Regardless of a driver’s age, anyone in Illinois charged with Driving Under the Influence (or DUI,DWI or drunk driving-it all means the same thing) is facing some potentially serious legal consequences. Those become more severe as the number of prior offenses mount. And for someone who is under 21 at the time of the offense, even a first offense has the potential to create serious driver’s license consequences under Illinois law.
The first DUI charge is a class-A misdemeanor that may result in a fine of up to $2,500. Furthermore, in addition to, or instead of a fine, the judge may impose a sentence of up to 364 days in the county jail. 625 ILCS 5/11-501
Aggravating factors, such as a death or serious injury, can boost even a first offense to the felony level and three to seven years in prison. In the case of death, the court may impose imprisonment terms of up to fourteen years under felony enhancement provisions.
A second but related issue involves driver’s license suspensions and revocations. A suspension is a less severe sanction to the extent that once the period of time under the suspension is over, your license is automatically restored upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided your license is otherwise valid.
A conviction for DUI will result in a revocation of your driving privileges so even if the statutory summary suspension period is over, payment of the reinstatement fee will not validate your driving privileges. Instead, following a driver’s license revocation, you must have an administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.
If you are convicted of DUI on one occasion, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year. In many instances, the first conviction is not the first time you will have been charged with DUI, as often the first charge results in court supervision, which doe not count as an arrest.
After the revocation period ends, you may apply for full driving privileges. But the chances are good that the Secretary of State will only grant you a restricted driving permit (RDP) for a period of 9-12 months before reinstating your privileges.
You are not required to wait a full year to apply for an RDP but can do so during the one year revocation period provided that this is your first conviction, that you can prove not having driving privileges is causing undue hardship, that you can be a safe and responsible driver and that you are over 21. In the event you are under 21, you will be looking at a revocation for two years even for a first offense, and during the first year, you cannot apply for any relief, even restricted. During the second year, you can apply only for an RDP.
Anybody, regardless of age, who has a second DUI conviction less than twenty years before the first conviction, suffers a revocation for five years. There is no driving relief available during the first year. During the second through fifth years of the revocation, you may apply for an RDP upon showing undue hardship and proving you can be a safe and responsible driver.
For a third conviction, the revocation is ten years. As is the case with a second conviction a third conviction means no driving during the first year and restricted driving during years two through ten.
Kendall County woman challenges aggravated DUI law June 1, 2012, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg
Choosing an Illinois Driver’s License Reinstatement Lawyer July 22, 2010, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg