Articles Posted in License Reinstatement

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.

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:

If you fail to pay fines or court costs for a traffic ticket, the court may request that the Illinois Secretary of State to place a hold on your driver’s license which would prevent you from renewing an expired license or obtaining a license for the first time. This hold is also referred to as a “Failure to Pay Stop”. Technically, it is not a license suspension. In order to clear your driver’s license, you must satisfy the amount due to the court and/or file a motion to reopen the case.

You may attempt to contact the specific courthouse where the ticket is assigned by phone to determine the amount owed and your payment options. However, it may be beneficial to appear in-person at the Clerk’s Office located within the courthouse to obtain this information.

Once you pay the amount owed on the traffic ticket, you should obtain a Failure to Pay Fines Receipt for the Illinois Secretary of State. This receipt should be submitted to the Secretary of State either in-person or by mail. You may rely on the courthouse to notify the Secretary of State, but this can take additional time. However, in Cook County, the Clerk’s Office will notify the Secretary of State electronically and you do not need obtain and submit the paperwork yourself. Once it is processed by the Secretary of State, the hold will come off of your driving record.

If you failed to appear in court or respond to a traffic ticket within the required timeframe, the court may direct the Illinois Secretary of State to suspend your driver’s license. The type of suspension is referred to as a “Failure to Appear” suspension or as an “09” suspension (625 ILCS 5/6-6-306.3). In order to reinstate your driver’s license, you must resolve the traffic ticket, provide proof to the Illinois Secretary of State, and pay a reinstatement fee.

Often, resolving the old ticket will require you, or your attorney, to file a motion with the court. The case will have to be brought back into court, where you will appear in front of a judge. Every county and courthouse has rules and procedures that must be followed. Often, it is beneficial to hire legal representation to ensure that the process is handled properly and efficiently. Depending on how long ago the traffic ticket was issued, the file may even need to be ordered by the Clerk.  Also, your motion may need to be filed days or weeks in advance of seeing the judge. As a result, the process may require multiple court appearances. An attorney familiar with the specific courthouse will be able to guide you through the process and handle many of the necessary steps on your behalf.

After the case is resolved, the Clerk’s Office may provide you with a certified transcript or receipt acknowledging the disposition of the case. This document should be submitted to the Illinois Secretary of State to ensure proper removal of the Failure to Appear suspension. In addition, the Secretary of State will require the payment of a reinstatement fee.

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I wanted to let you know that I finally got my license back today. I want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. You did an amazing job and helped another person turn their life around. I will forever be indebted. Rest assured that I will refer anybody that I hear is in trouble to you guys. Thank you again. All the best.
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I want to extend my sincere gratitude for the success in getting my charges reduced. It has been a rather traumatic experience for me. Though I try to keep an optimistic outlook, it didn't seem possible. But you guys pulled it off and I couldn't be more grateful. This has been a great weight lifted off my shoulders. D.F.
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I would like to take this time to thank you for a job well done. I received my full reinstatement documents today for full driving privileges. This took me by surprise. I did not expect to see the results this fast. I just want to say that I am blessed to have a very good lawyer like yourself to guide me through the process... I am very grateful. You're the best. Thanks again. G.B.
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My special thanks for your help, guidance, and support during a most difficult time. You came recommended as "the best" and you lived up to your reputation! I wish you a lovely holiday season and a new year of challenges overcome, new joys experienced, and much fulfillment realized. All good thoughts your way. S.S.
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I am very grateful for your work and representation. Although it is difficult for me to truly express my gratitude through e-mail, I hope you can still understand how thankful I am that we were able to dismiss my case on the first court date. I am very pleased with the outcome. Again, thank you very much for your time. Please enjoy the rest of your week. D.K.
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