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Bill filed in the Illinois House of Representatives would represent a change in the law pertaining to Illinois hardships licenses

No longer would those with four DUI convictions suffer a lifetime of never driving again. Instead, Illinois House Bill 4206 would give repeat DUI offenders another chance to demonstrate rehabilitation.

A law that is proposed but has not yet been enacted into law is known as a “bill”.  Bills that are enacted become laws known as statutes. 

At present, the law on Illinois driver’s license revocations is based upon the number of convictions and in one instance, the time between convictions.  The meaning of the words “conviction”, “revocation” and “suspension” will be helpful in understanding the bill. 

A DUI-related suspension is a temporary license sanction imposed for a definite period of time.  (625 ILCS 5/1-204)  Once that time elapses, the driver is free to drive upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided driving privileges are not invalid for some other reason. It is a temporary “pause” in driving privileges.

The DUI suspension is known as a statutory summary suspension (“SSS”).  Being non-criminal in nature, an SSS is not dependent upon a conviction. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1)

A DUI-related revocation is the withdrawal of driving privileges for a period of 1, 5 or 10 years following a conviction.  At the end of that period, restoration of an offender’s driving privileges is not automatic.  (625 ILCS 5/1-176)  

Rather, it is contingent upon a successful hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State (“SOS”), Illinois’ licensing authority.  (625 ILCS 5/2-118; 5/6-208)  In other words, the license the offender held at the time of the DUI offense becomes void upon entry of a conviction.

The revoked driver must petition the Secretary of State for a new license when the revocation period has ended. However, in some circumstances, the driver may apply for an RDP.  An RDP authorizes an applicant to drive for a job, school, AA meetings, medical appointments and family educational and day care purposes.  (625 ILCS 5/6-205(e)(1))

Court supervision is available once in a lifetime for a DUI offense.  (730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1 (f))  Court supervision does not count as a DUI conviction. (730 ILCS 5/5-6-1)

A single DUI conviction will cause a revocation for one year.  A second conviction more than twenty years from the first one also triggers a one year revocation.

If the offenses occur fewer than twenty years apart, the revocation will be for five years. For three convictions, regardless of the time between them, a ten year revocation applies.  (625 ILCS 5/6-208)

Absent an SSS that is still in effect, a driver is allowed to apply for an RDP immediately after a first conviction.  However, an applicant must wait one year after a second or third conviction before being eligible for an RDP.  (625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(6))

A driver who has four or more DUI convictions, including out-of-state convictions (Girard v. White, 356 Ill. App. 3d 11, 826 N.E.2d 517, 292 Ill. Dec. 376 (1st Dist. 2005)), any of which arose out of a DUI occurring after January 1, 1999, may never apply for a driver’s license or RDP.  (92 Illinois Administrative Code §1001.420(o), 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)4., 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(1), 6-206(c)3))

Representative Nekritz’s bill would only allow these individuals to apply for an RDP under certain conditions.  First, no application could be made until the later of five years after the revocation took effect or five years following the applicant’s release from incarceration.

Moreover, the petitioner would be required to demonstrate a minimum of three consecutive years of being completely alcohol and drug free immediately prior to the hearing.  He or she would be required to meet the other requirements of the Secretary of State (evaluation, counseling, SR 22 etc).  Finally, the Secretary of State could only issue an RDP, not a full license, and the driver would be required to operate only those motor vehicles equipped with an interlock device.

A special provision would be made for former Illinois residents who left behind an Illinois revocation which they now must clear in order to obtain a license in their new state. Because Illinois cannot issue an RDP to a resident of another state, non residents would be allowed to apply for full reinstatement (which is required in order to remove an Illinois license revocation) ten years after the most recent revocation. If the non resident later moved back to Illinois, they would be subject to the RDP and interlock requirements.

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