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Is there a shortcut to avoid the driver’s license reinstatement process in Illinois?

In Illinois, a conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) requires the Illinois Secretary of State to revoke your driver’s license. When your license is revoked, the Secretary of State takes away your physical driver’s license and also cancels your right to operate a motor vehicle on the public roadways of Illinois. 625 ILCS 5/6-205
Therefore, even if you have a license in your possession, whether one issued by Illinois or any other state, you are not entitled to drive in Illinois. Because of your revoked status, you must apply to the Secretary of State for a new license by going through the driver’s license reinstatement process.

There is a waiting period before you are allowed to make application for the license. Keeping in mind that supervision is not a conviction, a first conviction carries with it a waiting period of one year.

A second conviction within 20 years of the first one results in a 5-year wait. You will have to wait 10 years following a third conviction. Your wait will be forever if you have 4 convictions, any one of which results from an arrest that occurred after January 1, 1999. 625 ILCS 5/6-208
Unless you are in the fourth arrest situation, you may be entitled to apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) during the waiting period. The rules on how soon you may apply for an RDP are somewhat complex, but the time period will range anywhere from as few as 30 days to as many as 3 years. For the most part, two factors control, the first being how much time has elapsed between your DUI offenses and the second being whether or not you submit to a blood or breath test at the time of your most recent offense.

Whether you are applying for reinstatement or an RDP, any relief after a DUI revocation requires that Secretary of State driver’s license hearing. In that connection, there are many issues to negotiate.

These include determining the type of hearing (formal or informal), where to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation, the types of classes to take, the number of hours to complete, the support program, if any, the length of abstinence required, if any, and the paperwork to submit in order to show the Secretary of State that you have done, and are doing, what is required of you. After getting all of these materials together, you then must present your case at an administrative hearing.

Some have devised strategies that they think will get around all of the above. One is to drive anyway. A sufficient number of convictions for driving revoked will eventually grow into a felony, with mandatory minimum prison terms and no probation. In addition, each conviction adds another year to the revocation. 625 ILCS 5/6-303


Even a careful driver can get caught driving revoked. Typical instances where this can occur include being involved in a crash that is not your fault, roadside safety checks, being the subject of a random check of your license plates, and the police officer knowing you are revoked due to previous encounters with you.

Another tactic for evading the reinstatement process is to obtain multiple drivers’ licenses using different first, middle or last names or different dates of birth or social security numbers. The Secretary of State has relatively sophisticated facial recognition software that can determine, by examining driver’s license photos, if two seemingly different people are in fact the same person. These scans are running randomly, on a daily basis.

Upon being detected, depending upon how you obtained the multiple licenses, you could be charged with a felony. And for certain, all of your driver’s licenses will be cancelled and after all of that, you must still face DUI reinstatement process.

A third well-worn dodge of the process is to obtain a driver’s license from another state. Remember that the driver’s license will not be valid in Illinois because Illinois has revoked your privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

Furthermore, you will find it difficult to obtain a license in another state due to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. Moreover, even if a state is not a Compact member, the national registry that the federal government maintains will probably block you due to the hold from Illinois.