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Illinois DUI law for truck drivers

All states, including Illinois, have long made it illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501)  A DUI arrest in Illinois has two components.

A driver will face criminal consequences. DUI, at a minimum, is a Class-A misdemeanor. As such, the possible penalties are up the 364 days in jail and a fine, either alone or in conjunction with jail time, of as much as $2,500.  A convicted driver can also be placed on probation and required to complete alcohol classes, community service and attend a Victim Impact Panel (VIP).

A conviction for DUI also results in a mandatory revocation of driving privileges and a required hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State to restore driving privileges. Before being able to restore full privileges, a convicted driver must wait one, five or ten years, depending upon how many, if any, prior convictions are on that person’s driving record.  625 ILCS 5/6-208

Before that waiting period expires, the driver may be entitled to apply to the Secretary of State for limited driving privileges in order to drive for work, school, day care, medical appointments and Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings.  However, there are possible barriers to being immediately eligible for restricted driving privileges, such as a one year waiting period following a second or third DUI conviction and a delay for as much as three years following a refusal of breath testing in the event of a second or more DUI arrest.

For many first time DUI offenders, court supervision can save the more onerous criminal and driver’s license consequences of a DUI arrest in Illinois.  Although supervision requires the driver to plead guilty to the DUI charge, court supervision does not result in a conviction provided the driver obeys the terms the judge imposes during the period  of the supervision, which cannot extend for greater than two years. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1 While conditions vary by judge, at a minimum, there will be payments for DUI fees, supervision fees, a drug and alcohol evaluation and completion of all recommended DUI classes as well as attendance at a VIP meeting.

Many judges will require no alcohol consumption and while on supervision, any violations of the law can result in court supervision being revoked.  There is no jail time associated with supervision.

A driver who is arrested for DUI in Illinois will also be faced with a driver’s license suspension.  Unlike a revocation, a suspension results in a “pause” in driving privileges rather than a voiding of them.

As a result, no hearing is required after the termination of a driver’s license suspension, including a DUI driver’s license suspension, which is known as a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS).  However, an SSS does not require a conviction or in other words, proof that the driver is guilty of a DUI. If the driver is asked to take a breath test and registers over .08 or refuses, that is enough to justify a suspension which will be anywhere from six months to three years, depending upon the overall driving record and whether the driver took or refused the test.

Dismissal of the DUI or court supervision do not result in a defeat of the SSS. That can only occur if the judge enters an order rescinding the SSS.

The picture for someone who holds a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is much more problematic when the driver is arrested for DUI, even for the first time. And the rules for DUI are the same for a CDL holder regardless of whether the DUI occurs in a Commercial Motor Vehicle or NOT.  The only difference is that the BAC while behind the wheel of a truck is only .04.  (625 ILCS 5/6-500 et al)

First, court supervision protects base (regular) driving privileges but not the CDL privileges, which will be disqualified (DQ) for 12 months. Secondly, an SSS also results in a 12 month DQ, even if the DUI is thrown out.  A second DUI requires a DQ for life.

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