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:

In order to stop a vehicle, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is committing a violation of Illinois law. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that law enforcement have specific and articulable facts that a crime has been committed, or is about to be committed, to justify the stop of a vehicle. An exception to this requirement is known as the community caretaking function, which allows a police officer to investigate if the driver appears to be in need of assistance.

Of course, there are a wide variety of offenses that can justify a vehicle stop. In DUI cases, the officer does not need to have a basis to believe that the driver is under the influence at the time of the stop. Minor moving violations or even equipment violations (i.e. a burnt out taillight or cracked windshield) are valid grounds to stop a vehicle. Most Illinois DUI investigations will begin with an allegation of improper lane usage, speeding or other common moving violations under the Illinois Vehicle Code.

When conducting an Illinois DUI arrest, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that a driver is under the influence. Probable cause is a higher standard than the reasonable suspicion necessary to stop a vehicle. Once a police officer has stopped a vehicle, that officer must be able to articulate specific facts supporting a belief that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, medical cannabis, or another intoxicating compound in order to arrest the person for DUI. This can be based on factors relating to the driver’s speech, appearance, and odor. Specifically, officers will often point to sign of impairment including bloodshot and/or glassy eyes, slurred speech, soiled clothing, unusual actions, inconsistent responses and the odor of alcohol and/or marijuana.

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.

Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a decline in DUI throughout the United States. In 2014, the latest year for which data was available, the rate of drunken driving hit a 13-year low. 11.1% of Americans 16 years and older told interviewers that they had driven under the influence of alcohol within the past year, compared to 15.3% in 2002.

Despite the decline in DUI, according to the NHTSA, 10,265 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol impaired motorists in 2015. Statistics also show that American drivers are on the road more than in previous years.

Young adults, especially men ages 21-25 had the highest rates of driving under the influence. More than 1 in 5 of these men drove under the influence of alcohol in 2014 and almost 1 in 7 drove under the influence of drugs. However, young adults have also seen the greatest reduction over the past 13 years, a drop of more than 10% for drivers 21-25 and a drop of more than half for drivers 16-20.

The number of speeding tickets issued by Illinois State Police troopers has dropped significantly over the past 5 years according to a report by the State-Journal Register. The number of speeding tickets decreased by 40% from 211,857 in 2010 to 126,959 in 2015. In 2016, it is estimated that the Illinois State Police will issue approximately 104,000 speeding tickets.

The article analyzed data through Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act.

While the number of speeding tickets has declined, the number of traffic fatalities is up from 5 years ago. For the first time since 2008, the number of traffic fatalities in Illinois has surpassed 1,000. However, the number of fatalities is significantly lower than 15 years ago. In 2001, there were 1,414 fatalities and in the 1970’s, the numbers were typically around 2,000.

A  Portable Breath Test (PBT) is commonly used by police officers in the field to establish probable cause to arrest a driver for DUI. Recent Illinois caselaw says that a driver must have a choice to take or refuse a PBT. The driver must provide some form of consent prior to taking a PBT. Although the officer is not required to inform the driver that he or she may refuse the breath test, the driver must have a reasonable opportunity to do so.

In People v. Taylor (2016 IL App (2d) 150634), the defendant was given less than 2 seconds after being told “what I want you to do is take a deep breath and blow…” to question what he was being told by the officer before the officer placed the device at a minimum within 1-2 inches of the driver’s mouth. In fact, the officer testified that he placed the stem of the device directly in the driver’s mouth. The Court found that this did not present the driver with a reasonable opportunity to refuse the test. As a result, the court suppressed the result of the PBT based on noncompliance with the PBT statute.

While a portable breath test may be used to establish probable cause, a PBT result is not admissible evidence at trial. It should be noted that additional procedures must be followed for the use of an evidentiary breath test offered at the police station, which may be admissible at trial.

“Second chance probation” is a sentence in Illinois that allows certain offenders to clear a conviction from their record after serving at least two-years of probation (730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.4). This law, which became effective January 1, 2014, allows the court to sentence the defendant to probation without entering a judgement. Those who have previously been convicted (i.e. probation or conditional discharge) of any felony offense are not eligible for this sentence. In addition, this sentence is not available for violent offenders or defendants who have previously plead guilty or who have been found guilty of a violent offense. Second Chance Probation may be offered to defendants charged with certain probationable felony offenses such as possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, theft, retail theft, and criminal damage to property.

When a defendant is sentenced to Second Chance Probation, the court will order a minimum period of 24-months probation and defer any further proceedings. Defendants sentenced to Second Chance Probation, in addition to other conditions, may not violate any criminal statute, may not possess a firearm, must make restitution if required, must obtain or attempt to obtain employment, must pay fines and costs, must attend educational courses, must submit to periodic drug testing, and must perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service.

If successful, the court will discharge the defendant and dismiss the proceedings. The defendant may be eligible for expungement of the arrest after 5 years.

Illinois law allows drivers relocating to Illinois to drive on their valid driver’s license from their home country or state for ninety (90) days. CDL holders have a reduced window of thirty (30) days to obtain an Illinois CDL. “International driver’s licenses” are not valid in the State of Illinois. International driving permits are issued by the driver’s home country and simply translate the foreign license to make it easier for United State’s officials to read. However, international driving permits still fall under the same rules as foreign driver’s licenses and are only valid for ninety (90) days.

Students at Illinois colleges and universities are allowed to drive on a valid driver’s license from their country or home state while enrolled in school. This is also true for the spouse and/or children of students.

International students who wish to obtain an Illinois driver’s license may be eligible to do so. Students with a valid social security number may apply for an Illinois driver’s license. Students without social security numbers may apply for a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License (TVDL). TVDLs are issued by the Illinois Secretary of State to those persons unable to obtain a social security number. It is important to note that TVDLs cannot be used for identification purposes.

The Chicago Police Department’s “DUI Strike Force” will be patrolling Wrigleyville and Boystown from 7 P.M. on August 19 through 3 A.M. on August 20. According to the news release put out by the Chicago Police Department, the purpose of the “DUI Strike Force” is to “saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving.” The force will also focus on speeding and seatbelt violations. There will be a mobile unit on-hand to conduct Breath Alcohol Tests to speed up the arrests.

If you are charged with DUI in Chicago, your case will likely be heard at the Daley Center Courthouse. Illinois DUI law is extremely complex and it is best you consult an experienced DUI attorney for help with your case. Feel free to contact our firm if you require legal assistance for DUI, or any other criminal offense.

Police Will Be Patrolling Wrigleyville For DUIS This Weekend, August 18, 2016, www.chicagoist.com

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