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Iowa Drivers Arrested For DUI In Illinois Face Double Trouble

A driver with an Iowa license who is charged with an Illinois DUI as the result of the failure of an Illinois evidentiary breath test – where no other extenuating circumstances are involved – will be subject to a 180 day revocation of his driving privileges in Iowa. This revocation is separate from and in addition to the Illinois suspension and, while the two periods may overlap, the Iowa revocation period will begin and end on different dates than the Illinois suspension.

An Iowa resident who successfully defends an Illinois DUI charge, and whose driving rights are restored in Illinois, may find that his home state Iowa license is still revoked for 180 days.

For how effective Illinois DUI lawyers bring challenges to an Illinois DUI charge, see our previous posts on traffic stops based on momentary crossing of lane lines and prolonged traffic stops.

Iowa drivers charged with a DUI in Illinois as a result of the failure or refusal of an Illinois evidentiary breath test may lose their driving privileges in both states.

Under Illinois’ DUI law, a driver who has submitted to and failed an evidentiary breath test by having a breath test result of .08 or more will have his or her driving privileges suspended for a period of 6 months if the person is a “first offender” as defined by Illinois law OR 1 year if the person is not a “first offender” as defined by Illinois law. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(d) & (e) and 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1(a). A driver who has refused to submit to chemical testing will have his or her driving privileges suspended for a period of 12 months if the person is a “first offender” as defined by Illinois law OR 3 years if the person is not a “first offender” as defined by Illinois law. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(d) & (e) and 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1(a).

This suspension – known as a Statutory Summary Suspension – will take effect on the 46th day following the date the individual was given notice of the suspension. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(g). Generally, the arresting officer gives the individual this notice of statutory summary suspension at the time of arrest. Thus, the suspension of the individual’s driving privileges in the State of Illinois usually begins on the 46th day after the individual’s DUI arrest.

As a result, a driver with an Iowa license who is charged with an Illinois DUI as the result of the failure of an Illinois evidentiary breath test – where no other extenuating circumstances are involved – will have his Illinois driving privileges suspended for a period of 6 months, beginning on the 46th day after his or her DUI arrest.

The Iowa driver’s problems do not end here, however, because Illinois and Iowa are members of the Driver License Compact (the “DLC”). The DLC is an agreement among 46 member states whose basic purpose is to create one driver’s license and driving record for an individual throughout the 46 member states. To do this, the DLC requires the licensing authority of member states to report certain types of convictions – including convictions for driving under the influence – incurred by a person from another member state to the licensing authority of the person’s home state. See 625 ILCS 5/6-702 & 625 ILCS 5/6-703. See also Iowa Code section 321C.1, articles III & IV. Under the DLC, the term “conviction” includes convictions of offenses prohibited by state law, municipal ordinances, and administrative rules and regulations. See 625 ILCS 5/6-700(c). See also Iowa Code section 321C.1, article II.

The bottom line is that, because Illinois and Iowa are both members of the Driver License Compact, the Illinois Secretary of State reports the Statutory Summary Suspension of an Iowa driver’s Illinois driving privileges incurred as a result of a failure or refusal of an Illinois evidentiary breath test to the Iowa Department of Transportation (the Iowa “DOT”).

Once the Iowa DOT receives this information from the Illinois Secretary of the State, Iowa law authorizes the Iowa DOT to revoke the individual’s Iowa driver license. See Iowa Administrative Code 761-615.30, implementing Iowa Code section 321.205. Iowa law further provides that: “the period of the revocation shall be the same as if the offense had occurred in Iowa.” Iowa Administrative Code 761-615.30, implementing Iowa Code section 321.205.

Under Iowa’s driving under the influence law, termed OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), a driver who has submitted to and failed an evidentiary breath test by having a breath test result of .08 or more will have his or her driver’s license revoked for a period of 180 days if the person has had no prior revocations OR 1year if the person has had a prior revocation. See Iowa Code section 321J.12-1. A driver who has refused to submit to chemical testing will have his or her driver’s license revoked for a period of 1 year if the person has had no prior revocations OR 2 years if the person has had a prior revocation. See Iowa Code section 321J.9-1.

As a result, a driver with an Iowa license who is charged with an Illinois DUI as the result of the failure of an Illinois evidentiary breath test – where no other extenuating circumstances are involved – will be subject to a 180 day revocation of his driving privileges in Iowa. This revocation is separate from and in addition to the Illinois suspension and, while the two periods may overlap, the Iowa revocation period will begin and end on different dates than the Illinois suspension.

In fact, under the previously described set of circumstances, the Iowa driver will receive a separate notice from the Iowa DOT advising that his Iowa license will be revoked. This notice will advise the Iowa driver of both the date that the Iowa revocation period will become effective and the total length of the revocation, and the driver’s Iowa license will be revoked beginning on that date. See Iowa Administrative Code 761-615.37. Generally speaking, this Iowa revocation period usually begins about 30 days after the DOT’s notice. See Iowa Administrative Code 761-615.36, implementing Iowa Code section 321.210.

Since the Iowa driver faces the loss of his driving privileges in both Illinois and Iowa as a result of being charged with an Illinois DUI, it is crucial for him or her to seek counsel who is aware of this and can address the loss of the individual’s driving privileges in each state.

Effective Illinois DUI lawyers hopefully have Iowa licensed lawyers in their firm so that they will recognize and be able to take action to manage the additional problems facing the Iowa driver charged with an Illinois DUI.

For more information on this matter, see our follow-up posting on how the rescission of an Iowa driver’s Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension may restore the Iowa driver’s driving privileges in both Illinois and Iowa.