You left the party a little late. You thought you had waited long enough after drinking those cocktails, but a police officer thought differently. After you got pulled over for blowing a stop sign, you were charged with DUI. Now besides being up on criminal charges, your license has been suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State.
If you are charged with DUI, it is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney IMMEDIATELY. Quick action on your part may be critical in getting the secretary of state’s suspension overturned.
Upon being charged with DUI, the Secretary of State automatically issues a suspension of your driving privileges for a period of 6 months if you took the field sobriety tests and/or the breathalyzer. If you did not take the tests, the suspension period is increased to 1 year. If this is not your first offense, the suspension increases to 12 months if you took the tests and 3 years if you did not.
The good news is that you are entitled to a hearing on the suspension. An experienced attorney may be able to get your suspension set aside on certain legal grounds. Did the police officer issue the appropriate warnings before you took the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests? Were you properly served a copy of your suspension? If not, you may be able to drive while your DUI is being prosecuted.
And here is where acting quickly may be key. Under Illinois case law, the prosecuting attorney must be ready within 30 days of your request for a hearing on your petition to rescind a summary suspension. If you make the request early enough, you increase the chances that the State will not be ready on the hearing date, greatly increasing the odds that your suspension will be overturned.
Please note, however, that winning the hearing does not make your DUI disappear. The Secretary of State and the Judicial Court are two separate entities, and you must deal with both of them. Likewise, even if you win your DUI, your driving privileges may continue to be suspended by the Secretary of State.
Even if you cannot win your petition to rescind your suspension, you may still qualify for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. (See our related blog “Illinois Driving Permits for DUI Offenders.”)
If you have questions about a DUI or other criminal or traffic matter, please do not hesitate to contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.