The term “first offender” seems straightforward but Illinois DUI law gives it different meanings depending upon the context. For the Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) laws, it has one meaning. The DUI criminal statute defines it another way. And for someone seeking a driver’s license reinstatement hearing, there is another set of rules.
An SSS is strictly a driver’s license sanction (penalty). It happens when someone is arrested for DUI.
The driver will be asked to provide standardized field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, using a handheld device that is administered on the scene. There are no criminal or driver’s license consequences that flow from refusing any or all of these tests.
However, once these tests have been completed or refused, the driver can expect to be arrested for DUI, handcuffed, placed in a squad car and delivered to the booking station. At the station, the police will ask the arrested person to provide a breath test (or taken to the hospital for a blood test) , using a machine that is certified by the state of Illinois and operated by someone trained to do so. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2)
While in some states, refusing to take the test is a crime, that is not the case in Illinois. Either a BAC reading of .08 or higher, or a refusal, will result in a suspension of the person’s driver’s license. A suspension is a “pause” for a defined period of time in the license of the driver. Continue reading →