Did you know that you can lose your driver’s license just for being arrested for driving under the influence, even if you are not convicted of the crime of DUI?
Failing or Refusing DUI Testing = Automatic License Suspension
If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe you have been driving while intoxicated, you will be arrested and taken to a police station. Once there, you will be asked to submit to alcohol and/or drug testing, such as a breathalyzer test. If you either fail or refuse this evidentiary chemical testing, you will be handed a notice that your Illinois driver’s license is being suspended. This is an administrative penalty imposed by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and is known as a statutory summary suspension.
“Failing” drug/alcohol testing means that you tested over the legal limit for alcohol, THC (marijuana), and/or other drugs.
“Refusing” means that you refused to complete a breath, blood, or urine test (whatever the police ask for). If you refuse, the police can either accept your refusal or they can request a warrant from a local judge to do a blood draw without your consent. A warrant will probably be requested if you caused an accident while driving impaired, particularly if someone was injured or killed. For a first offense, the length of your suspension will be six months for failing or 12 months for refusing the chemical test. For a second or subsequent DUI within five years, your license will be suspended for one year for failing or three years for refusing.
How to Fight a Statutory Summary Suspension in Illinois
You have the right to contest the suspension of your driver’s license (625 ILCS 5/2-118.1). To do this, you or your attorney must, within 90 days of your arrest, file a petition in the circuit court for the county where you were arrested. This petition must state the legal grounds for challenging your suspension. A circuit court judge must hear your case within 30 days of your filing or on the first court date for the criminal charges.
At the hearing, the burden is on you and your attorney to show why the suspension should be dropped (the legal term is “rescinded”). Valid grounds include:
- Insufficient probable cause for an arrest on DUI charges;
- Improper arrest or issuance of ticket for DUI;
- Law enforcement failure to provide the required warning regarding the consequences of submitting to versus refusing the evidentiary drug/alcohol testing;
- Law enforcement claim that you refused testing, but you did not refuse. (For example, you tried to complete the breathalyzer test as directed but were unable to, and the police took that to mean you were refusing the test.); and
- Whether the test results actually show that you were over the legal limit for alcohol or other intoxicants.
If the judge finds in your favor, the court will order the Secretary of State’s office to rescind (cancel) the suspension of your driver’s license.
A Will County DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight Your Suspension
A license suspension is very costly: you must either not drive at all for six months or longer, or pay hundreds of dollars to get a “blow-to-drive” device installed in your car. If you or a loved one got a DUI ticket and driver’s license suspension notice, call an experienced Joliet DUI defense lawyer right away. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we will help you fight the statutory summary suspension as well as the DUI criminal charge. Contact us 24/7 at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation.