Much confusion and misinformation exists about how the Illinois Secretary of State will handle a disposition of court supervision following an Illinois DUI arrest. In addition, many people do not understand the difference between supervision, probation and conditional charge for the purpose of Illinois DUI law.
It is worth repeating the two different cases an accused faces when charged with DUI. One case involves the criminal aspects of the charges- the fines, jail time, and other matters that arise in any criminal case.
The second case concerns the impact upon your driver’s license. The two are related but taking care of one does not always take care of the other. As a result, you can be cleared of the DUI and still lose your driver’s license, sometimes for as much as three years.
Your driver’s license is subject to suspension if you refused to take a breath test or if you took the test and registered above the legal limit of .08. The suspension is longer if you refuse than if you blow. A revocation occurs if you are convicted of the DUI.
A driver’s license suspension is for a definite period of time. At the end of that time, you are required to pay a fee and then your license will be returned to you, unless you were convicted of the DUI and your driver’s license was revoked. In that case, you must have a driver’s license reinstatement hearing before you can drive legally.
Court supervision requires you to plead guilty to the DUI charge. You will be fined and be required to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation, driver risk education classes and alcohol treatment, and attend a victim impact panel. The number of hours you are required to complete depends upon the risk level at which your evaluator places you.
Although you plead guilty to the DUI, the judge does not enter a conviction on your record and your license will not be revoked. If at the end of your period of supervision (up to two years), you have completed your classes, paid your fines and done all the other things required of you by the terms of the supervision order, the judge will dismiss your case.
If you fail to complete all the terms of your supervision, you will be convicted of the DUI, possibly be thrown in jail and your driver’s license will be revoked. Therefore, it is important for your DUI lawyer to explain to you the requirements of your supervision order.
Even though successful completion of court supervision avoids a driver’s license revocation, your license may be suspended due to the breath test situation discussed above. During the suspension, you may be eligible for a license known as a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP).
If you have had a DUI arrest in the previous 5 years, you are not entitled to an MDDP and your license will be suspended for 1-3 years, during which time you cannot drive at all, not even for work. You may even find yourself in a situation where your license is suspended for 1 or 3 years and because it was also revoked, you must have a license reinstatement hearing, but only after the suspension has ended.
Probation is a conviction. It has none of the benefits of supervision in terms of avoiding a driver’s license revocation. It allows you to avoid jail time. Conditional discharge is a form of probation. The only difference is, you do not have to report to a probation officer every month.