As concerns Illinois DUI offenses, the Secretary of State (“SOS”) serves two functions, one as record keeper and the other as determining whether someone who has been arrested for DUI can be a safe and responsible driver following an Illinois driver’s license suspension or revocation. 625 ILCS 5/2-118
A DUI arrest can result in a suspension or a revocation, or both, or neither. A suspension constitutes a “pause” in your right to drive for a period of time. Once that period of time ends, your right to drive is restored, provided there is not something else blocking that right.
In DUI cases, a revocation may create that roadblock. A revocation terminates your driver’s license and your right to drive in Illinois.
A revocation can only be removed by applying to the Secretary of State and demonstrating that, despite your DUI, you can now be considered safe to drive. The right to request that restoration only comes after a waiting period of one year, five years or ten years.
The waiting period is one year for a first conviction, five years for a second conviction that comes less than twenty years after a first conviction and ten years for a third conviction. Court supervision is not a conviction.
A driver’s license suspension happens when you are arrested for DUI and are asked to take a test and either register a blood alcohol level of at least .08 or refuse to test. The suspension period for a refusal is longer than it is for testing.
And the suspension is always longer if you have had a DUI arrest in the past five years, regardless of whether you test over .08 or refuse. People with a DUI in the previous five years are known a non-first offenders.
During the suspension, a first offender is eligible for an automatic driving permit knows as a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). Agree to pay for and install a breath machine in your car and you are entitled to drive whenever and wherever you want after a waiting period of thirty days. 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1
A first offender who is convicted of the DUI and suffers a driver’s license revocation is entitled to apply to the SOS for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) while the waiting period is in effect. The RDP allows driving only for limited purposes, days, hours and distances. An ignition interlock device (BAIID) may be required.
During the suspension, a non first offender cannot obtain any type of driving relief, not even a work permit. Once the suspension is over, the non first offender can usually apply for an RDP.
Anyone granted either an MDDP or an RDP is subject to SOS monitoring. Each blow is recorded and provided to the SOS.
if the SOS receives a blow that appears to be a violation of the program (readings of .05 or higher, for instance), he sends you a letter requesting an explanation. One common explanation is that someone other than the DUI offender blew the high reading.
Provided that the other person provides a letter acknowledging that they blew, the SOS will accept the explanation once. The SOS has proposed legislation that will require the interlock device to have a camera that will photograph the person who blows. This bill is likely to become law.