Chicago man struggles to renew driver's license due to 1963 DUI conviction, application name error

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Man struggles to renew driver's license due to 1963 DUI conviction
A Chicago man said he struggled to renew his Illinois driver's license with the DMV due to a 1963 DUI conviction and a name error on his application.

Illinois (WLS) -- A DUI conviction from 1963 has been keeping a Pullman neighborhood resident from driving.

The Illinois Secretary of State says the law finally caught up with him, but the 83-year-old Donald Martin says he doesn't believe he did anything wrong.

New data systems can catch old citations, and time does not erase them. In this case, it was an error that was 60 years old.

Martin reached out to the ABC7 I-Team because he wasn't able to renew his driver's license due to the decades-old violation.

He had been driving with this license for decades without any problems, but when he went to the DMV to renew it back in 2021, he was denied.

Martin says the DMV told him, "your license has been revoked since 1963."

They said it was due to a Driving Under the Influence conviction in 1963. So Martin, a 30-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, contacted the I-Team.

"They won't allow me to renew my driving privileges," he said.

Martin says, at the time, he went through required rehabilitation classes, stopped drinking and was issued a new license.

The I-Team contacted the Illinois Secretary of State and was told by a spokesperson that Martin never went through a required administrative hearing in 1963, nor did he pay his license reinstatement fee.

The Secretary of State said Martin instead applied for a new license as "Donald Martin", without his middle initial. His original license, when he got the DUI, had the name "Donald E. Martin."

The Secretary of State's office says its Fraud Unit caught the problem in 2021.

"I was told that I was denied because all those years I have been driving on a fictitious license," Martin said.

The Secretary of State's office told the I-Team that during a 2022 hearing to renew for restricted driving privileges, Martin, "acknowledged circumventing the law to get out of serving his penalty for breaking the law on the DUI charge."

However, Martin told the I-Team he did not create a fictitious license and said he did not circumvent the law.

"I thought I did everything that I thought as procedure," he said.

Martin says that after reaching out to the I-Team, he attended a Secretary of State Administrative hearing and paid his reinstatement fee.

"I will be proceeding to receive my driving privileges," Martin said. "I am so happy... thank you!"

Last week, Martin received his license and is back on the road.