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Illinois DUI Fatality and Drive’s License Reinstatement

The Illinois Driver’s Licensing law provides a number of behaviors that will result in a revocation of your driver’s license, in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/6-205. The revocations under this law are known as mandatory, which means that if it is proven that you engaged in the prohibited conduct, the Illinois Secretary of State, the administrative agency that administers the driver’s license laws, is required to revoke your license.

Mandatory revocations include a conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), commission of a felony in which a motor vehicle was used, leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury (a three year revocation under 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)), three convictions for reckless driving, a drag racing or street racing conviction, aggravated fleeing or eluding a police officer, two convictions for illegal transportation of alcohol if you are a youthful offender (under 21), any conviction for a traffic violation, the commission of which was the proximate cause of death of any person, reckless homicide and a second conviction for driving on a revoked license where the revocation was due to a previous reckless homicide conviction.

In 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the reckless homicide law is unconstitutional. People v. Pomykala, 203 Ill. 2d 198, 784 N.E.2d 784, 271 Ill. Dec. 230 (2003) The Court held that because the reckless homicide law shifted the burden of proof to the defendant to prove he was not reckless, it violated due process by creating a mandatory presumption of reckless conduct.

In response to this ruling, the Illinois General Assembly, made up of the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives, amended to DUI law to provide for aggravated DUI. Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(F), aggravated DUI occurs when a person, while violating the DUI law, is involved in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, ATV or watercraft crash that results in the death of another person, if the DUI was the proximate cause of the death.

Any aggravated DUI is a felony. For an aggravated DUI involving a single death, the offense is a Class-2 felony with no chance of probation absent “extraordinary circumstances”. Additional deaths elevate the minimum and maximum jail time. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(2)(G).

A first time DUI conviction results in a one-year driver’s license reinstatement. A second DUI conviction within 20 years of the first will cause a 5-year driver’s license revocation; a third conviction within any period of time leads to a 10 year revocation. 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b) Following a second or third revocation, you cannot apply for any driving relief, even a restricted driving permit (RDP) during the first year of the revocation 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(6)

Just as the criminal penalties for an aggravated DUI involving death are more severe, so are the driver’s license consequences. To being with, you are revoked for 2 years. In addition, if you are sentenced to prison or jail, the two-year clock does not begin to run until you are released, whether you are applying for a full driver’s license or an RDP.
The waiting period was instituted following complaints from people that a person who would not have been driving anyway while in jail could immediately apply for a driver’s license.

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