When you are arrested for DUI, the Illinois Secretary of State automatically suspends your driver’s license on the 46th day after your arrest.  The suspension is not effective unless you are notified in writing and informed that you may request a hearing. To request a hearing, you must file a petition to overturn or rescind your suspension with the court within 90 days.

Once the petition is filed, the court must give you a hearing within 30 days of filing your petition or on the first court date, whichever is later.  If the state is not ready within that time period, the court may overturn your suspension.  To have the best chance of success, your attorney should file your petition as soon as possible after your arrest.  Therefore, it is important to act quickly.

At hearing, you have the initial burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that your suspension should be overturned. The grounds for overturning your suspension are limited to the following:

1) Did the officer arrest you for a DUI-related offense?

2) Did the officer have reasonable grounds to believe you were driving impaired upon a highway (public road)?

3) Did  the officer advise you that your license could be suspended if you refused to take field sobriety tests or to give a breath or blood sample?

4) Did the tests show blood alcohol over .08 or any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in your blood, other bodily substance, or urine resulting from an unlawful controlled, intoxicating compound, or methamphetamine?

Once your attorney presents evidence why your suspension should be overturned, the state can present evidence why it should not. The state may choose to subpoena the officer to testify, but if not, the state can rely on the officer’s official reports. See  People v. Sandoval.

Note that even if you are successful on your petition, your actual DUI charge does not go away.   Likewise, if you lose the petition but win your DUI, your license may still be suspended. The suspension and the DUI are on two separate tracks—one through the Secretary of State and one through the court.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Reference: See 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)


About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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