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Jul. 5 2016

Automatic Revocation of Driving Privileges

Posted By: Sami Azhari

Over time, Illinois has become one of the strictest states when it comes to driving penalties.  First, there was a change in DUI law that required a Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) in the automobiles of people receiving a finding of court supervision[1] for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.  Then, in January 2011, came the new speeding law that made speeding 30 mph over the speed limit a criminal misdemeanor, and no longer allowed court supervision for speeding 40 mph over the speed limit.  Most recently, in July 2011, there was a new law passed to further penalize people suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol in Illinois.

The new law states that if you are in an accident that causes injury[2] or death to another, the Secretary of State can automatically revoke a driver’s license for at least one year if you refuse or fail to complete chemical testing following an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.  This revocation remains in effect even if the driver is later found not guilty of the offense.  And, the driver can no longer obtain a special driving permit, such as a breath activated ignition device, even if this is their first offense.

Under the prior law if someone were charged with DUI, their license could be suspended for a set period of time, after which they would pay a fee and get their license back.  A suspension is for a set period of time, and once a suspension is over, a person’s driving privileges are automatically reinstated upon payment of a reinstatement fee.  A revocation, however, lasts forever. The only way a driver can obtain reinstatement of driving privileges after a revocation is to apply for reinstatement through the Secretary of State.

Prior to this new law, if a driver was arrested for a DUI and there is a personal injury or death, upon conviction for the DUI arrest, the Secretary of State had the authority to revoke the defendant’s driving privileges.  The Secretary of State also had authority for a discretionary revocation under the Illinois Vehicle Code upon a conviction for any violation under the Motor Vehicle Code that results in death.

The main difference with the new law, is that under the prior statutes, you needed to be convictedto suffer the revocation penalty.  That would mean that the defendant received a conviction after pleading guilty to the underlying offense or was convicted at trial.  With the new law, a conviction is no longer required.  People who are found not guilty of the underlying offense where there was injury or death will be punished regardless, causing driving privileges to be revoked without the opportunity to obtain a restricted driving permit for at least one year.

Because of the new changes, driving privileges can be revoked without a DUI charge or even drinking, for example, if a driver left the scene of an accident involving injury or death and then failed to complete chemical tests.  The revocation can also occur if the injury caused in a DUI collision is minor.  If the victim asks to be taken to the hospital despite a police officer or paramedic not finding visible signs of injury, and is released from the hospital after a cursory examination, this will still be considered a Type A injury that will trigger the one year driving revocation.

Sami is experienced at defending criminal and traffic matters. For assistance with a traffic violation or criminal matter, contact Sami at (312) 626-2871.

[1] Court supervision is a finding of not guilty and a defendant is entitled to only one finding of court supervision for a DUI in their lifetime.

[2] To trigger the revocation under the new law, there must be a Type A injury, which is defined as any injury that “requires immediate professional attention in either a doctor’s office or a medical facility. A Type A injury includes severely bleeding wounds, distorted extremities, and injuries that require the injured party to be carried from the scene.” (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1)