Frequently, residents of other states will visit Illinois, and will get a Driving while Under the Influence (or "DUI") offense in Illinois. (DUI's are commonly referred to as "DWI"—or "Driving While Intoxicated"—in other states, but, at heart, the offenses are the same, no matter their title.) Just as frequently, an Illinois resident with an Illinois driver's license will get a DUI in Illinois or one in another state, then move out of the state of Illinois before getting his or her driver's license back. Whenever a person gets convicted of a DUI in Illinois, a revocation of that person's driver's license in the State of Illinois will follow, even when that person was issued a driver's license in another state. The problem that arises for most people in this situation is the fact that when a person is revoked in Illinois, then only the State of Illinois can lift that revocation.
Whenever a person lives out of the state, he or she has few options in order to get the revocation lifted. The good news is that an out-of-state resident can seek reinstatement without coming back to Illinois, as long as that person lives more than thirty (30) miles from the Illinois border. The bad news is that applying for reinstatement when out-of-state is very daunting and complex, and people are frequently denied if they are inexperienced with doing so successfully.
In order to apply for reinstatement of driving privileges when living outside of the State of Illinois, everyone has to submit a petition seeking to do so. Just filling out the petition can take hours. That petition will ask numerous questions about a person's prior criminal and traffic history, the nature of the offense(s) that lead to revocation, and the driver's substance abuse history. This last one might come as a surprise, but, believe it or not, substance abuse treatment can easily and often does become the focus of driver's license reinstatement.
Whenever a person applies for driver's license reinstatement from outside of the State of Illinois, that person still has to submit documentation related to any and all treatment that he or she has undergone, not to mention obtain a new evaluation from a treatment provider using the Illinois Secretary of State approved form. Filling out the necessary paperwork cannot really be done without, first, cross-referencing the person's other paperwork, and, secondly, putting as many pairs of eyes on it as possible. This is the key: those who know what they are doing, who are familiar with driver's license reinstatement petitions for residents of other states, need to review everything with a fine-tooth comb. If this does not happen before submitting the paperwork, any reader can bet that a denial will follow after the Secretary of State reviews the paperwork in detail.
People living in other states oftentimes mistakenly think applying for reinstatement is as simple as filling out some paperwork. The reality is anything but. The burden of proving that an out-of-state resident should be reinstated is still on us, because when we apply, we are the petitioner, so we must carry the burden. That burden is by clear and convincing evidence, which is the highest civil burden we have in the State of Illinois. The petition itself has any number of places where contradictions can be made either between different parts of the petition or between the petition and other documents that must be submitted. Any inconsistency can serve as a basis for denial, and trying to get it right on your own can often lead to failure, which is one reason we make ourselves available to talk to residents in other states about both what they need to do and how to do it right.
Copyright © 2017 by Brendan Bukalski
The information provided in this article is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as legal advice or interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship . As a general rule, all specific legal problems should be handled by an individual's attorney. All rights reserved. Any copying, duplication, or commercial use of the information contained in this column is strictly prohibited without prior permission.