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Out-of-State Residents: Illinois DUI Suspensions and Revocations

Jennifer Wirth Attorney at Law

In this article, we attempt to answer commonly asked questions relating to out-of-state DUI suspension and driver’s license revocation issues.

The Illinois Secretary of State may revoke a driver’s license when an out-of-state resident receives a DUI conviction in Illinois, or where an Illinois-licensed driver pleads guilty to a DUI in another state. The Secretary may also suspend a driver’s license if an Illinois resident refuses to take a chemical test during a DUI stop in another state. In this post, we attempt to answer commonly asked questions relating to out-of-state DUI revocation issues.

What Is The Difference Between a Driver’s License Suspension and Revocation?

A driver’s license suspension has a definitive date where a driver’s license will be restored, so long as a person completes all requirements for the suspension to terminate on the given date. When a person has a suspended license, they should ensure there are no reinstatement fees for the suspension to lift on the specified termination date.

In contrast, a driver’s license revocation is infinite. Until a person takes action to remove the revocation, such as attending an administrative hearing in Illinois, the revocation will remain in effect. When an Illinois driving abstract provides a date of “projected reinstatement eligibility,” a person will not automatically get their driver’s license back on that date. The date of “reinstatement eligibility” is simply the first date that a driver may request their full driving privileges again, subject to certain exceptions in the law.

What Is an Out-of-State Refusal Suspension?

Under 625 ILCS 5/6-203.1, an Illinois-licensed driver may have their Illinois driver’s license suspended if they refuse a chemical test during an out-of-state DUI arrest. A refusal suspension has a definite end, with the suspension terms listed in Section 625 ILCS 5/6-203.1.

If an out-of-state DUI arrest is ultimately dismissed, the refusal suspension will remain in effect for the suspension term. In some cases, an out-of-state court may cause the suspension to be lifted if they make an express finding that the defendant did not refuse testing. However, when the refusal suspension remains, the Secretary of State may issue a permit during the suspension upon a successful application at an administrative hearing.

If an out-of-state DUI arrest results in an Illinois license revocation, the time served on a refusal suspension is credited toward the minimum period of driver’s license revocation.  

If I Am a Resident of Another State, Can Illinois Suspend or Revoke My Driving Privileges for an Illinois DUI?

Under 625 ILCS 5/6-202, an out-of-state driver can be suspended or revoked for any offense committed on Illinois roads that would have caused an Illinois-licensed driver to be suspended or revoked. Under Illinois law, there are many reasons for driver’s license suspension, cancellation or revocation. For further reading on this topic, please visit our blog article on “Mandatory Suspensions and Revocations in Illinois.”  

Many out-of-state residents hire our office after being prevented from obtaining a license in their home state due to an Illinois DUI revocation. The hold is traditionally lifted through a successful formal or informal hearing for out-of-state clearance, depending on eligibility. 

If I Have an Illinois Driver’s License, Will My License Be Revoked If I Am Convicted of an Out-of-State DUI?

Under 625 ILCS 5/6-203, the Secretary of State may suspend or revoke the license of an Illinois resident if they commit an offense in another state that would have triggered a revocation or suspension had they committed the offense in Illinois. 

Our law practice has helped many Illinois-licensed drivers restore their driving privileges after an out-of-state DUI conviction caused the revocation of their Illinois driver’s license. In cases where the potential for a conviction exists, we often work with the driver while facing the DUI charge to ensure that we prepare them for a hearing in advance of a revocation, whenever possible. 

If I Live Out-of-State, Do I Have to Attend an In-Person Hearing in Illinois or Can I Submit an Out-of-State Packet?

There are pros and cons when choosing between an in-person hearing versus submission of an out-of-state packet. The main benefit to returning to Illinois for an in-person hearing is that the law requires that a decision be made within ninety (90) days after the hearing takes place. Conversely, a completed out-of-state packet must be assigned to a hearing officer within ten (10) days of receipt. Upon assignment to a hearing officer, the Secretary has 180 days to make an out-of-state packet decision, pursuant to 92 Ill.Adm.Code 1001.100 (b)(3)

If an out-of-state resident has a lifetime revocation and is seeking clearance from Illinois, they are required to appear for an in-state hearing. The only exception to an in-state appearance is when a hearing officer determines that there are material extenuating circumstances that prohibit the petitioner from attending an in-person hearing. The applicable law is clear that “material extenuating circumstances” do not include inconvenience or monetary considerations. In-person hearings require the lifetime petitioner to be physically present, rather than appear on Zoom or via telephone. 

Do I Need A License Reinstatement Lawyer to Represent Me as an Out-Of-State Resident?

A petitioner is not required to have legal counsel present, but we believe it is critical to hire a qualified and experienced Illinois attorney for driver’s license reinstatement. Even if an applicant doesn’t hire our firm, we hope they hire an attorney that has extensive experience in driver’s license revocation hearings. 

Illinois Secretary of State hearings involve administrative, traffic, criminal, and civil law. They also require an attorney to have working knowledge of the treatment concepts that are being discussed at a hearing. It is not an area of law that just involves “asking the right questions,” nor is it a forum where a client should rely on being prepared by their treatment provider (unless their treatment provider also has an active law license and experience representing persons at hearings.)  These are adversarial proceedings, and it is best to hire a qualified attorney to represent your interests.

Our office provides free consultations for driver’s license reinstatement hearings. To schedule a consultation, please contact us at jennifer@wirthlaw.org or call us at (312) 761-8290. The information contained on our website does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice. A person should not make legal decisions without discussing the particular facts of their case with a qualified attorney.

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