade the foreign state to vacate one of the convictions. Short of that, absent a change in the law, you are out of luck.