Many states impose lifetime bans on driving privileges after someone is convicted of a certain number of driving under the influence (DUI) offenses. Illinois has a similar provision that on its face seems straightforward but is difficult to navigate.
The Illinois law setting forth the consequences of a DUI conviction are found at 625 ILCS 5/6-208. In analyzing the effect of this statute, it is important to keep in mind that it only applies to “convictions”.
Therefore, to determine your situation, you must do more than count the number of times that you were arrested for DUI. If the arrest does not result in a conviction for DUI, it does not count against you.
Obviously, if the DUI is dismissed, there is no conviction. Likewise, if the charge is reduced to reckless driving, there is no conviction.
Finally, Illinois has a provision known as court supervision. A disposition of court supervision, if successfully completed, is not, for purposes of Illinois law, a conviction. 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1. (d); People v. Schuning, 106 Ill. 2d 41, 86 Ill. Dec. 922, 476 N.E.2d 423 (1985)
Illinois law clearly provides that in determining the length of a revocation following a DUI conviction, the Illinois Secretary of State is to consider out-of-state convictions. 625 ILCS 5/6-208. However, this analysis must be further refined.
When someone who holds a license issued by one state is convicted of a DUI stemming from an arrest in another state, the arresting state, if a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (“Compact”), 625 ILCS 5/1-117, is supposed to report the DUI conviction to the licensing state. In the event Illinois receives such a report, it will include that DUI conviction on the driver’s driving record.
When calculating the length of a revocation, those out-of-state convictions that the arresting state reports to Illinois will count. However, not all states are members of the Compact. Moreover, not all states are diligent about reporting DUI convictions to other states. Nonetheless, these out-of-state convictions may catch up with you in another way.
Truck drivers are required to obtain a special type of driver’s license knows as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Because most CDL holders travel through more than one state, the Federal government has stepped into CDL enforcement.
Federal regulations require that before one state may issue or renew a driver’s license, not just a CDL but any license, the state to which application is being made must undertake a search of the National Driver Registry in order to locate problem drivers (PDPS). If such a search turns up out-of-sate DUI convictions, those convictions, since they are not reported directly to Illinois, will normally not count in determining how long you will be revoked
However, there is one important exception to this rule: Because of a case known as Girard v. White, 356 Ill. App. 3d 11, 826 N.E.2d 517 (Ill. App. Ct. 2005), the Secretary of State is required to count out-of-state convictions, even those that are only identified through PDPS, in computing the number of DUI convictions in analyzing whether the lifetime ban applies. To lessen the impact of this decision, the Secretary of State has implemented an administrative rule stipulating that the lifetime ban does not apply if none of the DUI arrests that resulted in a conviction occurred after January 1, 1999. 92 Illinois Administrative Code §1001.420(o)
Without such a hearing, you will probably be unable to obtain a release of the hold that Illinois has on your ability to obtain or renew a driver’s license in another state. In short, because of Illinois law, you may be prohibited from ever holding a driver’s license again in any state.
Under 625 ILCS 5/6-208(b)(4), if you have four or more DUI convictions, you may not apply for any type of driving relief in Illinois. In fact, the Secretary of State will identify you as “NA” (“Never Again”) and will refuse even to grant you a driver’s license hearing.