This manual is designed to help attorneys who have clients whose driver's licenses have been suspended or revoked. It goes through many sections of the Illinois Drivers License Law, 625 ILCS 5/Ch. 6. It covers safety responsibility law, reciprocity, uninsured vehicles, DUIs, SOS hearings, and types of relief.
If a client’s license is revoked or suspended, and the client does not know the nature of the revocation or suspension, a Driving Abstract may be obtained from the Secretary of State (SOS) by filling out the Driving Record Abstract Request Form. There is a $12 fee to get a Driving Abstract. The client may mail the form (see application for instruction) or deliver the form to a driver service facility. If the form is mailed, the client will receive the driving record within 10 days. If delivered in person, the driver will receive the record the same day. If a record is requested on behalf of the client, it will take 11 to 15 days if mailed, and 10 days if delivered in person.
This section involves revocation for conviction of certain offenses such as the following:
- Use of a motor vehicle in a felony
- Conviction of 3 reckless driving charges within 12 months
- Operation or control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug or intoxicating substance
- Leaving or fleeing an accident involving injury or death
- Drag racing
- Assault with a motor vehicle or other serious offenses
Any report of the listed offenses will result in an immediate administrative revocation by the SOS. The driver can contest the revocation through an administrative hearing.
If the client can show a hardship, a restricted driving permit may be issued for some offenses, but the revocation may not be reduced or modified. Persons convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) may be required to satisfy additional conditions to receive a restricted driving permit. Revocation by the SOS is immediate upon notice of conviction. Special provisions apply to a person under 21 years of age who is convicted of offenses under 625 ILCS 5/6-205(d). Offenses, length of mandatory revocation, and suspension and reinstatement requirements are listed in the index.
Upon notice from a municipality that an owner of a registered vehicle has failed to pay a fine or penalty resulting from 10 or more "standing,” parking, or compliance violations; 5 or more automated speed or traffic violations or a combination of the two; or driver is more than 14 days in default of a payment plan, the SOS must notify the owner of the intent to suspend privileges. Suspension will occur automatically unless the owner pays the fines to the municipality OR the owner requests a hearing in writing to the SOS with a payment of $20. The hearing will be limited to the issue of whether the municipality informed the driver of the tickets.
This section involves numerous lesser offenses for which a driver may have a license suspended or revoked. The SOS will notify the driver of any suspensions or revocations by U.S. mail.
Professional driving privileges may be retained if the conviction falls under §5/6-206 (3 moving offenses within 12 months) after an affidavit is completed and the appropriate fee is paid. The affidavit must be completed prior to the effective date of the suspension. These offenses, the length of suspension and reinstatement requirements are listed in the index.
The period may be reduced for good cause, considering:
- Prior revocation or suspension
- Seriousness of the offense(s)
- Whether the person can demonstrate that there is a low risk for repeating the offense in the future
- Typically, reductions require extraordinary circumstances
Reinstatement is not automatic and must be applied for on a form supplied by the SOS.
- A driver is eligible to apply for reinstatement upon completion of the suspension period and payment of reinstatement fee upon removal of the cause for revocation.
- Reinstatement for revocation will occur only after a hearing and a determination by the SOS that the driver will not endanger the public welfare.
- In many cases, a revoked driver is eligible to apply for reinstatement one year from the effective date of revocation except for a second arrest and conviction of DUI, leaving the scene of a reckless homicide, or a second accident involving death or bodily injury. In these cases the mandatory revocation period is three years and upon a third conviction, six years.
- A driver under the age of 21 whose license is revoked for DUI will be eligible after a period of one year to apply for a restricted driver’s permit only. One year from this date the driver may apply for a full license. This may be granted or the SOS may extend the restricted permit for an additional 12 month period until the driver is 21.
- The Fee for reinstating a driver’s license varies from $70 to $500 based on the reason for the suspension. If unsure of the fee, consult the SOS basic fee schedule.
Safety responsibility law
Upon notification of a determination that an accident occurred involving bodily injury or death and/or property damage in excess of $500 and where no insurance is indicated in the accident report, the State may require that security be paid by the operator or owner of vehicle involved in the accident 625 ILCS 5/7-201. With some exceptions under 625 ILCS 5/7-202, if security is not paid and there is a reasonable likelihood that a civil judgment could be entered, the SOS must inform the owner and operator of the vehicle that the license will be suspended within 45 days of date of mailing the notice unless either security or liability insurance is paid. The security will not be less than $500. No driving relief is available but a hearing may be requested to contest the preliminary finding, amount of damage assessed or for exoneration if the client is not actually guilty of the violation.
The client may be reinstated by proving any of the following:
- Release from liability (covenant not to sue) (625 ILCS 5/7-207)
- Adjudication of non-liability (625 ILCS 5/7-208)
- Installment agreement to pay the agreed amount of damages (625 ILCS 5/7-208)
- Proof of payment of judgment, or payment of maximum statutory security deposit (625 ILCS 5/7-209)
- Notice of Bankruptcy
- Letter from an insurance company confirming coverage of both the owner and operator at time of accident
Reinstatement for Safety Responsibility Suspension costs $70 (625 ILCS 5/7-317)
Duration of suspension
If the client has not reinstated, the client may prove to the SOS by affidavit that: (1) two years have passed since the date the driver's license and registration were suspended and that no claim has been filed; or (2) if a claim has been filed, the claim has been satisfied. The client may also terminate a suspension after 5 years if the SOS has not received documentation that any action has been filed.
If the driving privileges of an Illinois resident are suspended in some other state under circumstances relating to an auto accident and if the circumstances would require suspension in Illinois, the SOS will suspend the Illinois license until the resident supplies proof of compliance with the law of the other state.
Proof of financial responsibility for the future
625 ILCS 5/7-301
"Proof of responsibility for the future" is required prior to reinstatement of persons whose license or driving privileges have been revoked or suspended following a safety responsibility suspension, unsatisfied judgment suspension, mandatory or discretionary revocation and mandatory insurance suspension. Financial Responsibility Insurance is commonly referred to as “SR-22”. It must be sent to the secretary of state by the driver’s insurance company and maintained for 3 years. NOTE: An out of state resident is not required to provide “SR-22” if insurance is held in the new state. (625 ILCS 5/7-316.1)
Unsatisfied judgment suspension
Driver's licenses, registration, stickers and plates may be suspended for failure to satisfy final judgment resulting from a motor vehicle accident.
Termination of suspension
- Proof of satisfied judgment (625 ILCS 5/7-309)
- Vacation of judgment may be provided if entered ex-parte
- Showing that 7 years have passed and judgment has not been revived (certified copy of court docket or half-sheet will suffice) 735 ILCS 5/12-108 Note: if the judgment is more than 20 years old, the SOS may terminate a suspension without proof of satisfaction of judgment or proof of financial responsibility (625 ILCS 5/7-309)
Discharge of judgment
- Judgment is deemed satisfied for termination of suspension when payments credited to debtor have reached the following amounts:
- $25,000 for injury or death to one person
- $50,000 for injury or death to 2 or more persons
- Property damage payments in the amount or $20,000 (§5/7-311)
- Installment payment schedule set by trial court is acceptable under ILCS 5/7-312 but where the payment agreement is breached, a suspension will occur.
Family financial responsibility law
License may be suspended for non-payment of child support where the obligor is more than 90 days delinquent. There must be an adjudication of arrears and a finding of contempt by court or certification by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).
Driving relief available
Since the intent of the law is to obtain support, an obligor may obtain a permit to drive to work, to medical appointments or drug treatment for self or family. The obligor must prove to the satisfaction of the court that no alternative means of transportation are reasonably available. No family financial responsibility driving permit may be issued for operation of a commercial motor vehicle.
Termination of suspension
The SOS will require a form report from the circuit court clerk or HFS that the obligor has complied with the order of support before the license will be restored. Reinstatement after a Family Responsibility Suspension will cost $70.
A driver may request a formal hearing with the secretary of state under 625 ILCS 5/2-118. The scope of hearing will be limited to:
- Whether the driver is the actual obligor
- Whether the obligor is 90 days delinquent and in contempt
- Whether a superseding order of support has been entered
An obligor may request a hearing in court to contest the claim of non-compliance with a support order and suspension of driver's license. The hearing will be limited to:
- Whether obligor is required to pay child support
- Whether obligor is 90 days delinquent
- The reasonableness of a payment plan based on obligor's current financial situation
Operation of uninsured vehicle
- Any person who fails to produce proof of adequate insurance to an officer of law when it is requested is "deemed to be operating an uninsured vehicle".
- If person has insurance and produces proof in court that at the time of the stop the vehicle was insured, a conviction will not occur.
- If person has no insurance, driver may be sentenced to court supervision or convicted.
- A supervision will result in a fine of $100 and proof of insurance at the end of the supervision period 625 ILCS 5/3-707(c-5).
- A conviction results in a fine of $500 to $1000. A 3 month driver’s license suspension will be imposed which may be extended for an additional 6 months if the driver is convicted of a second offense while the first offense is in effect 625 ILCS 5/3-707(c-1).
A reinstatement fee of $100 is required following a conviction. Three year financial responsibility insurance is required following a third or subsequent conviction before a driver’s license is reinstated. 625 ILCS 5/3-707(d).
Driving under the influence of drugs / alcohol (DUI)
- Driving under the influence of drugs and / or alcohol is prohibited. The legal limit of alcohol in Illinois is .08. The police will request a breath, urine, blood or field sobriety test. This is the implied consent law 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1.
- Most convictions under this statute are a Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail) and have additional penalties under this section if party was transporting a minor under the age of 16.
- For every second offense, in addition to the misdemeanor penalties, a person convicted will be mandatorily sentenced to a minimum of 5 days imprisonment or 240 hours of community service with an additional penalty.
- If the person was transporting a minor under the age of 16, person is subject to 6 months imprisonment, a mandatory additional penalty of $1000 and 25 days community service.
- After a finding of guilt but before sentencing, a professional evaluation of the extent of the driver's substance abuse will be made. The cost will be paid by the individual evaluated.
- The evaluation is the most important evidence in any hearing concerning the client's driver's license and must be done well. Deficiencies in the content of the evaluation, whether due to the negligence of the petitioner in giving sufficient information to the evaluator or in the way in which the evaluation was written, may result in denial of a petition to reinstate. For example, copies of previous recommendations and issues raised in earlier hearings must be addressed in the evaluation. Evaluation must be on a proper form and completed by a state-qualified examiner. The evaluation must have been completed within 6 months of the hearing date. If at all possible, the client should have an attorney examine the evaluation to make sure it is sufficient. If possible, an attorney should represent the client at the hearing. A current evaluation will also be needed if the client applies for a judicial driving permit.
Aggravated Driving Under the Influence (Agg. DUI)
Aggravated DUI is a felony. A driver convicted of committing the following is in violation of Agg. DUI:
- A third or subsequent DUI
- DUI while driving a school bus with one or more persons on board
- DUI involving a motor vehicle accident that resulted in great bodily harm
- A second DUI if the driver has been previously convicted of reckless homicide involving alcohol or drugs
- DUI involving a motor vehicle accident in a school speed zone
- DUI that resulted in death of another person
- DUI while not possessing a driver’s license or restricted driving permit or monitoring device driving permit
- A second DUI while transporting a person under the age of 16
Statutory summary suspension
Summary suspension periods are as follows:
- 6 months- Driver took the test but failed (over .08 alcohol or drugs in blood or urine)
- 1 year- Driver refused to take test and there was no accident resulting in personal injury or death of another
- 1 year- Driver took the test but failed and is not a first time offender
- 3 years- Driver refused to take the test and is not a first time offender
The arresting officer must take the actual driver's license and give a notice of statutory suspension and a receipt in exchange. The receipt will allow the driver to drive for 46 days and on the 46th day after the notice was given, the suspension automatically takes effect. Confirmation of suspension is sent to driver. The arresting officer must warn the driver that refusal to submit to the test will result in a summary suspension.
Special rules apply if the driver was under 21 years of age. No amount of drugs or alcohol is allowed in an underage driver's system (zero tolerance). See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.8 for suspension information. Restoration of license is covered by 625 ILCS 5/6-208.2.
Driver is eligible for reinstatement after the summary suspension period and payment of the reinstatement fee which ranges from $250 to $500.
Statutory summary revocation
A driver arrested for DUI involving an accident that caused personal injury or death to another must submit to testing; refusal will result in the revocation of the driver’s license.
Reinstatement after a revocation can only be made through an administrative formal hearing with the SOS after a year and showing proof of financial responsibility and payment of reinstatement fee.
Opportunity for hearing (motion to rescind)
Driver may file a motion in court to rescind the summary suspension or revocation. The SOS must notify driver of a right to a court hearing if a written request for hearing is filed within 90 days after the service of notice of summary suspension or revocation. The scope of hearing will be limited to the following:
- Whether person was in fact arrested for DUI
- Whether officer had reasonable cause to believe that the person arrested was in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Whether the person refused to submit to test after being informed of rights, or the test, if taken, showed blood alcohol content of 0.08 or above
- Whether the person was warned by the officer that his or her license will be suspended or revoked if the person refused to submit to the test
- If license was revoked, whether person was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in personal injury or death of another
Hearings may be formal or informal. The type of hearing required is listed in the index along with the violation.
In a drug-or alcohol-related case, a hearing officer will speak to petitioner at selected offices. The officer will inform the petitioner what is needed to get the license back, and officer will give petitioner the necessary forms. This is a recommended prerequisite to both formal and informal hearings.
These conferences are a creation of the SOS and not the statute. The hearing takes place at the local SOS facility and does not usually require an appointment. A petitioner may submit proof and the hearing officer will examine the proof and interview the petitioner. Counsel may represent the client. The hearing officer forwards a recommendation to the SOS. Unless the denial states otherwise, the petitioner is entitled to another hearing in 30 days.
Similar to an informal hearing but SOS attorney presents evidence and may cross-examine the petitioner and witnesses. The petitioner is entitled to due process but the technical rules of evidence do not apply. Petitioner must show by clear and convincing evidence that relief should be granted. The request for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the facility where the hearing will be held. Any adverse decision may be appealed to the circuit court.
Driving Relief: DUI, Non-DUI
A driver whose license is suspended or revoked and is not eligible for reinstatement may apply for a driving permit. The different types of driving permits are listed and described below. NOTE: This permit is generally known by the public as a "hardship license".
Restricted Driving Permit [RDP]
Every offender whose driving privileges are suspended or revoked is eligible for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) subject to the limitations listed below. An RDP is issued for limited driving for employment, educational or medical care for driver or driver’s household member and for alcohol treatment for driver. The RDP will state the days and hours that client may drive.
General RDP requirements
For an RDP application to be approved, driver must show or agree to the following:
- Driver is not a danger to the public
- No alternative means of transportation is available
- Denial of RDP will pose undue hardship on driver, i.e. driver is the sole household provider
- Complete employment verification for employment RDP or a SOS affidavit for other purpose
- Pay $8 RDP fee (NOTE: Other fees may apply depending on the suspension)
- SOS may cancel, suspend or revoke an RDP for violation of any traffic law
- SOS may require traffic school or other driver remedial program as a condition for RDP
RDP and DUI
In addition to the above requirements, a driver whose license is suspended or revoked for DUI is subject to the following requirements:
- Driver must request a formal hearing from the Secretary of State, Dept. of Administrative Hearing (Fee: $50).
- Driver must submit a current alcohol/drug evaluation report. The report or updated report must not be more than 6 months old. In addition, driver must provide proof of alcohol/drug treatment.
- For a second or subsequent DUI license revocation, driver must wait one year from date of revocation to apply for RDP [625 ILCS 5/6-206(c)(3)(E)].
- For a second transportation of alcohol suspension, a driver under age 21 must wait 6 months from date of suspension to apply for RDP.
- For a second or subsequent alcohol related suspension or revocation (DUI; Statutory Summary Suspension/Revocation) or a suspension due to reckless homicide, driver must have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in vehicle. A BAIID fee of $240 is required, in addition to the $8 RDP fee [625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(2); §5/6-206(d)(2)].
NOTE: a) It is a crime to tamper with an ignition interlock device or to solicit another person to blow into the device. b) BAIID is not required if the client drives his employer owned vehicle.
Disqualification for RDP
- Second or subsequent reckless homicide suspension
- A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder for operation of a commercial vehicle [625 ILCS 5/6-206(f); 6-205(j)]
- Anyone under age 16 [625 ILCS 5/6-206(e); §5/6-206(g)]
- No RDP during period of statutory summary suspension for a second or subsequent suspension [625 ILCS 5/6-208.1(g)]
- Under 21 driver must wait a year from date of second or subsequent suspension to apply for RDP [625 ILCS 5/6-208.2(f)]
- Fourth or subsequent DUI violation, reckless homicide or accident involving personal injury or death or combination of these offenses. [625 ILCS 5/6-206(c)(3)]
Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP)
Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) is not restricted for employment, medical or educational purposes. Driver may drive at any time and for any purpose. With MDDP, a BAIID is installed in the vehicle to monitor the driver. It requires the driver to pass a breath alcohol test before the ignition will engage and start the vehicle. The SOS will send notice to driver on how to apply for MDDP and right to decline MDDP in court.
Statutory summary suspension periods
- 6 months: Driver took alcohol or drug test and failed (over .08 or drugs)
- 1 year: Driver refused to take test and there was no accident resulting in personal injury or death of another
- 1 year: Driver failed test and is not a first time DUI offender
- 3 years: Refused test and client is not a first time offender
- Driver must be a first time DUI offender and apply to SOS during the period of statutory summary suspension.
- Driver is 18 years or older.
- An ignition interlock device must be installed within 14 days of issuance of MDDP by SOS. The ignition interlock device installer must notify SOS of installation otherwise the MDDP may be cancelled.
- MDDP is effective 31 days after the statutory summary suspension.
- An indigent client may apply for ignition interlock device installation fee waiver in court.
Disqualification for MDDP
- The person’s driver’s license was invalid at the time of the DUI arrest.
- The DUI resulted in death or great bodily harm
- Person has a previous conviction for reckless homicide.
- Driver is under 18 years old.
- The MDDP may be cancelled by SOS if client is issued a traffic citation during the term of the MDDP. If MDDP is cancelled for driving on a suspended license or DUI, then client’s license will not be reinstated upon termination of statutory summary suspension. Instead, client may only apply for a Restricted Driving Permit and drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.
- The SOS may extend statutory summary suspension for an additional 3 months for violation of MDDP requirements. Any third extension for this violation may result in a vehicle impound for 30 days. A fourth extension may result in vehicle forfeiture.
- Driver cannot drive a commercial vehicle requiring a CDL with MDDP.
Exemptions: If client must drive an employer owned vehicle as part of his employment, client may seek permission from SOS to drive such vehicle without an ignition interlock device. [625 ILCS 5/6-206.1(a-2)]
NOTE: a) This exemption does not apply for driving school bus, school vehicle or vehicle used to transport more than 15 passengers; b) Driver cannot use this exemption if the company is owned by client or his or her family member; c) Exempted vehicle may not be driven for more than 12 hours per day, 6 days per week.
Family financial responsibility driving permit
A person’s driver’s license may be suspended for delinquent child support. The court that ordered the suspension may order the SOS to issue this driving permit. The permit is issued only for limited driving for employment and for alcohol, drug or medical treatment. It will state the days and hours that client may drive.
- No alternative means of transportation
- Driver’s license must be valid prior to the suspension
- Pay $8 permit fee
- No permit for operating a commercial vehicle
- Driver must be above 16 years old
A probationary license may be issued where a person’s driver’s license is suspended for 3 or more moving violations in a 12 month period; driving without a license or driving outside the license classification. Driver’s license must be otherwise valid and driver must be 21 years or older. Generally, the license is issued as part of a defensive driving course.
Updated: June 2017