Illinois Drivers Licenses

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Author: Revisions Contributed by Bernard Okitipi, CARPLS; Recent Revisions (2015) by Jacqueline Lakes
Last updated: August 2015

Revocation and Suspension

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 deliver the form to a Driver Service Facility or mail the form to:

Secretary of State, Driver Analysis Section
2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy.
Springfield, IL 62723

If the client mails the form, they will receive the driving record within 10 working 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 you visit a Driver Services facility. If you mail the request then it will take at least 10 working days to process.

For more information, call 217-782-2720.

Mandatory Revocation

625 ILSC 5/6-205

This section involves revocation for conviction of certain offenses such as the following:

  • Use of a motor vehicle in a felony
  • 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 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 a client can show 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)

Mandatory Suspension

625 ILCS 5/6-306.5

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.

Discretionary Authority

625 ILCS 5/6-206

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 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. 

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

625 ILCS 5/6-208

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. Exceptions include: 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 drivers license varies from $70 to $500 based on the reason for the suspension. If unsure of the fee, consult the SOS basic fee schedule.

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Safety Responsibility Law

Suspension and Security

625 ILCS 5/7-205

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 (5/7-201). With some exceptions under 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 paid 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.

Reinstatement

A suspension due to security may be reinstated by proving any of the following:

Reinstatement for Safety Responsibility Suspension costs $70 (625 ILCS 5/7 - 317)

Duration of Suspension

625 ILCS 5/7-211

If the client's license has not been 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 license may also be reinstated after 5 years if the SOS has not received documentation that any action has been filed.

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Reciprocity

625 ILCS 5/7-216

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.

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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 SOS 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 he or she has insurance in the new state. 

Unsatisfied Judgment Suspension

625 ILCS 5/7-303

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

Suspension due to an unsatisfied judgement will remain in effect until:

  • 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) 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 

Discharge of Judgment

625 ILCS 5/7-311

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
  • $45,000 for injury or death to 2 or more persons
  • Property damage payments in the amount or $20,000 

Installment payment schedule set by trial court is acceptable under 625 ILCS 5/7-312 but where the payment agreement is breached, a suspension will occur.

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Family Financial Responsibility Law

625 ILCS 5/7-702

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

625 ILCS 5/7-702.1

Since the intent of the Family Financial Responsibility Law is to obtain support, an obligor may obtain a permit to drive to work, medical appointments, or drug treatment for themself 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

625 ILCS 5/7-704

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.

Administrative Hearing

625 ILCS 5/7-706

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

Court Hearing

625 ILCS 5/7-706.1

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

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Operation of Uninsured Vehicle

625 ILCS 5/3-707

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 convinction will not occur.  If person has no insurance, the 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. 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.

Reinstatement

625 ILCS 5/3 - 707

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. 

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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs / Alcohol (DUI)

625 ILCS 5/11-501

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. The statute provides for implied consent under 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 age 16, they will be 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)

625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)

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 passengers 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

625 ILCS 5/6-208.1

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 ageNo 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.

Reinstatement

625 ILCS 5/6 - 208.1

The 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 (Effective 7-1-11) (P.A. 96-1344)

625 ILCS 5/6-208.1

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 (Effective 7-1-11) (P.A. 96-1344)

625 ILCS 5/6-208.1

Reinstatement after a revocation can only be made through an administrative formal hearing with the SOSafter a year and showing proof of financial responsibility and payment of reinstatement fee.

Opportunity for Hearing (Motion to Rescind)

625 ILCS 5/2-118.1

The driver may file a motion in court to rescind the summary suspension or revocation. The SOS must notify the driver of their 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 shall be limited to the following:

  • Whether the person was in fact arrested for DUI
  • Whether the 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

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SOS Hearings

Hearings may be formal or informal. 

Consultation

In a drug-or alcohol-related case, a hearing officer will speak to  the petitioner at selected offices. The officer will inform the petitioner what is needed to get their license back and the officer will give petitioner the necessary forms. This is a recommended prerequisite to both formal and informal hearings.

Informal Hearing

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. The 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.

Formal Hearing

625 ILCS 5/2-118

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. The 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.

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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: The permit is known by the public as a "hardship license."

Restricted Driving Permit (RDP)

625 ILCS 5/6-206(c)(3); 625 ILCS 5/6-205

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, the 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

625 ILCS 5/6 - 206

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 SOS, 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 the vehicle. A BAIID fee of $240 is required, in addition to the $8 RDP fee [625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(2); 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

Monitoring Device Driving Permit [MDDP]

625 ILCS 5/6-206.1

Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) is not restricted for employment, medical or educational purpose. 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 is not a first time offender.
MDDP Requirements
  • 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.
  • No previous conviction for reckless homicide.
  • The 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.

Probationary License

625 ILCS 5/6-113(c)

A probationary license may be issued where a person’s driver’s license is suspended for 3 or more moving violation in a 12 month period, driving without a license, or driving outside license classification. The 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.

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