Are You at Risk of Losing Your License Because of DUI?

When you face a driving under the influence charge in the State of Illinois, there are two separate and distinct ways that you can lose your driving privilege.

First, the Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license by taking an “administrative action” called a statutory summary suspension.

Second, if you are convicted of driving under the influence in a criminal court, the Illinois Secretary of State will revoke your driving privileges indefinitely.

How Does a Driver’s License Statutory Summary Suspension Work?

When you are charged with driving under the influence in the State of Illinois, the officer will likely request that you if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is measured at or over 0.08 percent, or if you decline to take a blood or breathalyzer test after your arrest, your license will be suspended.

You may legally drive for another 45 days. During that time, you must request a hearing with the Secretary of State to contest the license suspension. After 45 days, unless there is a hearing in your favor, the license suspension goes into effect.

As soon as possible after you’ve been formally charged with DUI, reach out to a Chicago DUI defense attorney who can both represent you at an administrative license suspension hearing and defend you against the criminal driving under the influence charge.

What Happens at a Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing?

You’ll need to request a hearing to challenge your license suspension within 90 days of the DUI offense, but a good defense attorney will request the hearing immediately after they are hired. The issues most commonly considered at an administrative hearing to contest your license suspension are:

  1.  Were you arrested legally?
  2.  Were there reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence?
  3.  Did you refuse a breathalyzer exam or a blood test?
  4.  If you submitted to a test, was your BAC level at or above 0.08 percent?

In some states, an administrative hearing officer for the “Secretary of State” will oversee the administrative hearing. But in Illinois, that power has been granted to the judge overseeing the DUI charge. So, even though a Statutory Summary Suspension is not considered a criminal proceeding, the same judge will oversee both the administrative hearing and criminal case.

Therefore, it is important that you hire a Chicago DUI defense lawyer who understands the administrative hearing procedure, the DUI laws, and is familiar with the courthouse and judges.

Can you Refuse the Breath Test?

During the DUI investigation the officer will often tell you that if you do the breath test your driver’s license will only be suspended for 6 months. He will also say that if you refuse the breath test that the suspension will increase to 12 months as a result. It may seem obvious that doing the breath test is the better choice, but because it affects both the criminal case as well as the administrative aspect, it gets a lot more complicated than that.

The short answer is that usually a DUI charge on the criminal side has a bigger impact on your life than a 12 month driver’s license suspension. However, there are many considerations so we suggest reading our full guide to determine whether you should refuse a breathalyzer test in Illinois.

Were You in a DUI-Related Accident?

If you are a first-time DUI offender, and if you do not successfully eliminate your driver’s license suspension, your license will be suspended for six or twelve months. If it’s a second or subsequent driving under the influence offense within the past five years, your driver’s license may be suspended for one year or more.

Along with the suspension of your driver’s license, the Secretary of State’s Office can order the revocation of your driver’s license if you were charged with driving under the influence after a traffic collision that involved a serious injury or death.

How Will A DUI Conviction Affect Your Driver’s License?

The consequences for a criminal DUI conviction are separate and distinct from the administrative suspension of your license. For a first DUI conviction, your license may be revoked by the court for a minimum of one year (or two years if you are under 21 years of age).

For a second driving under the influence conviction within twenty years of the first conviction, your license may be revoked for a minimum period of five years.

Third and subsequent DUI offenses in Illinois are felonies, and the penalties for convictions are considerably harsher.

For a third DUI conviction in this state, the court may order a driver’s license revocation for a minimum period of ten years. For fourth and subsequent driving under the influence convictions in Illinois, your driving privileges are revoked for life.

How Are Licenses Reinstated?

After a 6 or 12 month suspension of your driver’s license, you can typically just pay a reinstatement fee and you get your driver’s license back.

However, if your license has been revoked, reinstatement is not automatic. With your Chicago DUI defense attorney’s help, you will need to:

  1. request a driver’s license reinstatement hearing
  2.  prove that you’ve completed any court-ordered alcohol or drug program
  3.  offer evidence of your financial responsibility (that is, legally adequate auto insurance)
  4.  pay any required fines or court fees
  5.  retake and pass the state driving exams
  6.  demonstrate that your driving poses no threat to the public’s safety

When Should You Contact a DUI Attorney?

If you’re charged with a DUI in the Chicago area it is highly recommended that you hire a Chicago DUI attorney. The sooner that you hire a DUI attorney the more time that gives them to file the necessary paperwork and prepare a strong defense strategy for your case.

A great deal of trouble – such as a license suspension or a license revocation – can often be avoided if your defense lawyer can have the driving under the influence charge dropped or dismissed or if you are found not guilty at trial.

If the case goes to trial, your lawyer may defend you by challenging the reason the police stopped you, by contesting the breathalyzer test or the credentials of the officer who conducted the test, or by proving that your rights were violated.

How Does Driver Defense Team Help DUI Defendants?

If you are charged with DUI, Driver Defense Team will bring your case to its best possible outcome. We have over 1,750 5-star Google reviews of clients raving about our services to back it up. If you are fighting a DUI or trying to have your license reinstated after a suspension or revocation, one of our attorneys can guide you through the process and fight on your behalf.

With a team of attorneys, legal assistants, and case managers working closely together, you will always be informed about the status of your case. Our commitment to communication is part of the reason that Illinois drivers choose Driver Defense Team.

Our offices are located in Chicago, Stone Park, and Villa Park, and we represent clients in Cook, DuPage, Kane, and Lake County, Illinois. If you face a license suspension, a revocation, or a DUI charge now or in the future, call us and put Driver Defense Team to work for you.

The post What Happens to Your Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest? appeared first on DDT Law Group, LLC.