Out Of State Hearings

Illinois Revocation Holds and Out-of-State Packets with the Secretary of StateIllinois Revocation Holds and Out-of-State Packets with the Secretary of State
– David J. Winer

This legal article was published in the leading law publication called, “The Docket”and the text of the article is below.

In our highly-mobile society it is common for people to move to another state. Whether it is for employment or just a change of scenery, every year many millions of American move to another state and Illinois residents are no exception. But, due to the National Registry’s driver’s license data system, it has become harder to leave Illinois in your rear view mirror, and not merely in a figurative sense.

An out of state resident who received a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction in Illinois and possesses a valid license from their state, upon expiration of their license, they will be prohibited from renewing it. Likewise, a former Illinois resident now living in another state who had their license revoked in Illinois for DUI will find that when applying for a license on their new state that a “hold” has been placed thus preventing the issuance of a new license. Every compact state is now required to check the Problem Driver Point System (PDPS) located in the National Registry before renewing an existing license or issuing a new one. The PDPS system is designed to advise other states of any revocations, and will prevent a license from being issued or renewed if another state has placed a hold on it. This article outlines the circumstances when an out-of-state hold will be placed on a license and what a driver can do to obtain a release of the hold from the Illinois Secretary of State.

There are several reasons where a resident of another state must petition the Illinois Secretary of State for driving relief due to an Illinois revocation hold.

  1. A non-resident who never held an Illinois driver’s license received a DUI conviction or other revocable offense while driving in Illinois. Their resident state, upon expiration of the current license will refuse to renew it.
  2. An Illinois licensed driver has a revoked license and moves to another state and attempts to obtain a driver’s license there. The licensing authorities of that state will not issue a license due to the revocation hold;
  3. A non-resident who never possessed a valid license is applying for a new one and has a hold from an Illinois DUI conviction.

Due to the PDPS check many drivers whose Illinois arrest happened a long time ago and currently have a valid license in their resident state are only now dealing with the consequences of the conviction. To their dismay, despite having a valid license, their resident state will deny the renewal of their license or the issuance of a new one. Until the Illinois hold is cleared that person will forever be unable to renew their current license or obtain any type of driving privileges in their resident state. Unlike a suspension, which has a beginning and ending date, a revocation is indefinite. Illinois will not remove the hold unless a SOS petition is conducted either through the mail with an Out-of State Packet (OOS) or by an in-person hearing or a court order is entered pursuant to a Motion to Vacate. However, a petitioner that lives within 30 miles of the Illinois border must have an in-person hearing at a designated SOS administrative hearing facility. For those that live beyond that distance, they can proceed either through an OOS Packet or come to Illinois for an in-person hearing. Unless this process is successfully completed the hold will never be removed, as there is no statute of limitations or double jeopardy limiting the indefinite revocation. Moreover, the Illinois SOS cannot authorize a Restricted Driving Permit for another state and can only grant or deny full reinstatement.

Ordinarily, with an OOS Packet a Petitioner completes a detailed questioner, submits their state driving abstract, treatment documents, proof of residency, $50.00 filing fee and a minimum of three character letters. This “Packet” is then mailed to the Secretary of State Office in Springfield. In due course, the SOS will mail an Order either granting or denying full reinstatement or send a letter requesting further documentation such as past alcohol evaluations, treatment documentation or even order a brand new alcohol evaluation. There are several factors that determine whether more documentation or treatment is required. These may include the number of prior DUI arrests, dates of the arrests, type of treatment completed and answers provided in the OOS questioner. Problems frequently arise with petitioner’s who are unfamiliar with the nuances and types of questions in the OOS Packet. Also, if a new evaluation is requested by the SOS, out of state evaluators often fail to comply with the specific requirements of the Illinois Secretary of State. An Illinois attorney familiar with Secretary of State law is recommended to advise both the client and evaluator on the SOS requirements in order to provide acceptable information and documentation. In many circumstances, it is wise to obtain the assistance an OASA licensed evaluator in Illinois to consult with the out of state evaluator and review the documents.

The fourteen-page Illinois Secretary of State OOS Packet contains a detailed questioner which, at first glance, may not appear very complicated. However, the Secretary of State is very particular about the information requested, and incorrect answers or improperly prepared documentation can not only result in a Denial Order, but also make it much more difficult to succeed on future petitions.

If a person was previously denied relief through an OOS Packet or in-person hearing, the attorney must obtain the Denial Order and all the previously submitted documentation. This can be obtained from the client or ordered from the Illinois SOS microfiche department. In addition to reviewing the SOS Denial Order, the attorney must carefully scrutinize all the documentation to determine the specific reasons for the denial and then assist in remedying them.

The rule governing reinstatement eligibility for out-of-state residents for Illinois DUI convictions are as follows.

  • First DUI conviction results in a one year revocation, but those under 21 years old when arrested receive a two year revocation
  • Second DUI conviction on an Illinois driving record results in a five-year revocation.
  • Third DUI conviction on an Illinois driving record results in a ten year revocation.
  • Fourth conviction anywhere in the USA, can now seek clearance ten years from the last date of revocation and must show three years of abstinence and completion of alcohol treatment. If they subsequently return to reside in Illinois, their license will be revoked and are then subject to different rules for Illinois residents.

In conclusion, many non-Illinois residents have lost their driving privileges due to an Illinois DUI conviction. In their resident state they may have been driving for years, even decades, only to lose it when their license is up for renewal. While Illinois residents who move to another state are prohibited from being issued a new drivers license. Due to the National Registry and PDPS check a revocation hold from Illinois will follow them forever and wherever they live. Only by successfully petitioning the Illinois Secretary of State thorough an Out-of-State Packet or an in-person hearing will they ever be able to remove the hold and legally drive again.

David J. Winer, a partner at the Law Offices of Winer & Winer, writes and lectures on matters regarding driver’s license reinstatement through the Illinois Secretary of State. He has also presented Illinois Continuing Legal Education seminars on this topic. Evan J. Winer assisted in editing this article.