When you are arrested for DUI in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, your license will be automatically suspended. The suspension does not start immediately, but kicks in 46 days after you are arrested. If you take the breathalyzer or give blood or urine and your blood/alcohol is above .08, your license will be suspended for six (6) months. If you refuse to take the breathalyzer or give blood or urine, your license will be suspended for twelve (12) months. The suspension is separate and distinct from your DUI criminal case and the lengths of suspension listed here pertain to a first time DUI offender.
Unlike the suspension, your DUI charge is a criminal case and just like any other criminal charge, you have the right to a trial and to insist that the prosecution prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The suspension or Statutory Summary Suspension is administrative in nature, happens automatically and is imposed by the Secretary of State. When you are issued a driver’s license by the State of Illinois and sign the form, you are agreeing that if a police officer asks you to take a breath, blood or urine test, you will do so. You agree that if you refuse to take these tests at the officer’s request, the State can suspend your license without a hearing or trial.
The Summary Suspension can start before you even have your first court date on the DUI charge, so it’s important that you contact an experienced, aggressive Chicago DUI attorney or Chicago DUI lawyer as soon as you can. Don’t wait until just before your court date to start looking for a DUI lawyer. An experienced, aggressive Chicago DUI lawyer should begin to fight your suspension long before your first court date on the DUI charge.
You have the right to challenge the suspension, but to do that you must file what’s called a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension. And you are entitled to a hearing in court, before a judge, on the issue of whether your suspension should continue or should be rescinded. The Petition is filed in court and served on the State’s Attorney’s Office. Once the State’s Attorney’s Office recieves your Petition, they only have thirty (30) days to give you your hearing. If they don’t give you your hearing on the suspension within 30 days, you will win automatically and your driving privileges will not be suspended. If you wait until the first court date to file your Petition to Rescind, the State is much more likely to have finished all of the paperwork necessary to give you your hearing and you will have lost a valuable opportunity to beat your suspension by the 30 day rule.
If the State is able to give you your hearing within the 30 days, the judge will listen to the evidence-much like a little trial-and decide if your suspension should be rescinded. Unlike the criminal charge of DUI, you have the initial burden of proof to show that either the Officer lacked reasonable suspicion to beleive you were driving under the influence or that the officer failed to properly explain the consequences of your refusal before asking you to take the breath, blood or urine test.