How to Get a Driving Record in Illinois
When a new client walks into a lawyer’s office with a DUI, suspended license, revoked license, or any type of traffic ticket, they will naturally have questions such as “what will happen on my case?”, “can I fix my driver’s license?”, or “will I lose my driver’s license?”. All of these are excellent and important questions. The problem is that this can be difficult (and sometimes impossible) for an attorney to figure out without first looking at the person’s driving record. Just like a doctor needs X-Rays or MRI scans to diagnose a medical problem, a traffic lawyer will need to see your driving history to figure out what potential charges or penalties you will likely be facing. Your driving history will factor heavily into whether you will walk away with supervision, a minor “slap on the wrist”, or be facing a much more serious penalty.
Different Types of Driving Abstracts
The Illinois Secretary of State issues four different types of driving records, which they call “abstracts.”
- Public Driving Abstract: The first type of abstract is a public driving record. This contains basic information like a person’s driver’s license number, convictions, suspensions and cancellations. This is the type of record usually accessible by your employer and insurance company.
- Court Purposes Driving Abstract (Private): This abstract is the one that your lawyer will need to see. It contains all information in the public driving abstract but also includes information relating to supervisions given by the court for traffic or accident-related violations. Be advised if you are giving this abstract to an employer it is not something they could likely otherwise obtain on their own.
- Internal Abstract (Secret): This abstract contains private information like changes of your legal name, surrender of your license to another state, and termination of suspensions and revocations. This abstract is only available for viewing by employees of the Illinois Secretary of State office.
Why Do I Need a Court Purposes Driving Abstract?
When getting a driving abstract to give to your lawyer, it is important for you to specify that you are looking for a “court purposes driving abstract” instead of just any of the other abstracts listed above. This type of driving abstract will show absolutely all the information your lawyer will need to help defend you. The additional information it shows includes court supervisions you’ve received, traffic violations, and traffic accidents. It will give your lawyer access to information that is only available to the judge, prosecutor, police, and to you personally.
Unless you swear that you’ve never had a single ticket, suspension or accident in your life, an experienced lawyer will always ask you to provide a copy of your driving record for review. If a lawyer doesn’t first ask to see a copy of your driving record before fully analyzing your situation, you should normally be a little concerned if you’re facing a traffic-related offense. It’s like going into the dentist with a toothache and not being asked for an X-ray. Do you want to have a dentist just start drilling without first checking your teeth out carefully? Of course not! You’ll find that hiring a traffic attorney is not nearly as painful, but it’s definitely just as important.
Another important reason why you typically need to provide your attorney with a driving abstract is because the prosecutor or State’s Attorney may need to see a copy before they’re willing to negotiate with your lawyer. Usually, a prosecutor will have their own copy, but not always. If you want your lawyer to have the best chance of finishing your case as quickly as possible, make sure that you provide them with your record, because if the prosecutor doesn’t have their own copy, it can sometimes result in an unwanted continuance.
Yet another reason why you’ll need a court purposes abstract is if you’re trying to regain driving privileges by doing either a formal or an informal hearing with the Secretary of State. Your attorney will definitely need to see your record when you first meet, in order to properly plan a course of action to regain your driving privileges.
How Do I Get a Driving Abstract in Person?
There are a few different ways to get your court purposes driving abstract. The first and simplest way for many clients to do this is to just visit any Illinois Driver Services facility, also sometimes referred to in Illinois and Chicago as the “DMV”. There are 135 DMV locations in Illinois servicing 8.5 million drivers a year. When you show up, you can complete a Driving Record Abstract Request Form. Helpful tip: completing this in advance can save you a lot of time. You can find this form at ILSos.gov at the link below:
You will present the form to the DMV employee and ask for your “court purposes driving abstract” which presently costs about $12 and can usually be paid with cash, check, credit card or money order.
You can find a map of a DMV location near you at:
How Do I Get a Driving Abstract Online?
An easier way for some to get a driving abstract is to go online at ILSOS.gov. But be aware that you won’t be able to do this if you don’t have your physical driver’s license (or a picture of it), because you won’t have the necessary information that you’ll need to complete the online abstract application form. If that’s the case, just go in person to a DMV location.
When getting your abstract online, after going on ILSOS.gov, you will see a red heading titled “Online Services” halfway down the page. After clicking this, you will be taken to a page titled “Driver Record Abstract Driving Services.” You can then scroll to the bottom of this page and click “Begin.”
You will now be ready to enter your information from your physical driver’s license. You will be asked to input your:
- Driver’s License Number
- Date of Birth
- Last Four Digits of Your Social Security Number
- Issue Date of Your License
- Expiration Date on License
- Class of License
- DD Number (This number is referred to as the “Document Discriminator” and serves as a unique identifier for your personal driver’s license. This can be found all the way at the bottom of your license).
After entering in all the correct information and pressing “enter”, your name should be displayed at the top of the next page next to your driver’s license number. You will then be given two options for Abstracts that you can purchase right below your name. The first listed option is the Affected (“Court Purposes”) Driving Record Abstract. This is what you want to select. The option below that is the Public Driving Record Abstract. Although you’re welcome to purchase that if you’d like, your attorney at Sexner & Associates LLC will instead want to see your “Court Purposes” Driving Record Abstract in order to properly analyze your situation.
Finally, you will enter in your credit or debit card information along with your billing information and then pay what is presently a $13 total fee. You will then list an e-mail address for the Secretary of State to use to e-mail you a PDF of your Court Purposes Driving Abstract. Congratulations, you now have your Abstract to send to your lawyer!
Other Ways to Get Your Driving Abstract
You can also get your Driving Abstract by mail. You must complete and mail an Abstract Request Form to:
Illinois Secretary of State
Driver Analysis Section
2701 S. Dirksen Parkway.,
Springfield, Illinois 62723
By Notarized Document
If you are unable to get your driving abstract in person or online due to living out of state or not having internet access, a close family member (grandchild, child, parent, legal guardian, brother, sister, or spouse) may get the record on your behalf. You will need to give the family member a written and notarized letter stating that you want them to get the record on your behalf. They can then go to any available Illinois DMV location and present the letter along with the $12 fee to receive your driving abstract for you.
Talk to an Experienced Traffic Attorney
Obtaining a copy of your driving abstract is just the first step in defending your traffic charges. Our team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC is ready and prepared to help you fight any traffic or criminal charge that you may be facing in Illinois. With more than 30 years of experience defending over 20,000 clients in matters ranging from minor tickets to serious DUI charges, we’re prepared to help you with virtually anything. Get your free consultation today by calling (312) 644-0444 or by visiting our contact page.