The DUI defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C., often find that many of our clients are both concerned and confused when confronted with the complex landscape of Illinois DUI law, which includes the statutory summary suspension law. As attorneys who have represented thousands of individuals charged with DUI and who are involved in the writing of DUI laws, we strive to make this complex area of the law more understandable.

In the vast majority of cases, a DUI can be broken down into two parts: the Statutory Summary Suspension of one’s driving privileges, which is a civil proceeding, and the criminal charge for Driving Under the Influence. In this post we address the first part of DUI: the Illinois Summary Suspension law.

The summary suspension law differs for those who are considered a “first-offender” and those who are not considered to be a “first offender.” Someone is considered to be a “first-offender” when he or she has not had a disposition for DUI, or a statutory summary suspension, in the five years preceding his or her current arrest. In other words, so long as one has not had a statutory summary suspension, pled guilty or been found guilty of a DUI in the five years preceding their current arrest, he or she is considered a “first-offender” for purposes of the statutory summary suspension—regardless of the number of DUIs and/or statutory summary suspensions they have had in their lifetime. If a “first-offender” submits to, and fails, chemical testing—i.e. testing of breath, blood, or urine—they face a 6-month driver’s license suspension. If a “first-offender” refuses testing, he or she faces a 12-month license suspension.

Under Illinois law, there are three classes of misdemeanor offenses: A, B, and C. Class A misdemeanor penalties are the most severe, while Class C misdemeanors carry lesser potential penalties.

A Class C misdemeanor in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,500 plus any mandatory court costs. The defendant may be placed on a period of court supervision, conditional discharge or probation for up to 2-years. Specific sentencing guidelines for Class C misdemeanors can be found under Illinois law 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-65.

Two of the most common Class C misdemeanors are Disorderly Conduct and Assault.

A relatively new Illinois law requires that before a driver with more than one DUI conviction can be considered for full reinstatement, he or she is first required to drive on Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) for a five-year period. Unfortunately, this requirement applies even if the person has already served the minimum period of driver’s license revocation and was eligible to be considered for full reinstatement.

The Illinois Secretary of State has chosen to apply this requirement to any person who applies for driving privileges after the effective date of the new law, January 1, 2016. Therefore, even if your DUIs occurred prior to this date, whether a month earlier or 30 years earlier, the new law applies to you.

A RDP usually can only be issued for work, school, medical reasons or for child/elder care. Therefore, a problem arises if the person is eligible for reinstatement, but is required to first drive on the RDP for five-years and has no need for any of these types of permits. A good example is the unemployed or retired person.

The DUI attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. are passionate about what they do and will provide you with both knowledgeable and aggressive representation in the courtroom. Our approach is different from other law firms because we focus on our client’s specific needs and create a personally tailored strategy for every case that we handle.

What truly distinguishes us from other DUI lawyers is our commitment to providing value for our clients. That is why we offer a free initial consultation to our prospective clients, so we can analyze your situation and advise you of your options before you pay any fees.

How can The Davis Law Group, P.C. defend my DUI case?

It may be possible to remove convictions for Illinois traffic tickets from your driving record.  By filing a “Motion to Vacate,” our attorneys are able to bring your ticket back into court and argue for a more favorable outcome (i.e. court supervision or dismissal). Under Illinois law, only criminal charges may be eligible for expungement, not traffic tickets. As a result, the only way to clear a traffic ticket conviction from your driving record, is to bring the case back in front of a judge.

We are often contacted by clients facing a license suspension for too many moving violations. A “Motion to Vacate” may be the best solution to removing the entire suspension or shortening the suspension period. An administrative hearing for driving privileges before the Secretary of State is a more complex and lengthy process. Whenever possible, a “Motion to Vacate” is the preferred course of action.

We regularly hear from CDL holders (i.e. truck drivers) that need a ticket removed from their record due to severe employment consequences, insurance increases and/or license suspension. Handling this process for a CDL holder requires a similar approach.

A driver may be required to use a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), also known as a breathalyzer, if they have been issued a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) as a result of a DUI suspension or revocation. The Illinois Secretary of State has implemented strict rules under the Administrative Code regarding BAIID violations. Violations include:

  • BrAC reading of .05 or more
  • Failing a rolling retest

One question we hear often is, “Do I need a traffic lawyer?” While you may not be required to hire a traffic lawyer if you receive an Illinois traffic ticket, having proper legal representation is beneficial for a numerous reasons.

A traffic attorney can listen to the facts of the case, review the ticket(s) that you were issued, review your prior driving record and determine the best course of action. A knowledgeable traffic attorney should be able to tell you the potential consequences of the ticket and appropriate strategy. For example, minor traffic tickets may result in a driver’s license suspension either based on your past record or simply due to the type of offense. A traffic attorney should know the precise effect a ticket may have on your driving record and driving privileges and the best way to avoid any negative consequences.

Under the right circumstances, if a legal defense exists, a traffic attorney can argue your case at trial. If the case is not appropriate for trial, an attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable agreement with the prosecutor. An attorney will typically have the ability to discuss your ticket and any mitigating circumstances with the prosecutor prior to stepping in front of a judge.

It can take, on average, 10-14 weeks to receive a restricted driving permit (RDP)/hardship license from the date of your administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. There is not only a waiting period before the hearing is scheduled (for a formal hearing), but there is a waiting period to receive a decision from the Illinois Secretary of State after the hearing is held, and it takes additional time to receive the physical permit. It is a long and complex process that must be handled properly step-by-step.

In-person formal hearings are scheduled approximately 60 days after the date of request. After a formal hearing is held, the Illinois Secretary of State has 90 days to issue a decision. Decisions often do not take the full 90 days to be issued.

Drivers do not have to file a request for an informal hearing. Informal hearings are available during regular business hours on a walk-in basis. The Illinois Secretary of State does not have a time limit to issue a decision for an RDP at an informal hearing. You can expect to wait anywhere between 6-12 weeks for a decision.

A Class B misdemeanor in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of up to 6 months (180 days) imprisonment in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,500 plus any mandatory court costs. The defendant may be placed on a period of court supervision, conditional discharge or probation for a maximum of 2 years. Sentencing guidelines for a Class B misdemeanor can be found under Illinois law 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-60.

Speeding 26 to 34 mph over the posted speed limit is one of the most common Class B misdemeanor offenses in Illinois. This offense is also referred to as aggravated speeding, excessive speeding or misdemeanor speeding. Overall, Class B misdemeanors are actually far less common than Class A misdemeanors in Illinois.

Although Class B misdemeanors are not as severe as Class A misdemeanors or felony offenses, they are still criminal charges carrying serious potential consequences. Any criminal conviction on your record may have long term consequences on your personal or professional life.

Drivers under 21 years old will have their driver’s license suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State if they receive two traffic ticket convictions within a period of two years (24 months). Illinois law holds drivers younger than 21 years old to a higher standard than other drivers.

Primarily, convictions for moving violations under the Illinois Vehicle Code count toward a license suspension. The offense does not need to occur within the State of Illinois. Out-of-state traffic tickets received by the driver may also be reported back to Illinois and used by the Secretary of State to impose a license suspension.

It is important to note that the Illinois Secretary of State uses the date the traffic ticket was issued, not the date that the conviction was entered to determine if the offenses occurred within the 24-month time period.

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