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CDL Disqualifications due to Illinois DUI arrests

Regardless of the situation, an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Illinois must be treated seriously. Illinois DUI law provides that even a “plain vanilla” (no accident, valid driver’s license, insurance in place, not in a school zone, no other aggravating factors) DUI is a crime that is punishable by jail time of as much as 364 days and a fine that can reach $2,500.00. (625 ILCS 5/11-500)

Furthermore, a DUI arrest carries with it driver’s license consequences. A conviction means an automatic revocation of your driver’s license. (625 ILCS 5/6-205)

When your driver’s license is revoked, before you can obtain full restoration of driving privileges, you must submit yourself to an administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. In that hearing, you are required to prove that you can be a safe and responsible driver.

At a minimum, you must provide the Secretary of State with a Uniform Drug and Alcohol Evaluation. If the Uniform evaluation is more than six months’ old at the time of your hearing, you must also provide the Secretary of State with an updated evaluation on a form that his office has developed for that purpose. All those documents must be completed by an agency licensed by the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA).

The agency that conducts the evaluation will, using DASA guidelines, determine what treatment or other intervention will be necessary for moving forward with your administrative hearing. The DASA guidelines provide for certain minimum classes following a DUI offense.

If this is the first time you have ever been arrested for DUI, in Illinois or any other state, and if you took a breath or blood test and your blood alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or less and you have no abuse or dependency symptoms, your classification would be minimum risk. As such, you would be required to complete a 10-hour course known as Driver Risk Education (DRE).

It is rare that a minimal risk individual is required to have a hearing with the Secretary of State. In most situations, a minimal risk offender would be granted court supervision.

This disposition does not result in a conviction. (730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1(f)) As such, that person avoids a driver’s license revocation.


However, whether or not the driver receives court supervision, his driver’s license may still be suspended under the Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) law. This is true even if the DUI is dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge such as reckless driving.

An SSS is strictly a driver’s license penalty and has nothing to do with actual guilt or innocence for the DUI charge. When the police ask you to take a breath test at the time of a DUI arrest, you have a choice of taking the test or refusing.

If you refuse, your license will be suspended. If you take the test and register at least .08, your license will be suspended. The suspensions for refusal are longer than for registering over the limit, in order to encourage you to take the test and make it easier for the state to convict you of DUI.

Given that background, if you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) at the time you are arrested for DUI, even if the arrest occurs in your personal, non commercial motor vehicle (i.e, not your rig), you face a one year disqualification (DQ) of your CDL if any one of the following occurs: 1) you are convicted of DUI; 2) you receive court supervision for DUI 3) your license is suspended for registering at least .08 or 4) you refuse to take a breath or blood test at the request of the officer.

There is no driving relief during a CDL DQ. You cannot drive your truck for an entire year. There is one and only one way to avoid the DQ: beat the DUI or have it reduced to a lesser offense such as reckless driving and obtain a rescission of your SSS.

Kendall County woman challenges aggravated DUI law Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, June 1, 2012
Under what circumstances is a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation required in Illinois? Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, September 12, 2012

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