I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get a TDVL for those eligible. Illinois law allows individuals with a non-visa status to obtain a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL).
I saw a long time friend find himself in an unfortunate situation with ICE this week, all because he never took the time to get a TDVL.
When licensed drivers (including TDVL holders) are charged with a DUI, absent any unique circumstances, the charge is usually a misdemeanor. This means that the police officer arrests you, takes you to the station, processes you, and gives you the opportunity to post bond.
When unlicensed drivers are charged with a DUI, often time
they are charged with a Felony DUI. Driving under the influence of Alcohol without a valid drivers license is a felony in Illinois. When charged with a Felony, officers arrest you, process you at the police station, and then bring you to bond court for a Judge to set a bond. It is after the Judge sets the bond that you can post and get released.
Herein lies the problem. ICE doesn’t spend time at police stations looking for undocumented individuals charged with misdemeanor DUI’s. They do however spend time at bond court looking for undocumented individuals charged with felonies. When undocumented individuals pass through bond court, ICE often times will lodge a “detainer”, meaning the Cook County Sheriff should not release the individual until ICE has an opportunity to take him into ICE custody. Cook County is a sanctuary city and chooses to ignore these detainers. However other counties, including DuPage, Will, and Lake cooperate with ICE and will turn the individuals over to ICE. And even though Cook County Sheriff ignores the detainers, the individual is now know to ICE and ICE has information on where to find him. Including his home address, work address, and his next court date. Meaning, it’s easy for ICE to find him.
This brings me back to my friend. He never got his TDVL. So when he was arrested for a DUI, he had to pass through bond court, and ICE was able to identify him as undocumented. Cook County Sheriff releases him, but now he lives in fear that ICE will find him. All this could of been avoided if he just got his TDVL. Had he gotten his TDVL, he would’ve been charged with a misdemeanor DUI and bonded out from the police station without ever having to deal with ICE.
Get your TDVL. It takes a few hours and is a very simple process! Below are links for how to obtain a TDVL. You don’t need a lawyer, but if you have questions, call me and I’ll be happy to answer them.