A 15-year old boy was arrested in Mt. Prospect, a Cook County town, for DUI and driving without a license. The minimum legal driving age in Illinois is 16 years, although 9 months before his 16th birthday, a child enrolled in a driver’s education course may obtain a learner’s permit. 625 ILCS 5/107.
Prior to receiving a license at the age of 16, a student must undergo 50 hours of behind-the-wheel-training (at least 10 of which must be at night) accompanied by a licensed driver who is a parent, guardian, or family member at least 21 years old with at least one year of driving experience. 625 ILCS 5/6-107.1(a)(1) The trainer must be seated in the front of the vehicle.
The permit is only valid during certain hours of the day. A local curfew that restricts the hours further may apply 625 ILCS 5/6-107.1(b)
These same restrictions apply to a fully licensed driver under the age of 18. 625 ILCS 5/6-110(a-1) Exceptions to the curfew apply when a parent or guardian is in the car, when running an errand for a parent or guardian, going to or from work, when engaged in interstate travel, and when traveling to and from school provided there are no detours.
If a driver under the age of 18 years is convicted of DUI or any other offense that would cause a driver’s license revocation, that person may not obtain a license any earlier than age 18. Other offenses that will prevent the driver from obtaining a license before the age of 18 include a conviction for operating a motor vehicle at a time the person does not hold a valid driver’s license and a conviction for a drug offense while in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. 625 ILCS 5/6-107(c)
A driver who commits a DUI offense while under the age of 21 and who is subsequently convicted of DUI will receive a two year driver’s license revocation. Under no circumstances may he apply for any type of driving relief for the first year of the revocation. In the second year, he may apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) in order to relieve undue hardship. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(d)(1)
Under the Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) program, a driver whose license is suspended due to not taking a breath or blood test to determine alcohol concentration, or taking the test and registering over .08, may drive during the period of the suspension provided he agrees to install an interlock device in the vehicle he operates. 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1 This device makes it impossible to start the car without blowing into a tube that measures blood alcohol concentrations.
Those under 18 are not eligible for the MDDP. In addition, if the person is subsequently convicted of DUI, the MPPD is invalidated. At that point, any driving relief requires a hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State to request an RDP.
The MDDP is automatic and allows driving anywhere for any reason, No evaluation or other special paperwork is required. By contrast, an RDP is not automatic. 625 ILCS 5/2-118; Cusack v. Edgar, 137 Ill. App. 3d 505, 484 N.E.2d 1145, 92 Ill. Dec. 290 (1985) The applicant must be a laundry list of requirements. These include a drug and alcohol evaluation, an updated evaluation if the first evaluation was completed more than 6 months before the hearing, completion of any required treatment hours (typically 12, 20 or 75 hours, depending upon the risk classification, and a 10-hour driver risk education (DRE) course for those classified as other than high risk. 92 Illinois Administrative Code §10001.440
The hearing process is not like grade school, where as long as you turn in a paper, you receive passing grades. You must have a hearing at which you will be placed under oath and asked a number of questions for a period of 20 to 40 minutes, basically providing a full accounting of your lifetime alcohol and drug use history, a line of very precise questions regarding the facts and circumstances of every DUI arrest, examination of your abuse and dependency symptoms and issues related to what you learned in your alcohol classes. In addition, you will be required to show that your inability to obtain driving relief has caused not just inconvenience but undue hardship.