Articles Posted in License Reinstatement

There are a number of DUI and traffic-related proposals currently pending in the 2018 Illinois legislature. These are a few highlights of those bills, which deserve close attention:

Traffic Ticket Fine Waiver Program

Fines, fees and costs for minor traffic offenses could be excused for a defendant who is unable to pay. Upon application, the court may convert all of the obligation to community service or partially excuse payment without condition.

Under the Illinois summary suspension law, a driver who is arrested for DUI and has not had a prior DUI disposition within 5-years is considered a ‘first offender’. This is significant because if the driver is considered a first offender, he or she faces a shorter driver’s license suspension based on whether chemical testing is failed or refused (6-months vs. 12-months). Furthermore, a first offender is automatically eligible for driving privileges during the period of the suspension through use of an MDDP.

The Secretary of State’s office is behind a new proposal now pending in the Illinois legislature that will drastically change the definition of a first offender under the Illinois DUI summary suspension law.

The new legislation would triple what has been called the 5-year look-back to a period of 15-years. This means that if the prior DUI disposition occurred within 15-years, the driver would be considered a second (or subsequent) offender and would be subject to a substantially longer period of driver’s license suspension based on whether chemical testing is failed or refused (6-months vs. 1-year for failed testing and 1-year vs. 3-years for refused testing) and would be barred from receiving automatic driving privileges during the period of suspension.

The DUI defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C., often find that many of our clients are both concerned and confused when confronted with the complex landscape of Illinois DUI law, which includes the statutory summary suspension law. As attorneys who have represented thousands of individuals charged with DUI and who are involved in the writing of DUI laws, we strive to make this complex area of the law more understandable.

In the vast majority of cases, a DUI can be broken down into two parts: the Statutory Summary Suspension of one’s driving privileges, which is a civil proceeding, and the criminal charge for Driving Under the Influence. In this post we address the first part of DUI: the Illinois Summary Suspension law.

The summary suspension law differs for those who are considered a “first-offender” and those who are not considered to be a “first offender.” Someone is considered to be a “first-offender” when he or she has not had a disposition for DUI, or a statutory summary suspension, in the five years preceding his or her current arrest. In other words, so long as one has not had a statutory summary suspension, pled guilty or been found guilty of a DUI in the five years preceding their current arrest, he or she is considered a “first-offender” for purposes of the statutory summary suspension—regardless of the number of DUIs and/or statutory summary suspensions they have had in their lifetime. If a “first-offender” submits to, and fails, chemical testing—i.e. testing of breath, blood, or urine—they face a 6-month driver’s license suspension. If a “first-offender” refuses testing, he or she faces a 12-month license suspension.

A relatively new Illinois law requires that before a driver with more than one DUI conviction can be considered for full reinstatement, he or she is first required to drive on Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) for a five-year period. Unfortunately, this requirement applies even if the person has already served the minimum period of driver’s license revocation and was eligible to be considered for full reinstatement.

The Illinois Secretary of State has chosen to apply this requirement to any person who applies for driving privileges after the effective date of the new law, January 1, 2016. Therefore, even if your DUIs occurred prior to this date, whether a month earlier or 30 years earlier, the new law applies to you.

A RDP usually can only be issued for work, school, medical reasons or for child/elder care. Therefore, a problem arises if the person is eligible for reinstatement, but is required to first drive on the RDP for five-years and has no need for any of these types of permits. A good example is the unemployed or retired person.

It may be possible to remove convictions for Illinois traffic tickets from your driving record.  By filing a “Motion to Vacate,” our attorneys are able to bring your ticket back into court and argue for a more favorable outcome (i.e. court supervision or dismissal). Under Illinois law, only criminal charges may be eligible for expungement, not traffic tickets. As a result, the only way to clear a traffic ticket conviction from your driving record, is to bring the case back in front of a judge.

We are often contacted by clients facing a license suspension for too many moving violations. A “Motion to Vacate” may be the best solution to removing the entire suspension or shortening the suspension period. An administrative hearing for driving privileges before the Secretary of State is a more complex and lengthy process. Whenever possible, a “Motion to Vacate” is the preferred course of action.

We regularly hear from CDL holders (i.e. truck drivers) that need a ticket removed from their record due to severe employment consequences, insurance increases and/or license suspension. Handling this process for a CDL holder requires a similar approach.

A driver may be required to use a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), also known as a breathalyzer, if they have been issued a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) as a result of a DUI suspension or revocation. The Illinois Secretary of State has implemented strict rules under the Administrative Code regarding BAIID violations. Violations include:

  • BrAC reading of .05 or more
  • Failing a rolling retest

It can take, on average, 10-14 weeks to receive a restricted driving permit (RDP)/hardship license from the date of your administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. There is not only a waiting period before the hearing is scheduled (for a formal hearing), but there is a waiting period to receive a decision from the Illinois Secretary of State after the hearing is held, and it takes additional time to receive the physical permit. It is a long and complex process that must be handled properly step-by-step.

In-person formal hearings are scheduled approximately 60 days after the date of request. After a formal hearing is held, the Illinois Secretary of State has 90 days to issue a decision. Decisions often do not take the full 90 days to be issued.

Drivers do not have to file a request for an informal hearing. Informal hearings are available during regular business hours on a walk-in basis. The Illinois Secretary of State does not have a time limit to issue a decision for an RDP at an informal hearing. You can expect to wait anywhere between 6-12 weeks for a decision.

Drivers under 21 years old will have their driver’s license suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State if they receive two traffic ticket convictions within a period of two years (24 months). Illinois law holds drivers younger than 21 years old to a higher standard than other drivers.

Primarily, convictions for moving violations under the Illinois Vehicle Code count toward a license suspension. The offense does not need to occur within the State of Illinois. Out-of-state traffic tickets received by the driver may also be reported back to Illinois and used by the Secretary of State to impose a license suspension.

It is important to note that the Illinois Secretary of State uses the date the traffic ticket was issued, not the date that the conviction was entered to determine if the offenses occurred within the 24-month time period.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State, traffic tickets for moving violations will stay on your Illinois driving record for four to five years from the date of conviction. Moving violations include offenses such as speeding, disobeying a stop sign, disobeying a traffic control light, and improper lane usage.  The Secretary of State generally  removes these offenses at their discretion during that timeframe.

Traffic tickets that result in a suspension or revocation will stay on your driving record for at least seven years from the date of license reinstatement. Convictions for alcohol and drug-related offenses (i.e. DUI) will permanently stay on your Illinois driving record.

Only court supervision or a dismissal will prevent a traffic ticket from showing up on your public driving record in Illinois. Convictions not only count toward the suspension of your driver’s license, but can significantly effect insurance premiums. An Illinois traffic attorney can often increase the chances of keeping your driving record clean. Contact The Davis Law Group, P.C. if you have received an Illinois traffic citation.

The Illinois Secretary of State uses a unique system to determine driver’s license suspensions and revocations based on the number of moving violations and a point system. A driver 21 years of age or older will have their license suspended if they receive three moving violation convictions within a 12 months period, while a driver under the age of 21 will have their license suspended if they receive two moving violation convictions within a twenty-four month period.

Every moving violation is assigned a specific number of points. Once a driver reaches the number of convictions outlined above, the Secretary of State will use the total number of points accumulated to determine the duration of suspension or revocation.

For those 21 or older, if you have three convictions for traffic violations within a 12-month period your Illinois driver’s license will be suspended as follows:

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