Illinois law makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. (DUI). Penalties for a first offense can be as much as a fine of $2,500 and up to 364 days in the county jail, or a combination of the two. 625 ILCS 5/11-501
A conviction for DUI requires the Illinois Secretary of State to revoke your driver’s license. A driver’s license revocation nullifies your right to drive in Illinois. 625 ILCS 6-208
In order to be entitled to drive without any restrictions, you must have a driver’s license hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. In other words, restoration of full driving privileges is not automatic. Christiansen v. Edgar, 209 Ill. App. 3d 36, 153 Ill. Dec. 738, 567 N.E.2d 696 (4 Dist. 1991)
Revocations vary in length and depend upon your previous DUI convictions, if any. Keep in mind that in making these calculations, any dispositions of court supervision are not counted, as supervision is not a conviction.
The first DUI conviction will bring a one year revocation. A second DUI convictions that occurs within 20 years of the first one leads to a revocation for 5 years.
A third conviction nets a 10 year revocation. A fourth conviction can result in a lifetime revocation if any arrest that results in a conviction occurred after January 1, 1999.
The Secretary of State does not track court cases; therefore it is the responsibility of the Circuit Clerk to notify him of any DUI conviction. Within about 10 days of being notified of a DUI conviction, the Secretary of State will revoke your driver’s license.
In many situations, you may apply for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) while the revocation is in effect. The RDP is not a “license” but rather is permission to drive, for limited purposes, while your are ineligible to apply for a full license (during the revocation window of 1, 5 or 10 years). But someone with a lifetime revocation due to four convictions cannot apply for an RDP either.
There are a few situations in which you must wait before you can apply for an RDP. If this is your second or third conviction (meaning a 5 or 10 year revocation), you cannot apply for an RDP during the first year of the revocation. If you are convicted of aggravated DUI that causes a death, you cannot apply for an RDP until 2 years after the revocation, or 2 years after you are released from incarceration, whichever is later.
You may also be prohibited from applying for an RDP during your revocation if you have a statutory summary suspension (SSS) that is in effect. A suspension of your driver’s license means that it is taken away from you for a given period of time and then returned to you without a hearing unless your license is also revoked upon being convicted of the DUI.
Suspensions do not require a DUI conviction. Rather, they are imposed automatically if you either do not take a breath test during a DUI arrest or take a test and register at least .08 BAC.
Suspensions began on the 46th DUI after the arresting officer serves you with a notice of suspension. This usually occurs at the same time you are arrested but is sometimes delayed if blood is drawn and the crime lab has to analyze the results.
If you have been arrested for DUI in the previous 5 years, you cannot apply for an RDP during the suspension, and this is true without regard to whether or not you are within your revocation window. If there are not prior offenses in 5 years, you can apply for an RDP 30 days after the suspension begins.