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How to Get Your Illinois Driver’s License Reinstated After DUIDrunk or impaired driving is a serious criminal offense in Illinois that endangers both the driver and anyone else on or near the road. In the interest of public safety, one of the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) is the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license for a period of time. There are ways for arrested or convicted drivers to regain their driving privileges after completing their sentence, but in order for you to have your license reinstated, you must follow the necessary procedures under Illinois law.

Suspension Vs. Revocation in an Illinois DUI Arrest

If you are arrested for DUI in Illinois, you may have your license either suspended or revoked depending on the situation. Circumstances that lead to these consequences include:

  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test. If you are stopped under suspicion of DUI and refuse to submit to the officer’s blood alcohol content (BAC) or THC test, you can face a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for up to 12 months. This suspension is enforceable even if you are not ultimately convicted.
  • Testing above the legal limit. If you do not have a prior DUI conviction and you submit to the officer’s chemical test and are found to have a BAC above 0.08 or a THC blood level of over 5 nanograms per milliliter, you can face a summary suspension of your license for up to six months. Repeat offenses can result in longer suspensions.
  • Being convicted of DUI. If after a trial verdict or plea bargain you are found guilty of DUI and convicted, your license can be revoked for at least one year. The revocation period may be longer for repeat offenses or offenses with aggravating circumstances.

Completing the Reinstatement Process

The process of getting your license reinstated is different depending on whether it was suspended or revoked. For reinstatement after the conclusion of a summary suspension, you need only ensure that your license is not subject to any other suspensions or revocations and send a reinstatement fee of $250 to the office of the Illinois Secretary of State. This fee increases to $500 for repeat offenders.

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How Illinois’ Points System Factors into Driver’s License SuspensionsYou may have heard about the points system that Illinois uses for people who commit moving traffic violations. Each violation counts for a certain number of points that will go on your driving record. You could receive as few as five points for traveling 10 miles per hour or less over the speed limit. You could also receive as many as 55 points for a reckless driving conviction. There is a common misconception that Illinois will suspend your driver’s license once your points surpass a limit. The number of traffic tickets you receive in a 12-month period triggers a driver’s license suspension. The points system, along with your previous record of suspensions, is used to determine how long your suspension will last.

How It Works

Illinois will suspend the driver’s license of any driver 21 or older who committed three moving traffic violations in the past 12 months. For drivers younger than 21, the suspension triggers after two moving violations within 24 months. When your license is suspended, the state will add up the points from your previous traffic violations to determine the length of the suspension. For drivers 21 and older:

  • 15 to 44 points is a two-month suspension.
  • 45 to 89 points is a six-month suspension.
  • 90 to 99 points is a nine-month suspension.
  • 100 to 109 points is a 12-month suspension.
  • 110 points or more is a revocation.

Drivers younger than 21 will see their license revoked for having 80 or more points but are adding up points from only two violations. Some traffic violations result in an automatic suspension after the first offense, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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Should You Refuse a DUI Breath or Blood Test?Drivers who are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence often face a difficult decision when a police officer asks them to submit to chemical testing. Providing a breath or blood sample could give evidence that your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit or that you have an illegal drug in your body. However, refusing the test will result in the suspension of your driver’s license and will not prevent prosecutors from charging you with DUI. Though there are consequences for refusal, preventing chemical testing could make it more difficult to prove that you are guilty of DUI.

Implied Consent

According to the implied consent law, Illinois drivers have already consented to chemical testing for DUI when they are driving or have actual physical control of a vehicle. If you refuse chemical testing, the police will notify the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, which will suspend your driver’s license for a year. In contrast, failing a DUI test results in a six-month license suspension, though a DUI conviction would come with worse consequences. A summary suspension is an administrative action that is separate from criminal charges. Your license can be suspended even if you are never charged with or convicted for DUI.

Rules for Chemical Testing

A court may dismiss the evidence from a chemical test if the officer did not follow the legal procedures:

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