We can all agree that the Secretary of State has a valid interest in keeping the roads safe. As part of that interest, Illinois law has given the Secretary of State broad power to suspend a person’s driver’s license for a DUI-related offense in two ways.

First, the mandatory driver’s license suspension generally takes place 46 days after you are charged with DUI. If you get an attorney promptly, that attorney may ask the court to overturn your suspension and you can continue to drive if the attorney succeeds.

Even where the court has ordered your suspension rescinded, however, the Secretary of State has a second way of suspending your license: the discretionary suspension. While in my practice, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have seen this happen, the list of reasons the Secretary of State can suspend you is seemingly endless, containing no fewer than 46 sections, and not all of them are related to DUI.

Just a few examples are:
1) you have had three traffic offense convictions in 12 months;
2) you’ve had repeated traffic accidents;
3) you allowed someone to fraudulently use your driver’s license or you lied when getting a license;
4) you fled police;
5) you fled the scene of an accident;
6) you were convicted of illegal possession of a controlled substance while driving;
7) you had an accident while driving under the influence that caused serious injury;
8) you had two or more DUI convictions in one year;
9) you are under 21 and zero tolerance laws apply.

The Secretary of State may exercise this discretionary suspension without a preliminary hearing provided there is sufficient evidence that you have committed the offense. The Secretary of State must notify you of the suspension, and you may be able to request a hearing. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a restricted driving permit. This system is in place as a sort of catch-all, and judges lack jursidiction to deal with these issues in court.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

For further information, see 625 ILCS 5/6-206.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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