In Illinois, if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol then your license can and likely will be suspended. Generally, your license will be suspended for six months if you took a breathalyzer test and blew a .08 or above. Alternatively, if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer then your license will be suspended for one year.
There are strategies an attorney can use to help you get your license back after a DUI.
Once you are arrested for DUI, the police officers will give you a document called the "law enforcement sworn report". This document will also be sent to the Secretary of State and will be used to suspend your license. Your license will be suspended 46 days after your date of arrest.
Having your license is very important and losing it can severely affect your ability to work or take care of your family. There are several ways that a DUI attorney can help you get your license reinstated.
How to Get Your License Back: a Pitch for a Plea
The first way you can get your license back is to bargain with the prosecutor. This is commonly referred to as a ‘’pitch for a plea’’. What that means is you agree to plead guilty to the DUI charge and the prosecutor agrees to give you your license back. The downside obviously is that you must agree that you were driving drunk but depending on your circumstances and the strength of your case, it may be the best option for you.
Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension
The second way to get your license back is to ask the judge to have a hearing. In Illinois, once you are arrested, you have 90 days to file what is called a ‘’Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension’’. For those of you who do not understand lawyer gibberish basically, that means you are asking the judge to have a hearing to get your license back. There are five separate ways (grounds) you can ask for the hearing.
1: I was not Properly Placed Under Arrest for DUI
The first ground for rescission of the statutory summary suspension is that you were not properly placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. What you are basically telling the court here is that you were never placed under arrest and therefore you cannot be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. To put it simply, no arrest no test.
2: There were no Reasonable Grounds to Believe You were Drunk
The second ground for rescission of statutory summary suspension is that there were no reasonable grounds for the police officer to believe that you were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. What you are telling the Judge here is that once you were pulled over, the police officer had no good reason to believe you were drinking. Imagine if a police officer could pull you over for speeding and without any evidence of alcohol, he could just ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Essentially you are telling the judge that there was not enough evidence for the officer to believe that an investigation for a DUI should have been conducted.
3: The Police Officer did not Properly Warn me of my Suspension
The third ground for a recession of the statutory summary suspension is that you were not properly warned that refusing to take the test would result in a suspension of your license, or that if you submitted to a breathalyzer test and blew a .08 or above you would be suspended. Basically what you are telling the judge here is that you were not warned by the police officer that you could lose your license in the first place, which is required by law. If a police officer does not give you a proper warning that your license is subject to suspension, you are entitled to get your license back.
4: I Took a Chemical Breath Test and Passed
The fourth ground for recession of the statutory summary suspension is you took a chemical breath test and the results of that test did not indicate a .08 or above. This ground is basically telling the judge that you were pulled over for a DUI investigation and that you took a breathalyzer and you blew under a .08 and therefore you should not have lost your license for DUI.
5: I did not Refuse to Take the Breath Test
The fifth ground for recession of the statutory summary suspension is that you did not refuse to submit to or complete the chemical tests or standardized field sobriety test. This ground is basically telling the judge that you did everything the police officer asked and that because you did submit to a breathalyzer test, your license should not be suspended. This ground is not often pleaded by an attorney because if you submit to all the tests that the officer asks, then he should not suspend you in the first place.
All of this may seem like a lot of information, but it is very important to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your individual case. These hearings to get your license back are very common and it can be the best way for you to be able to get your license back.
Remember that when you file a petition to rescind a statutory summary suspension there are timing restrictions. First is that you must file the petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension within 90 days of the first court date.
After you file, the prosecutor has 30 days to conduct a hearing unless you agree to conduct the hearing at a later date. It is important to remember that these types of hearings typically require some kind of testimony from you or a police officer and it is your job to prove that you deserve your license back!
Do I Have to Pay Any Fees to Get My License Back?
Another thing to consider is the reinstatement fees that you will have to pay in order to get your driver's license back. For a DUI related/implied consent first offense, the fee is $250. For the second or multiple offenses related to DUI, the fee is $500 for each subsequent suspension. The payment can be made online on the Illinois Secretary of State website.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and you need to keep your license back it is very important to file a petition to rescind a statutory summary suspension and then evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case from there.
Let Us Help You Getting Your License Back
At Ktenas Law we have helped countless people get their driver’s licenses back. Contact our trusted Chicago DUI attorneys today and let us provide you with the best DUI legal service in the state of Illinois.