Those who are arrested for DUI in Illinois must understand how long the look back period will be. As is the case with much of the law governing Driving Under the Influence, the answer is not clear because it is based upon political compromises and court interpretations of sometimes ambiguous language.
The answer depends upon to what the question pertains. Driver’s license or criminal charges? Suspension or revocation?
Begin with the criminal case. A DUI conviction can carry a sentence of up to 364 days in jail, two years of probation, a $2500 fine or any combination of the three, as it is a Class-A misdemeanor. (625 ILCS 5/11-501) The best outcome for someone who is found guilty of the DUI offense with which he or she is charged is court supervision. (730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1)
Court supervision can never carry a jail sentence. While court supervision requires that you plead to, or are found guilty of, the offense, it is not a conviction, the latter of which requires the Illinois Secretary of State to revoke your driver’s license.
Once your driver’s license is revoked, it is gone forever. To get a new one, you must have a driver’s license hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.
This will take a long time to accomplish. You will have to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation, complete classes, attend a hearing and wait for a decision
Supervision for a DUI is a once-in-a-lifetime proposition. Moreover, if you have ever been convicted of a DUI, or received reckless driving for a charge that initially was a DUI, you are not eligible for supervision even if you have never had it. In short, the supervision look back period is forever.
Likewise, any judge considering a sentence after a DUI conviction may take into account any and all previous DUI offenses, regardless of their age. They NEVER go away.
Upon a first DUI conviction, your license will be revoked for one year. After a year you can have a hearing and request your full license.
But if you are on your second DUI conviction, you cannot request a full driver’s license for five years, unless the time between the first and second offenses exceeds twenty (20) years. Therefore, the look back for how long your license is revoked after a second conviction (remember that supervision does not count) is 20 years.
A third DUI conviction will cause a revocation of your driver’s license for ten years regardless of the time between them. The look back is forever. (625 ILCS 5/6-208)
There are also some confusing suspension rules. A suspension represents a temporary hold on your driver’s license and in conjunction with a DUI it is known as a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS). The SSS is what happens when you do not agree to a breath or blood test at the request of law enforcement, or you agree and register .08 or higher.
Not all SSS periods are the same. How long the suspension is depends upon whether you tested or refused and on whether a five year look back of your driving record shows any DUI’s in that window?
If it does not, then a suspension will last for a year if you test and three years if you refuse. If there are not any DUI’s within that five-year window, you will be suspended for six months if you test and twelve if you do not.
Remember that the suspension ends automatically once you pay the reinstatement fee. But if you are ultimately convicted of the DUI that led to the SSS, you cannot drive until you have a successful Secretary of State hearing.