Illinois law makes it illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. The DUI law is found at 625 ILCS 5/11-501.
Laws are formally known as “statutes”. They begin as bills that elected members of the Illinois General Assembly propose.
A bill is initially sent to a committee that consists of a few members of the General Assembly. After the committee hears testimony for and against a bill, the committee refers the bill to the full General Assembly. Those bills that receive enough votes from the full General Assembly become laws, including the DUI laws.
The DUI laws run on two separate tracks. A criminal case is filed if you are arrested for DUI.
If you are eventually convicted of DUI, you may be subject to jail and or fines. Furthermore, your driver’s license will be revoked. 625 ILCS 5/6-205 (a)(2) Note that none of this happens until after you have had a right to defend yourself in a court of law, in which the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The second track involves a suspension of your license, known as a Statutory Summary Suspension (“SSS”). 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 unlike a revocation, which causes a permanent loss of your license until you have a driver’s license hearing, a suspension ends automatically when the time period of the suspension has run out. 625 ILCS 5/1-204
You will face an SSS if you provide blood or breath samples that result in a reading of .08 or higher, or if you elect not to provide a sample. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1 If you are a “first offender”, meaning that it has been more than 5 years since you were convicted of DUI, then the SSS will last for 6 months if you test over the legal limit and 12 months if you do not test. However, if you are a non first offender, you lose your license for 12 months if you test and 36 months upon a refusal of testing. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1
Unlike the criminal part of the DUI, where there must be proof of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the proof needed to establish an SSS is minimal. Moreover, the burden is on you, rather than on the state, to prove why your license should not be suspended.
The Illinois courts have held this procedure is constitutional. People v. Griffith, 153 Ill. App. 3d 856, 106 Ill. Dec. 723, 506 N.E.2d 430 (2 Dist. 1987) Courts have also held that punishing you in the criminal court, in addition to imposing an SSS, does not violate the Double Jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution. People v. Fasbinder, 278 Ill. App. 3d 855, 215 Ill. Dec. 538, 663 N.E.2d 1052 (4 Dist. 1996).
There are even some ways that you can lose your driver’s license due to an alleged alcohol-related driving incident even if you are not convicted of DUI. One of these is through what is known as an “administrative revocation” based not upon a specific law passed by the General Assembly which says if you engage in certain conduct (DUI, or high breath test or refusing a test), but upon rules of the Illinois Secretary of State, which is an administrative agency. If you are charged with, but not yet convicted of, DUI, and if there was serious bodily injury resulting from a crash, the Secretary of State may revoke your driver’s license even before you have been convicted of the DUI charge. 92 Illinois Administrative Code §1040.35
Furthermore, if you are involved in a crash in which someone suffers an injury, and if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, your driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of one year and you cannot obtain a hardship license. After a year, you may apply for a license with the Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/1-197.6; 92 Ill.Admin.Code §1001.420(i), §1001.430(i)
Finally, if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision and are injured, the police may ask you to submit to a blood or breath test. If you refuse or register .08 or greater, your driver’s license will be suspended. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(31)