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Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Defendant’s Suspension Based on Officer’s Incomplete Report

On February 27, an Illinois appellate court upheld a defendant’s license suspension despite the arresting officer’s incomplete report.

Defendant Jaime McLeer’s driver’s license was suspended after he refused to submit to testing to calculate the concentration of alcohol in his blood. McLeer was arrested for DUI in January 2014. When McLeer refused testing, the  officer told him that his driving privileges would be suspended. The officer gave the sworn report to McLeer. There was no date listed beside the “Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation Given On.” Based on the missing date, the defendant petitioned the court to rescind the suspension.

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At the hearing on the petition, the  officer testified that because information was missing from the sworn report, the Secretary of State’s office initially could not confirm the summary suspension. Thus, the Secretary advised the officer to fill in the portion of the form providing when “Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation [was] Given.” The arresting officer amended the report accordingly. He then sent the amended report to the Secretary, but he never sent the amended report to McLeer or to the court. The officer confirmed at the hearing, however, that he gave McLeer notice of the suspension on January 26, 2014.

The trial court denied McLeer’s petition, reasoning that the arresting officer’s failure to fill in the portion of the sworn report asking for the date the “Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation [was] Given” constituted a defect that could be cured by amendment. The court stressed that evidence suggested that McLeer received notice of suspension when he was arrested. McLeer moved the court to reconsider, and the trial court reached the same result. McLeer appealed, arguing: (1) that the defect in the initial report required rescission of the suspension; and (2) that the defect was not effectively cured by any amendment.

Since the court rejected the defendant’s first argument, it did not reach the second argument. In denying McLeer’s claim, the court first recounted the grounds upon which a driver can petition to rescind a suspension. While most of these grounds are listed in section 2-118.1(b) of the Illinois code, the Illinois Supreme Court has determined that a defendant may also challenge defects in the officer’s sworn report.

Pursuant to Illinois law, a report is defective if it has insufficient information from which to issue a suspension, or if it was completed erroneously. If the purported error does not prevent the Secretary from confirming the suspension, the report is not fatal and the petition will be denied. Relying on Illinois precedent, the court found that the report was not deficient because the sworn report listed the date that the defendant refused testing, indicated that notice of suspension was served immediately, and stated that it was signed on the same date. From this information, the Secretary had sufficient information to calculate and confirm the suspension.

Concluding that the defect did not warrant rescission of the suspension, the court did not address whether the defect was effectively cured. Accordingly, it affirmed the trial court’s judgement.

If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation for those in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses. To learn more and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-829-8513.

More Blog Posts:

Illinois Counties with the Highest DUI Arrests, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, March 2, 2015

Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Defendant’s DUI Based on Officer’s Fourth Amendment Violation, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, February 13, 2015

Illinois Bar Association Seeks to Amend DUI Laws, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, January 7, 2015

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