Legal advice concerning driving behavior

As enunciated in innumerable court decisions, driving a motor vehicle in Illinois is a privilege, not a right. Suspension of or revocation of your driving privileges can occur as a result of a variety of acts of commission or omission on your part. In some instances, a suspension can be effected by the Secretary of State (upon notice and the opportunity for a hearing) even if there is no underlying traffic citation or criminal charge pending against you. The following are just a few of the more common circumstances where your driving privilege is at risk.

1. Three moving violations. Persons convicted of three moving violations within any given 12-month period are subject to suspension or revocation. The nature of the action taken being determined by points which are assigned to each offense. Ordinary violations such as failure to yield, improper turn, driving over the center line are 15 or 20 point tickets. Ten points are assigned for speeding 1-10 miles over the speed limit, 15 points for speeding 11-15 mph over, 20 points for 16-25 mph over and 50 points for driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit.

Per Secretary of State guidelines: 3 convictions totaling fewer than 45 points result in a 2-month suspension, convictions totaling 45-74 points bring a 3-month suspension, 75-89 points bring a six-month suspension, 90-99 points, a nine-month suspension, 100-109 points, a 12-month suspension and tickets totaling 110 points or more will result in a revocation.

The crucial difference between a suspension and a revocation is that a suspended driver retains the residual right to drive and will automatically be reinstated upon the expiration of the suspension period and payment of the reinstatement fee ($30 for most suspensions, $60 for summary suspensions imposed under D.U.I. laws) and provided no violations such as driving while license suspended have occurred. A revocation entails the termination of one’s right to drive and requires that the person whose privileges have been revoked apply to the Secretary of State for issuance of the privilege. This process involves an informal or formal hearing, the decision of the Secretary of State being discretionary, bound only by the requirements of due process.

It is important to emphasize that in most suspension situations, reinstatement does not take place automatically; a suspended driver must make application for reinstatement. Consult with the Secretary of State or an attorney if you have questions.

2. Fraudulent use of someone else’s license, falsifying your driver’s license, obtaining a driver’s license by deception or lending someone else your driver’s license are all acts which will result in the suspension of your driving privilege, usually for a year. These acts are also crimes for which you can be sent to jail, and/or fined and/or be given a permanent crime record. The Secretary of State can also suspend your driving privilege (after a hearing) even if you were never arrested or issued a traffic citation, if it concludes you have violated the law. Typically, this occurs when someone lends their driver’s license to someone else who then gets arrested. The police seize the driver’s license as evidence and notify the Secretary of State which initiates administrative action to suspend both parties.

3. Passing a school bus. Conviction will result in a two month suspension for a first offense—even if your driving record is clear.

4. Driving without insurance. Convictions will result in a $500 fine and a two month suspension for a first offense.

5. D.U.I. A three-month suspension of your driving privilege is mandated under the Illinois summary suspension law, to take effect on the 46th day after your arrest, regardless of the deposition of the D.U.I. Conviction for D.U.I. results in an automatic revocation for a minimum of one year but can also include jail time depending on your prior driving record and other circumstances.

Other offenses which result in suspension or revocation include driving without a valid driver’s license or permit, driving a motorcycle or other second division vehicle for which you are not licensed, violation of a restriction on your driver’s license, leaving the scene of an accident, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and drag racing. Some, but not all of these offenses are also listed as criminal misdemeanors or felonies. Do not plead guilty to any traffic offense until you have determined the consequences. If you have any doubts, consult a lawyer.