Articles Posted in DUI

The Illinois Secretary of State can suspend or revoke your driver’s license for a variety of reasons. A license suspension lasts for a set period of time. After it ends, you can automatically regain your driving privileges after paying a reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State. Depending on the reason(s) for the suspension, there may be additional conditions before full license reinstatement such as completion of a remedial driving course.

In contrast, a license revocation lasts for a minimum of 1 year or longer depending on the violation that caused the revocation and your overall record of previous violations. On or after the termination date of your revocation, which is called your “projected eligibility date”, you will need to appear for a hearing before the Secretary of State in order to regain any driving privileges. These hearings can be complex and often result in a denial. It should also be noted that you may be eligible to apply for a restricted driving permit during the period of suspension or revocation. In certain cases, regardless of your projected eligibility date for full reinstatement, you may be required to drive on a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (“BAIID”) for a period of 1-5 years before being eligible to be considered for unrestricted driving.   

A conviction for the following will result in an automatic revocation of your Illinois driver’s license:

OUT-OF-STATE PETITIONS

ALL OUT-OF-STATE PETITIONS MADE BY WRITTEN APPLICATION INSTEAD OF AN IN-PERSON APPEARANCE WILL BE CONSIDERED INFORMAL HEARINGS – 1001.100(b)

Written applications by out-of-state residents will no longer be considered formal hearings conducted pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/2-118. Accordingly, these applications will not be required to be accompanied by the $50.00 application fee. Decisions from these informal hearings will not constitute final administrative decisions and, therefore, will not be subject to the provisions of the Administrative Review Act. 1001.100(b)(3) and 1001.300(a). 

If a police officer suspects that you have been drinking and driving in Illinois, they may ask you to take a breath test, commonly referred to as a breathalyzer test. The legal consequences of that decision can be significant.

With that in mind, there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer to the question of whether you should take a breathalyzer test when pulled over. Every DUI case is unique and involves a specific set of circumstances. What is important is that you understand both the legal implications of a BAC test refusal as well as the consequences of submitting to and failing the breath test.  It is essential that you know your rights under Illinois law so you can make an informed decision. You will have the ability to seek legal representation from a DUI defense lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, regardless of whether you take the breathalyzer test or refuse it.

What is a Breathalyzer Test?

You spent months preparing for a hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State to finally get your driving privileges restored after years of having a revoked license. You have done everything asked of you including the completion of your evaluation, treatment and classes.

Finally, the big day arrives and you appear for your hearing. As you walk out of the hearing room, you think everything went well. You eagerly wait for your decision to arrive. After several months of waiting and hoping, the Secretary of State has denied your request not only for reinstatement but has also denied you a restricted driving permit (RDP). You are devastated and confused.

The license reinstatement attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have represented thousands of drivers before the Secretary of State. A large percentage of our clients have previously had hearings either on their own or with another attorney and have been denied. As a result, we have had countless opportunities to review prior denial orders. Our experience tells us that there are many recurring reasons why people are denied driving privileges.

Illinois law has prohibited the expungement and sealing of DUIs as part of a longstanding policy. Past failed legislative efforts have primarily sought to make DUIs expungeable, which would affect the Secretary of State’s ability to track a driver’s DUI history.

In Illinois, a person’s DUI arrest history is significant in a variety of ways. For example, it is used to determine whether to charge a new DUI as a misdemeanor or felony, whether the individual is eligible for court supervision, and determine their eligibility for license reinstatement. If the Secretary of State were forced to delete such information from a driving record, certain laws would become difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. As a result, the Illinois Secretary of State has opposed past efforts to pass DUI expungement and sealing laws.

Now, a new legislative effort is underway, which has a chance at passage due to substantial support among legislators and a lack of opposition from the Secretary of State.

Being properly prepared for a driver’s license hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State is essential. Because of the complex nature of Secretary of State rules, it is important to understand the hearing procedures and requirements. Having an experienced driver’s license attorney by your side ensures that all aspects of the hearing are conducted properly and will lead to the best possible outcome.

The Secretary of State’s office conducts two types of hearings, formal hearings and informal hearings, for those seeking driving privileges after a driver’s license revocation or suspension arising out of a DUI conviction or summary suspension. In the majority of cases, a formal hearing is required.

What is a Formal Hearing?

The driver’s license attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have successfully represented thousands of drivers seeking restoration of their Illinois driving privileges. This includes drivers who live in Illinois as well as drivers who live in other states and cannot obtain a license where they live until their license is reinstated in Illinois. While there are a variety of scenarios, these cases often involve drivers who have had their driver’s license revoked after having been convicted of DUI (or multiple DUIs).

In Illinois, drivers who have a revoked driver’s license must request a hearing in order to seek driving privileges. In most cases, this is done through a formal hearing, where a hearing officer presides over the case and the Illinois Secretary of State is represented by a hearing representative. If the driver has a suspended driver’s license and wishes to seek driving privileges prior to the end of their license suspension, he or she is also required to have a hearing.

Often, drivers who have previously had a hearing before the Secretary of State and are denied reinstatement or a driving permit come to our lawyers for assistance in challenging the decision that they received. Typically, our law firm can help these individuals by addressing the issues that arose at their hearing. Our driver’s license attorneys are frequently able to obtain a favorable decision on their behalf after a new hearing.

There are a variety of possible consequences resulting from a second DUI arrest in Illinois. To a large extent, the penalties depend on the outcome of your first DUI. The majority of people arrested for a first DUI receive an automatic suspension of their driver’s license for 6 or 12 months depending on whether they failed or refused chemical testing. This is referred to as the Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension law. Additionally, many first DUI arrests will result in court supervision for a period of 1 to 2 years. If you successfully complete the conditions of court supervision (e.g. payment of fines/court costs, treatment, community service, victim impact panel, etc.), a conviction will not be entered.

However, in Illinois, you can only receive court supervision for DUI once in your lifetime. As a result, this means you face limited options on a second DUI charge. You will ultimately have the choice of pleading guilty and receiving a conviction (i.e. conditional discharge or probation), pleading not guilty and going to trial or seeking a negotiated plea to reduce the DUI charge, ideally, to the offense of Reckless Driving.

Criminal Penalties of a Second DUI

While jail can often be avoided for a first time DUI in Illinois, there are a variety of factors that help determine whether any period of incarceration will be imposed. In Illinois, DUI is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine in the amount of $2,500.00 plus mandatory court assessments. The sentence may also range anywhere from court supervision to probation. Jail time can only be imposed if you are convicted of the DUI offense. 

Penalties of a First DUI 

A first offender who is found guilty after trial or pleads guilty to a DUI may be sentenced to court supervision. Court supervision is not a conviction under Illinois law, meaning that a jail sentence is not permitted. In addition, if you comply with all of the conditions of court supervision, the DUI will not go on your public record. However, court supervision for a DUI is only possible once in your lifetime.

Illinois commercial driver’s license holders are subject to enhanced license penalties when they are charged with DUI. DUI cases in Illinois generally are broken down into 2 separate parts – the Statutory Summary Suspension (“SSS”) of a driver’s license based on chemical testing and the criminal charge for DUI. Either portion of the case can impact your CDL driving privileges.

These penalties are enforced regardless of whether you were driving your personal vehicle or a commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI. The legal limit while driving your personal vehicle is a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .08, while it is .04 while driving a commercial vehicle.

What will happen to my CDL privileges?

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