Illinois DUI conviction consequences are severe. Your best bet is to get a good Illinois DUI lawyer. In fact, you can speak with an experienced Chicago DUI attorney right now by calling us at (312) 466-9466.
The consequences of a drunk driving conviction in Illinois vary depending on many factors.
The most important one is whether or not the accused person has a prior conviction for DUI. Out of state convictions will be counted. Other factors also come into play, such as whether or not a person refused to take a breathalyzer test, whether they had a valid driver's license at the time of their arrest, whether anyone was hurt in an accident, etc. An individual accused of driving drunk while his license is revoked or suspended due to a previous DUI is dealt with especially harshly.
Our office must interview a defendant and discuss all of the possible variables before we can determine the full extent of the risks the accused person faces. Anyone going to court without this information may be in for a very unpleasant surprise.
One of the serious consequences of a DUI arrest is the possible loss of the ability to drive legally. The privilege to drive comes from the office of the Secretary of State. Without a valid driver's license, a person cannot drive. The Secretary of State determines who will receive a license to drive, and the Secretary of State will suspend or revoke the driving privileges of anyone arrested for DUI. This revocation or suspension is independent of the DUI Charge. In other words, a person may have their license suspended or revoked, even if they are found not guilty of the criminal charge of DUI. Defendant's who choose to ask the court to appoint a Public Defender to represent them should be aware that the Public Defender can only be appointed to defend the criminal charge and will not be able to fight a suspension or revocation of the defendant's driver's license.
Under Illinois law, anyone arrested for the offense of DUI will have their license to drive suspended 46 days from the date of the arrest, unless a court grant's a petition to rescind the summary suspension. The length of the suspension depends on whether or not the defendant takes the breathalyzer test, and whether he or she is a first offender. A first offender who takes the breathalyzer test and has a blood acohol level at .08 or above will face a suspension of six months. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1(a). A first offender who refuses to take the breathalyzer test will have his license suspended for twelve months. A second offender who fails the breathalyzer will receive a suspension of 12 months, and a second offender who refuses will receive a suspension of 3 years. It is important for any non-first offender to keep in mind that taking a breathalyzer test will shorten the length of a potential suspension, but if it ultimately results in a conviction, a revocation will occur, and reinstatement of driving privileges may last longer than the suspension.
Defendant's who do not wish to surrender their driving privileges should have their lawyer file a Petition to Rescind the Summary Suspension, or SS hearing. It is wise to file for a hearing as early as possible in order to have a hearing before the suspension goes into effect on the 46th day.
Grounds for an SS hearing are established by statute. 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1(b). They include not being properly arrested for an offense as defined in the DUI statute of the Illinois Vehicle Code of a Uniform Traffic Ticket or other form of charge; that the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of the vheilce while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or a combination of them; that the driver was not properly warned by the arresting officer as about the consequences of taking and failing or refusing to take the breathalyzer test; that the defendant did not refuse to submit to or complete the required chemical test or tests upon the request of the officer; that the defendant did submit to the test but the test was not conducted according to Illinois State Police Standards and did not result in a blood alcohol content of .08 or more, or did not indicate any amount of an illegal drug.
Under Illinois law, anyone found guilty of a DUI must undergo a professional assessment to see if the defendant has alcohol or drug problem. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a); 730 ILCS 5/5-4-1(a). In Cook County, that assessment must be done by the Central States Institute of Addiction, pursuant to Circuit Court Rule 11.3(b). This evaluation consists of a multiple choice set of questions and an oral interview. In addition, it is important for defendant to realize that they will likely be given a urine test for the presence of drugs or alcohol as part of the evaluation. Testing positive obviously increases the likelihood that a substance abuse problem will be found.
The answers a defendant provides are not a privileged or confidential communication. Therefore, we advise our clients not to take the evaluation before trial unless they are reasonably sure they wish to negotiate a plea agreement rather than go to trial.
The suspension of a person's driver's license can be an extreme hardship. However, not everyone wishes to go to trial, and not everyone who goes to trial wins. Person's accused of DUI may wish to consider a Petition for a Monitoring Device Permit. Prior to January 1, 2009, a person who's driver's license had been suspended could petition the court for a judicial driving permit to drive for certain purposes, such as work or school. However, that limited license has been done away with and has been replaced by a Monitoring Device Permit, (MDDP). 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1. This device requires a person to blow into it and the device determines if the person has alcohol in its system. The statute provides rules against failing to install the device, testing positive for alcohol, or tampering. Violation of these rules may result in loss of the limited driving privilege and an extension of the suspension of the driver's license.
To qualify, a person must be a first offender, over the age of 18, and have an otherwise valid driver's license. The court shall order the Secretary of State to issue a MDDP. At that point the defendant must have an ignition interlock device installed within 14 days of the date the Secretary of State issues the MDDP and shall specify which vehicle shall have the device in it. When considering whether or not to pursue a MDDP, a defendant is well advised to consult with an attorney regarding eligibility. As with the old judicial driving permit, there is a 30 day hard suspension during which the defendant may not drive at all. This period of hard suspension cannot be waived by the court.
Another important factor to consider is cost. The Secretary of State charges a monthly fee, and motorist must also pay an approved provider of the approved monitoring device. Having the device in your car does allow you to drive, but will also cost hundreds of dollars.