In Pennsylvania, until you are convicted of a DUI charge, you will ordinarily not lose your driver’s license. However, one Pennsylvania judge does require certain offenders to surrender their driver’s license without a guilty finding.
There are a number of DUI laws that are uniform throughout all 50 states. Illinois, like the other 49 states, makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater “blood or breath units” 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1) “Alcohol concentration” means “either grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath”. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(a)(5)
Blood concentration is measured by drawing blood from you body, analyzing the results and determining what percentage of your blood contains alcohol. Qualified medical personnel must draw the blood, and the testing must be performed in accordance with procedures that the Illinois State Police establish and publish in administrative rules. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(a)(1); 20 Ill. Admin. Code §1286.320
As an alternative, law enforcement may turn to breath testing. In this type of testing, you will expel air from your lungs into a machine. The machine supposedly converts the air in your lungs into an equivalent quantity of alcohol in your bloodstream.
The results of this test can lead to a DUI conviction.The testing procedures are regulated by State Police Rules 20 Ill. Admin. Code §1286.200
In most circumstances, you have a choice about whether or not to submit to testing. Some exercise the choice to not test because they do not trust the science. This is logical, as the blood and breath test both involved a number of procedures, and errors do occur.
In a prosecution for DUI, the burden is on the state to establish that the test was conducted in compliance with the applicable Illinois State Police Breath Testing regulations. People v. Emrich, 113 Ill.2d 343 (1986) It violates the Constitution for the state to require you to prove the machine was defective once you have cast doubt upon its reliability. People v. Orth, 124 Ill.2d 326 (1988)
Some parts of the Illinois DUI laws differ from the laws of other states. For instance, your driver’s license can be suspended before you have ever been convicted of a DUI. In fact, a suspension can remain in effect even if the DUI charge is dismissed or you are found not guilty.
If the police ask you to perform a test to determine your blood alcohol content and the results are .08 or greater, your driver’s license is subject to a suspension for a period of time ranging from 6 months to 3 years. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1 How long the suspension will be depends upon your prior driving record (“first offenders” receive a lesser penalty) and whether you tested or chose not to test.
A driver’s license suspension is not consider punishment, as there are no potential loss of liberty (jail) or property (fines). Therefore, it is a separate procedure from the DUI, which is a criminal matter. Consequently, even if you beat the DUI, you may still face a suspended driver’s license.
If you are convicted of the DUI, not only will you be subject to fines and jail, but you will also experience a mandatory revocation of your driver’s license. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(a)(2). Unlike a suspension, which ends automatically, once your license is revoked, it can only be restored with a driver’s license hearing through the Illinois Secretary of State.