How to Read an Illinois Driving Abstract

How to Read an Illinois Driving AbstractWhen evaluating your traffic, DUI, or license reinstatement case, a lawyer will almost always want to see your driving abstract.  An abstract is also sometimes referred to as a “driving record” or an “MVR”. This abstract will show the lawyer important information about your driving history and previous driving offenses. After seeing what happened in the past in your driving record, a lawyer will then be able to understand how to help fix it and move forward. You can learn about how to obtain a driving abstract in another of our articles titled: “How to Get a Driving Record in Illinois”.

If you try and read your driving abstract yourself, it might look like it’s in a foreign language to you. It is often filled with complicated and confusing numbers, abbreviations, and codes. This article will explore 10 basic tips about how to read a driving abstract. This will help you to be a more informed client when speaking with a lawyer and also a more active participant in your own legal defense.

Tip #1: Check the Date

On the top of the page in the driving abstract, slightly to the right of center, you will see a date printed in the format of MM-DD-YY. This will show you the day your abstract was printed. This date is important because abstracts can go “stale” if they are too old. That might mean that some newer important driving events might be missing from an older abstract and your lawyer might therefore not be able to see them and properly evaluate your driving record. So, always make sure that you are bringing your lawyer an abstract which has been printed recently. A two-week-old abstract will likely be fine so long as no significant driving events occurred in the prior two weeks. An abstract which is months or years old may however fail to give an attorney the information they need to properly defend you.

Tip #2: Check the Pages

Another critical piece of information will be found on the upper-right side of the abstract: the page numbers. Every abstract will say what page number that specific page corresponds to, and how many pages are in the full abstract (example: page 03 of 05). If a client does not bring in every page of the abstract, the lawyer could be missing valuable information needed to diagnose the problem. Always check to be sure that you have all the pages of your abstract when presenting it to an attorney. Hiding information from an attorney is never a good idea either, as the full extent of your record will eventually come up at court or a hearing and you do not want your attorney to be blind-sided.

Tip #3: Understand the Basics

The top of the abstract will contain all the basic information that is found on your driver’s license. This will include your height, weight, gender, hair color, eye color, birth date, and the last address given to the Secretary of State. Remember, motorists must notify the Secretary of State within 10 days when their address or name changes. It will also include your driver’s license number, which will begin with the first letter of your last name. It will display the driver’s license “class” as well (determined by the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and when the license expires.

Tip #4: Start at the Far-Right Column to Find Problems

When a lawyer looks at the main three columns of the abstract, they will typically start at the far-right side, labelled “Stops in Effect.” A stop in effect will signify that either a suspension, hold, revocation, cancellation or surrendering of a license exists. There are two options regarding whether the stop is in effect or not: Yes or No. “No” means that the particular stop or suspension which is described on the abstract is not currently in effect at the time of the printing of the abstract. If the abstract says “Yes” in the right-hand column, it means that the particular stop or action is in effect at the time of the printing of the abstract. When it says “Yes” that is usually an impediment to legal driving. Any “Yes” indicators will also often prevent renewal of your license. In short: any time you see “Yes” on the right-hand side of the abstract, this is a problem which will need to be resolved. Your lawyer can work with you to understand what each “Yes” means and how to resolve them to clear up your driving record.

Tip #5: The Far-Left Hand Column Tells You What the Problems Are

Once you’ve found out there are problems, you will want to know what type of problems you have. You can move over to the far-left hand column which is labelled “Type Action.” Every “Type Action” will show a particular event which occurred in your driving history, ranging from: applications, permits, classes, suspensions, revocations, extensions, accidents, convictions, supervisions, hearings held, relief granted, and relief denied. Every entry has an action number which corresponds to it. Even most lawyers don’t usually know all of these Type Action codes by heart (unless they have a photographic memory).

This is a basic guide you can look at to understand what each two-digit Type Action code means on the far-left hand column of your abstract:

99: Conviction (Points Assigned)
97: Conviction-Bond Forfeiture (Points Assigned)
96: Conviction (No Points Assigned)
95: Conviction-Bond Forfeiture (No Points Assigned)
93: Immediate Action Conviction – Bond Forfeiture (No Points Assigned)
91: Convictions of Drivers Under Age 15 at Time of Arrest
89: Out-of-State Withdrawal CDL
87: Out-of-State Conviction (Points Assigned)
85: Out-of-State Conviction (No Points Assigned)
84: F.R. Future Proof Filings Completed
83: Out-of-State Conviction (Immediate Action)
82: Out-of-State Conviction CDL (Driver’s License and/or CDL Sanctions Imposed)
81: D.C.F.S. Child Care Driver Status
80: Out-of-State Accident
79: Judicial Driving Permit
78: Restricted/Occupational Driving Permit
74: Revoked Privileges Reinstated
73: Reinstatement Fee for Suspension
72: Parking Ticket Tollway Suspension
71: Probationary Permit, Temporary Instruction permit or Temporary Driver’s License, or Seasonally Restricted
70: Family Responsibility Permit
68: Out-Of-State Conviction CDL
65: Driver’s License or ID Application
61: Address Change
60: Warning Letter
58: Vehicle Emissions Suspension History Item
57: Statutory Summary Suspension Item DUI
55: Driver Remedial Program And/Or Court Supervision
53: Show Cause Hearing (Recommend No Action)
52: Show Cause Hearing (Recommend Action)
51: Family Financial Responsibility History Item Hearings
50: Informal Hearing Held
49: Certification Safety Officer or Commercial Driver Training Instructor
48: Public School Bus Driver or High School Driver Education Instructor
47: F.R. Future Proof Required
46: Religious Organization Bus or Senior Citizen Transportation Driver Field
45: School Bus History Item
43: D.C.F.S. Approved Child Care Driver School Bus
41: CDL Disqualification Hearing
40: Formal Hearing Hearings
37: Extension of Statutory Summary
35: Extension of Suspension
34: Extension of Revocation
33: Denial of License Hearings
32: Denial of Restricted Driving Permit Hearings
29: Lieu of Bail Statute Item
28: Reported Deceased
27: Illinois License Surrendered to Foreign State CDL
22: ‘Stop’ Place in File Based On Reason Code
20: Rescind
19: Collision Involving Personal Injury
18: Vehicle Emissions Suspension
17: Statutory Summary Suspension DUI
16: Collision Involving Fatal Injury
14: Collision Involving Personal Injury
13: Signed Affidavit for Lost or Stolen License, Lieu of Bail, Etc.
12: Cited for Examination Records
11: Record History Item
10: Amended Order
09: Failure to Appear Suspension
08: Cancellation of License
07: Parking Ticket/Tollway Suspension
06: Unsatisfied Judgment Suspension (SR-22 Insurance Required)
05: Financial Responsibility Suspension
04: Safety Responsibility Suspension
03: Discretionary Suspension
02: Discretionary Revocation (SR-22 Insurance Required)
01: Mandatory Revocation (SR-22 Insurance Required)
DQ – Disqualification CDL
MP – Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP)
ZT – Zero Tolerance Suspension DUI
FS – Field Sobriety Suspension DUI
FP – Failure to Pay Court Imposed Fine/Penalty
CC – Certificate of Completion-Drivers Education
EZ – Extension of Zero Tolerance Suspension
FR – Family Financial Responsibility Suspension
TR – Transcript Return
IV – Invalidation of License or Permit
FE – Safety & Financial Responsibility Fee Status Item
DN – Denial of License or Permit
AC – Adult Completion (Adult Drivers Education)
NP – License Issued Valid Without Photo and/or Signature Records
OS – Out of Service CDL
SC – Supervision/Conviction CDL
SD – Start/End Date of 3-Year Period CDL
SR – Sword Report CDL
AV – Failure to Pay Abandoned Vehicle Fines
MC – Mandatory Insurance Conviction Suspension
ES – Extension of Statutory Summary Suspension BAIID
BK – Bankruptcy

Tip #6: The Middle Column Explains the Event

Every entry next to the right of the Type Action numbers or letters on the left-hand side will show information about what happened in that particular event in your driving history. For example, a Type Action code entry of “17” is a Statutory Summary Suspension DUI. The entry to the right of that code will show us the arrest date (“ARR-DT” on the abstract) and the suspension length (“SUS-LGTH”). It will also show us the date that the suspension will start, called the “effective date” and listed as “EFF-DT.” It may also show a notation for “PROV-DT” which means “provisional date.” This is the date that the suspension should terminate. If there is an entry of “TERM-DT”, that will show the date that the suspension ended and the reinstatement fee was paid (if any). A lawyer can look at this information and determine valuable information for the client about why a hold is still in effect (for example, a lawyer may use this information to determine that a client needs to pay a reinstatement fee if their suspension time is over and there is still a stop in effect on their license).

This is just one example of a single type of entry. Other entries will have different information. When reading the various notations of each entry, you will begin to see similarities. Many of the entries display the same basic information such as when the event took place and when it will be resolved.  Here are some examples of some common notations:

  • EXP-DT – Expiration Date.
  • TYPE – Type of License.
  • FTA – Failure to Appear in Court Citation.
  • TERM-DT – Termination Date of Action.
  • HEAR-DT – The Secretary of State Administrative Hearing Date.
  • STATE-JUR – State that Offense Occurred in.
  • REQ – Required.
  • TIC-NO – Ticket Number of a Document or Citation.
  • DEC-DT – Date of Hearing Decision.
  • FILE-DT – File Date.
  • DDL – Digital Driver’s License Issued.
  • RDP-NO –Restricted Driving Permit Number.
  • ACC-DT – Date of Accident/Crash.
  • ISS-DT – Issue Date.
  • DL/ID – Driver’s License and Identification Card.
  • DISP-DT – Disposition Date.
  • EFF-DT – Effective Date.
  • DOC LOC NO – Document Location/Case Number.
  • ELIG-DT – Eligibility Date to Apply for Reinstatement.
  • GDL – Graduated Driver’s License for Under 21 Years of Age.

Tip #7: Not Every Entry and Action is a Stop

It is important to remember that not every entry on your driving abstract is necessarily a suspension, stop, or hold. An entry of “55” from the Type Action left-hand column is a supervision entry for example. That could mean that the Court Clerk reported to the Secretary of State that someone got supervision on a particular ticket.

Another entry could show that a person got SR-22 insurance. It is worth noting that most insurance violations (including accidents where there was no insurance, lawsuits where a judgment was obtained on the driver personally, and situations where the Secretary of State was made aware that a person was driving without insurance) result in a person having to maintain SR-22 (reporting) insurance.

Many entries simply detail the history of your driving record. An attorney representing you should go through each line of the abstract. However, they will often start with the “open stops” by looking at the “Yes” entries to diagnose the most immediate problems.

Tip #8: How to Find What Convictions Triggered a Suspension

There is a small trick which can help you figure out why certain suspensions on your abstract occurred. When there is a suspension related to court activity, the entry/action directly “above” the suspension entry will usually contain information for the court matter which caused the suspension (most of the time). Sometimes looking directly above the suspension entry will help you determine why a certain suspension took place.

Tip #9: The Difference Between a Suspension and a Revocation

Many clients have a hard time understanding the difference between having a “suspended” license and a “revoked” license. A suspension is usually for a set period of time. That means it will end on a certain date provided you pay your reinstatement fee’s. After paying the fee, the suspension is lifted. A revocation, however, has no set date and only ends if you take certain actions to get it lifted. Although a revocation may have an “eligibility” date, this is actually the date you will be allowed to ask for the revocation to be lifted at a reinstatement hearing, not the date it will be automatically lifted upon paying a fee. This means that, if you never have a hearing, your license will stay revoked forever. The majority of revocations are based on DUI convictions, but there are many other ways to get revoked. You could have your license in Illinois revoked for: drag racing, multiple reckless driving convictions within a year, leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death, perjury or false statements in connection with Secretary of State Applications, and the commission of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle.

Tip #10: Not All Convictions Are Created Equal

There are different types of convictions in Illinois. Some convictions are immediate action convictions, which will result in suspension or revocation of a driver’s license and/or privileges.

Other convictions are “points assigned” offenses which will result in a suspension/revocation of driver’s license privileges when three or more offenses are committed within a twelve-month period.  If a driver under 21 commits two or more “points assigned” offenses within any 24-month period, it will result in a suspension or revocation of their license. The action taken against the driver will depend largely on the severity of the offense and how many total “points” the relevant offenses carried with them (along with the driver’s past record).

In some cases, a single traffic conviction will result in a suspension of someone’s license. For example, a conviction for passing a school bus which is loading/unloading children when there are flashing lights or extended stop-signs coming from the school bus could result in a mandatory three-month driver’s license suspension.

You will be able to look at your driving abstract Type Action codes for these entries to see if you received points or not on your license:

93: Immediate Action Conviction – Bond Forfeiture (No Points Assigned)
94: Immediate Action Conviction (No Points Assigned)
95: Conviction-Bond Forfeiture (No Points Assigned)
96: Conviction (No Points Assigned)
97: Conviction-Bond Forfeiture (Points Assigned)
99: Conviction (Points Assigned)

Call & Speak with our Experienced Traffic & Criminal Attorneys

These are just a few tips on how to get started when reading a driving abstract. The attorneys at Sexner & Associates LLC are very skilled at reading abstracts, although others often may find them sometimes confusing. Hopefully, these tips will help you participate more fully in the process of consulting your lawyer about what to do next when it comes to clearing up your driving record. If you have any issues regarding a traffic violation, DUI, Driver’s License reinstatement or a criminal case, you need a knowledgeable traffic attorney to help you. Having a good traffic attorney will put you in the best position to get your driving privileges back and clear your record. Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC is available for a free consultation about your traffic matter and can be reached anytime by calling (312) 644-0444.

Written by Mitchell S. Sexner Last Updated : December 8, 2022