DUI and Statutory Summary Suspensions
If have been arrested for DUI, you should have been warned by the arresting officer that your drivers license will be suspended starting on the 46th day after your arrest. You should have further been advised as to the length of your suspension. This particular suspension, called a statutory summary suspension, is triggered by either a failed breathalyzer test or a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.
For first time offenders, your suspension will last for 6 months if you submitted to the breathalyzer test, but failed by registering a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. A first time offender's suspension will last for 1 year if he/she refused to submit to the test. For subsequent offenders, the suspension ranges from 1 year for a failed test to 3 years for a refusal.
The basis for this particular suspension lies within the Implied Consent Law, which sets forth that by applying for your license and accepting the privilege to drive in the State of Illinois, you have agreed to drive free from impairment caused by drugs and/or alcohol. You further agreed to submit to a "reasonable request" for a breathalyzer test to ensure your compliance with driving under the influence laws. This suspension is a civil penalty imposed by the Secretary of State, not by the judge in your criminal case.
So what relief do you have? Although the suspension goes into effect automatically without the prosecutor's need to prove anything at a hearing or trial, YOU, as the defendant, have the right to petition for a rescission of your statutory summary suspension. You may do so at any time up to 90 days after your arrest. Once you file your Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension, the law requires the prosecutor and Judge to provide you with a hearing within 30 days. If they can't, your suspension must be rescinded. Because your suspension does not commence until the 46th day after your arrest, if you move quickly enough, you can file your petition and have a hearing before the suspension goes into effect. If you prevail at your hearing, your suspension is rescinded. That, of course, is the ideal situation.
However, prevailing at a summary suspension hearing is easier said than done, which is why you need an experienced DUI attorney from the moment you are arrested. Although this hearing takes place within your criminal case before the same judge that will handle the DUI charges, it is a civil proceeding at which you, the defendant, has the burden of proof. There are several bases for contesting the statutory summary suspension, the most popular of which are: (1) the officer's request for you to submit to the breathalyzer test was unreasonable; and (2) the officer did not properly warn you of your right to refuse the test and the consequences of refusing and/or failing the test. After discussing every detail of your arrest and the hours leading up to it, your attorney will strategically determine which bases on which to proceed to maximize your chances for success.
Attorneys Jacqueline Aldrich and Marlene Siedlarz are experienced attorneys in DUI matters, including statutory summary suspension hearings, in DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County, and Cook County. We will explore all of your options, including contesting the charges and the suspension, as well as negotiating the most favorable disposition for you. We understand that every case is different, and for some people, the suspension is more detrimental than the DUI charges themselves. We further understand the impact a DUI can have on so many aspects of your life, including: your job, family life, divorce proceedings, college, etc. Contact us today for your free consultation.