Articles Posted in Driver’s License Reinstatement

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People convicted of drunk driving offenses often lose their driving privileges for a period of time. While a license suspension is inconvenient for many people, for some, it may cost them their livelihood. The Pennsylvania legislature is contemplating rectifying that harm by introducing a bill that would allow commercial drivers convicted of DUI offenses to have their CDL reinstated after ten years instead of imposing a lifetime ban. While no such legislation has been proposed in Illinois, the Pennsylvania bill could be a sign of changes to come. If you are accused of driving under the influence and are at risk of losing your CDL, it is smart to consult with an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your potential defenses.

The Proposed Pennsylvania Bill

Reportedly, the bill, known as HB1092, successfully cleared the House Transportation Committee and will now be presented to the full chamber for further consideration. If the bill becomes law, it would enable individuals who have faced lifetime suspensions of their commercial driver’s licenses due to offenses such as drunk driving convictions or other violations to apply for license reinstatement after a period of 10 years from the initiation of their lifetime ban. The application process would involve submitting a certified mail application form, subject to specific requirements.

Allegedly, Pennsylvania has stricter regulations compared to federal laws concerning disqualifications for CDL holders. While federal regulations impose suspension periods ranging from one to three years, Pennsylvania has the authority to impose a lifetime ban for certain offenses. The prime sponsor of the bill, State Representative Carol Hill-Evans, emphasized that while lifetime bans serve a purpose, the proposed bill includes numerous safeguards and necessitates that banned drivers complete reform programs. Certain convictions, such as using a commercial motor vehicle for felony drug-related activities or human trafficking, would render individuals ineligible for CDL restoration. Continue reading →

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It is not uncommon for people who are found guilty of DUI offenses to lose their license for a period of time. In some states, like Colorado, people only have a short amount of time to appeal the revocation of their license, and if they miss their window, it could be very challenging for them to get their license reinstated. Surprisingly, this is true even if they were not actually convicted of a DUI crime, as one Colorado resident recently learned. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is important to understand what criminal and civil penalties you may face if you are convicted, and you should consult an Illinois DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

Colorado’s License Revocation Laws

It is reported that a man in Colorado lost his license after DUI charges were filed against him six years ago due to administrative issues. While waiting over six years to have the right to drive reinstated alone with no end in sight would in and of itself be frustrating, the man’s struggles are even more confounding given the fact that he was not actually convicted of any DUI offense. The issue is largely caused by the fact that Colorado views DUI crimes and licensing of drivers as separate matters.

Allegedly, the man’s problems began when he was pulled over in January 2017 for lack of a front license plate; his plate had been stolen three weeks earlier, and he was waiting for a replacement. Although the man did not commit any driving infractions, police suspected he had smoked marijuana. He advised the officers he wanted to speak to his attorney before undergoing chemical testing but made it clear he would comply with their requests. Further, they did not advise him he would automatically lose his license if he did not submit to a blood test. Continue reading →

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Miranda warnings are heard in almost every television show about the criminal court system, and most people know that if you are placed under arrest the police are obligated to read you warnings regarding your rights. While a failure of an arresting officer to advise a defendant of his or her Miranda rights can result in the suppression of evidence in a criminal trial, the Appellate Court of Illinois recently held in People v. Norris that the same standards do not apply in statutory summary suspension hearings.  If you are charged with a DUI or are facing a DUI related suspension of your license, you should meet with an Illinois DUI attorney as soon as possible to discuss the evidentiary standards that apply to your case.

The Norris Factual Background

Allegedly, the defendant was stopped for suspicion of DUI. During the stop, he admitted to drinking alcohol earlier in the evening. He was subsequently charged with DUI. Due to his refusal to submit to chemical testing at the time of his arrest, the defendant’s license was subject to a one-year statutory summary suspension. He filed a motion to rescind the suspension, arguing that the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion of DUI and failed to advise the defendant of the consequences of his refusal to submit to chemical testing. The defendant also filed a motion to suppress statements he made following his arrest due to the fact the arresting officer failed to advise him of his Miranda rights. The court denied the defendant’s motion and allowed the arresting officer to testify during the license suspension hearing that the defendant admitted to drinking on the night of his arrest. The defendant appealed.

Evidentiary Standard for Statutory Summary Suppression Hearings

On appeal, the defendant argued that the court erred in denying his motion to suppress. Specifically, he stated that the officer’s questions during the traffic stop constituted a custodial interrogation and should be inadmissible due to the lack of Miranda warnings. In turn, the State argued that a Miranda violation was not grounds for suppression of a statement during a statutory summary suppression hearing. In analyzing the issue, the court noted that the hearing in question is a civil hearing, and was subject to the same rules as other civil hearings.

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A conviction for Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, results in a mandatory revocation of your driver’s license under Illinois law. (625 ILCS 5/6-208) For a first conviction, the revocation is for a year. For a second conviction, five years. A third conviction will lead to a revocation of ten years. And a fourth one causes a lifetime revocation.

A revocation is different from a suspension.  A suspension is a temporary hold on your driver’s license and it ends after a specified period of time. A revocation means that your license and your right to drive in Illinois cease to exist. Restoration of those privileges requires an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State.  (625 ILCS 5/6-205)

Court supervision does not count as a conviction and thus avoids a driver’s license revocation.  However, a driver’s license suspension, known as a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS), will apply even if the you receive court supervision or the DUI is dismissed.  The mere fact that you either refused the breath or blood test or registered .08 or higher is sufficient to impose the SSS unless the judge rescinds the SSS on the basis of one of the grounds set forth in the SSS law. (625 ILCS 5/2-118.1)

During the SSS, a driver who has not had a DUI in the prior five years is eligible to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) during all but the first thirty days of the suspension.  The MDDP is automatic and while it requires filing forms with the Secretary of State, no hearing is required. (625 ILCS 5/6-206.1) No MDDP is not available if you have had a DUI in the previous five years.

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New York state has implemented legislation that will require police to demand blood-alcohol tests in any case in which there is an accident that results in death or serious personal injury. At present New York law authorizes such testing only if police suspect the driver is guilty of DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

Illinois DUI law provides for blood tests in a number of circumstances in accident situations. If someone is involved in an accident and is taken to the hospital, standard hospital procedure is to draw blood to determine the proper course of medical treatment. The blood tests include an analysis for drugs and alcohol. This is known as a medical draw. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.4)

The results of the medical draw are admissible in the DUI prosecution as evidence that the defendant (driver) had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or greater, the legal limit in Illinois. (625 ILCS 5/11-501)  However, there is another consequence that flows from an Illinois DUI arrest.

Police will ask the defendant to submit to a breath or blood test, even if the defendant has already provide a medical draw. The results of this draw, or the defendant’s refusal to consent to the police officer’s request to provide a blood sample, will determine if the defendant will incur a driver’s license suspension and if so, for how long. Continue reading →

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The legal limit in Illinois for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is .08%. (625 ILCS 5/11-501) This is known as the Blood Alcohol Level or BAL.

It is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream.  Science shows that above a certain level, alcohol negatively affects a human being’s motor skills (reaction time, coordination and judgment) which are necessary to driving safely. The State of Illinois, and in fact all 50 states, have determined that this percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream renders them unfit to operate a motor vehicle within the State of Illinois, including on private property.

Upon believing that a person may be under the influence of alcohol, the police will ask the driver to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests (SFTS), which are physical coordination, motor  skill and multiple task tests to determine a driver’s possible fitness to drive. The driver will also be asked to submit to a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) by use of a rudimentary breath alcohol testing device.

The results of this test are not admissible in court as evidence of the actual BAL (625 ILCS 5/11-501.5)  However, they can be used in assessing whether the investigating officer has probable cause to make a DUI arrest.

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No longer would those with four DUI convictions suffer a lifetime of never driving again. Instead, Illinois House Bill 4206 would give repeat DUI offenders another chance to demonstrate rehabilitation.

A law that is proposed but has not yet been enacted into law is known as a “bill”.  Bills that are enacted become laws known as statutes. 

At present, the law on Illinois driver’s license revocations is based upon the number of convictions and in one instance, the time between convictions.  The meaning of the words “conviction”, “revocation” and “suspension” will be helpful in understanding the bill. 

A DUI-related suspension is a temporary license sanction imposed for a definite period of time.  (625 ILCS 5/1-204)  Once that time elapses, the driver is free to drive upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided driving privileges are not invalid for some other reason. It is a temporary “pause” in driving privileges.

The DUI suspension is known as a statutory summary suspension (“SSS”).  Being non-criminal in nature, an SSS is not dependent upon a conviction. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1)

A DUI-related 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 an offender’s driving privileges is not automatic.  (625 ILCS 5/1-176)  

Rather, it is contingent upon a successful hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State (“SOS”), Illinois’ licensing authority.  (625 ILCS 5/2-118; 5/6-208)  In other words, the license the offender held at the time of the DUI offense becomes void upon entry of a conviction. Continue reading →

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Every state has laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol (DUI). 625 ILCS 5/11-501 Each state also has laws concerning the consequences of a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction. The laws of each state vary substantially regarding these driver’s license consequences and what is required for a driver’s license reinstatement.

The fact of a DUI arrest alone triggers potential driver’s license consequences. Forty-six days after an arrest, the state will suspend your driver’s license for a period of six months to three years. A driver’s license suspension means that your driver’s license is temporarily put on hold.

A person who has not had a DUI arrest in the previous five years is known as a first offender even if this is not their first DUI. Those who have had an arrest within the previous five years are non-first offenders.

The legal alcohol limit in Illinois is .08. The test to determine this level, whether it be through breath samples or blood draws, is known as the chemical test. A chemical test with a result of .08 or higher is known as positive.

A driver’s license revocation occurs if you are convicted of the DUI in court. A revocation is a nullification of your driver’s license and driving privileges.

Those privileges are not just put on hold temporarily. To restore them, you must have an administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Continue reading →

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Regardless of a driver’s age, anyone in Illinois charged with Driving Under the Influence (or DUI,DWI or drunk driving-it all means the same thing) is facing some potentially serious legal consequences. Those become more severe as the number of prior offenses mount. And for someone who is under 21 at the time of the offense, even a first offense has the potential to create serious driver’s license consequences under Illinois law.

The first DUI charge is a class-A misdemeanor that may result in a fine of up to $2,500. Furthermore, in addition to, or instead of a fine, the judge may impose a sentence of up to 364 days in the county jail. 625 ILCS 5/11-501
Aggravating factors, such as a death or serious injury, can boost even a first offense to the felony level and three to seven years in prison. In the case of death, the court may impose imprisonment terms of up to fourteen years under felony enhancement provisions.

A second but related issue involves driver’s license suspensions and revocations. A suspension is a less severe sanction to the extent that once the period of time under the suspension is over, your license is automatically restored upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided your license is otherwise valid.

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It is never a good or fun thing to be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (or DUI) in Illinois. There will be fines and maybe jail time, alcohol classes and legal fees. Moreover, there will be driver’s license consequences from an Illinois DUI arrest.

As the DUI arrests pile up, the driver’s license consequences grow more severe with each arrest and with each conviction. A rather extreme example involves a Madison County Illinois woman who has been arrested for DUI on four occasions in three years.

Supposing that for the first offense, she was granted court supervision. Keep in mind that only a first offender has even a chance for DUI supervision.

Anyone who has been: previously convicted of DUI; received court supervision for DUI; been charged with a DUI that was reduced down to reckless driving; or been charged with a DUI that was dismissed but who incurred a statutory summary suspension (SSS) either for registering a blood alcohol level (BAL) of at least .08 or who refused to take a test, is ineligible for supervision, unless they took a test for the prior DUI and a judge or jury entered a finding of not guilty.

Continue reading →

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