Articles Posted in Driver’s License Reinstatement

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Miranda warnings are heard in almost every television show about the criminal court system, and most people know that if you are placed under arrest the police are obligated to read you warnings regarding your rights. While a failure of an arresting officer to advise a defendant of his or her Miranda rights can result in the suppression of evidence in a criminal trial, the Appellate Court of Illinois recently held in People v. Norris that the same standards do not apply in statutory summary suspension hearings.  If you are charged with a DUI or are facing a DUI related suspension of your license, you should meet with an Illinois DUI attorney as soon as possible to discuss the evidentiary standards that apply to your case.

The Norris Factual Background

Allegedly, the defendant was stopped for suspicion of DUI. During the stop, he admitted to drinking alcohol earlier in the evening. He was subsequently charged with DUI. Due to his refusal to submit to chemical testing at the time of his arrest, the defendant’s license was subject to a one-year statutory summary suspension. He filed a motion to rescind the suspension, arguing that the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion of DUI and failed to advise the defendant of the consequences of his refusal to submit to chemical testing. The defendant also filed a motion to suppress statements he made following his arrest due to the fact the arresting officer failed to advise him of his Miranda rights. The court denied the defendant’s motion and allowed the arresting officer to testify during the license suspension hearing that the defendant admitted to drinking on the night of his arrest. The defendant appealed.

Evidentiary Standard for Statutory Summary Suppression Hearings

On appeal, the defendant argued that the court erred in denying his motion to suppress. Specifically, he stated that the officer’s questions during the traffic stop constituted a custodial interrogation and should be inadmissible due to the lack of Miranda warnings. In turn, the State argued that a Miranda violation was not grounds for suppression of a statement during a statutory summary suppression hearing. In analyzing the issue, the court noted that the hearing in question is a civil hearing, and was subject to the same rules as other civil hearings.

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A conviction for Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, results in a mandatory revocation of your driver’s license under Illinois law. (625 ILCS 5/6-208) For a first conviction, the revocation is for a year. For a second conviction, five years. A third conviction will lead to a revocation of ten years. And a fourth one causes a lifetime revocation.

A revocation is different from a suspension.  A suspension is a temporary hold on your driver’s license and it ends after a specified period of time. A revocation means that your license and your right to drive in Illinois cease to exist. Restoration of those privileges requires an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State.  (625 ILCS 5/6-205)

Court supervision does not count as a conviction and thus avoids a driver’s license revocation.  However, a driver’s license suspension, known as a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS), will apply even if the you receive court supervision or the DUI is dismissed.  The mere fact that you either refused the breath or blood test or registered .08 or higher is sufficient to impose the SSS unless the judge rescinds the SSS on the basis of one of the grounds set forth in the SSS law. (625 ILCS 5/2-118.1)

During the SSS, a driver who has not had a DUI in the prior five years is eligible to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) during all but the first thirty days of the suspension.  The MDDP is automatic and while it requires filing forms with the Secretary of State, no hearing is required. (625 ILCS 5/6-206.1) No MDDP is not available if you have had a DUI in the previous five years.

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New York state has implemented legislation that will require police to demand blood-alcohol tests in any case in which there is an accident that results in death or serious personal injury. At present New York law authorizes such testing only if police suspect the driver is guilty of DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

Illinois DUI law provides for blood tests in a number of circumstances in accident situations. If someone is involved in an accident and is taken to the hospital, standard hospital procedure is to draw blood to determine the proper course of medical treatment. The blood tests include an analysis for drugs and alcohol. This is known as a medical draw. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.4)

The results of the medical draw are admissible in the DUI prosecution as evidence that the defendant (driver) had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or greater, the legal limit in Illinois. (625 ILCS 5/11-501)  However, there is another consequence that flows from an Illinois DUI arrest.

Police will ask the defendant to submit to a breath or blood test, even if the defendant has already provide a medical draw. The results of this draw, or the defendant’s refusal to consent to the police officer’s request to provide a blood sample, will determine if the defendant will incur a driver’s license suspension and if so, for how long. Continue reading →

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The legal limit in Illinois for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is .08%. (625 ILCS 5/11-501) This is known as the Blood Alcohol Level or BAL.

It is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream.  Science shows that above a certain level, alcohol negatively affects a human being’s motor skills (reaction time, coordination and judgment) which are necessary to driving safely. The State of Illinois, and in fact all 50 states, have determined that this percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream renders them unfit to operate a motor vehicle within the State of Illinois, including on private property.

Upon believing that a person may be under the influence of alcohol, the police will ask the driver to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests (SFTS), which are physical coordination, motor  skill and multiple task tests to determine a driver’s possible fitness to drive. The driver will also be asked to submit to a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) by use of a rudimentary breath alcohol testing device.

The results of this test are not admissible in court as evidence of the actual BAL (625 ILCS 5/11-501.5)  However, they can be used in assessing whether the investigating officer has probable cause to make a DUI arrest.

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No longer would those with four DUI convictions suffer a lifetime of never driving again. Instead, Illinois House Bill 4206 would give repeat DUI offenders another chance to demonstrate rehabilitation.

A law that is proposed but has not yet been enacted into law is known as a “bill”.  Bills that are enacted become laws known as statutes. 

At present, the law on Illinois driver’s license revocations is based upon the number of convictions and in one instance, the time between convictions.  The meaning of the words “conviction”, “revocation” and “suspension” will be helpful in understanding the bill. 

A DUI-related suspension is a temporary license sanction imposed for a definite period of time.  (625 ILCS 5/1-204)  Once that time elapses, the driver is free to drive upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided driving privileges are not invalid for some other reason. It is a temporary “pause” in driving privileges.

The DUI suspension is known as a statutory summary suspension (“SSS”).  Being non-criminal in nature, an SSS is not dependent upon a conviction. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1)

A DUI-related revocation is the withdrawal of driving privileges for a period of 1, 5 or 10 years following a conviction.  At the end of that period, restoration of an offender’s driving privileges is not automatic.  (625 ILCS 5/1-176)  

Rather, it is contingent upon a successful hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State (“SOS”), Illinois’ licensing authority.  (625 ILCS 5/2-118; 5/6-208)  In other words, the license the offender held at the time of the DUI offense becomes void upon entry of a conviction. Continue reading →

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Every state has laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol (DUI). 625 ILCS 5/11-501 Each state also has laws concerning the consequences of a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction. The laws of each state vary substantially regarding these driver’s license consequences and what is required for a driver’s license reinstatement.

The fact of a DUI arrest alone triggers potential driver’s license consequences. Forty-six days after an arrest, the state will suspend your driver’s license for a period of six months to three years. A driver’s license suspension means that your driver’s license is temporarily put on hold.

A person who has not had a DUI arrest in the previous five years is known as a first offender even if this is not their first DUI. Those who have had an arrest within the previous five years are non-first offenders.

The legal alcohol limit in Illinois is .08. The test to determine this level, whether it be through breath samples or blood draws, is known as the chemical test. A chemical test with a result of .08 or higher is known as positive.

A driver’s license revocation occurs if you are convicted of the DUI in court. A revocation is a nullification of your driver’s license and driving privileges.

Those privileges are not just put on hold temporarily. To restore them, you must have an administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State.

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Regardless of a driver’s age, anyone in Illinois charged with Driving Under the Influence (or DUI,DWI or drunk driving-it all means the same thing) is facing some potentially serious legal consequences. Those become more severe as the number of prior offenses mount. And for someone who is under 21 at the time of the offense, even a first offense has the potential to create serious driver’s license consequences under Illinois law.

The first DUI charge is a class-A misdemeanor that may result in a fine of up to $2,500. Furthermore, in addition to, or instead of a fine, the judge may impose a sentence of up to 364 days in the county jail. 625 ILCS 5/11-501
Aggravating factors, such as a death or serious injury, can boost even a first offense to the felony level and three to seven years in prison. In the case of death, the court may impose imprisonment terms of up to fourteen years under felony enhancement provisions.

A second but related issue involves driver’s license suspensions and revocations. A suspension is a less severe sanction to the extent that once the period of time under the suspension is over, your license is automatically restored upon payment of the appropriate fee, provided your license is otherwise valid.

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It is never a good or fun thing to be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (or DUI) in Illinois. There will be fines and maybe jail time, alcohol classes and legal fees. Moreover, there will be driver’s license consequences from an Illinois DUI arrest.

As the DUI arrests pile up, the driver’s license consequences grow more severe with each arrest and with each conviction. A rather extreme example involves a Madison County Illinois woman who has been arrested for DUI on four occasions in three years.

Supposing that for the first offense, she was granted court supervision. Keep in mind that only a first offender has even a chance for DUI supervision.

Anyone who has been: previously convicted of DUI; received court supervision for DUI; been charged with a DUI that was reduced down to reckless driving; or been charged with a DUI that was dismissed but who incurred a statutory summary suspension (SSS) either for registering a blood alcohol level (BAL) of at least .08 or who refused to take a test, is ineligible for supervision, unless they took a test for the prior DUI and a judge or jury entered a finding of not guilty.

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Illinois driver’s license law requires most individuals who wish to operate a vehicle on the public roadways of Illinois to possess a valid driver’s license issued by Illinois. (625 ILCS 5/6-101) Moreover, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, Illinois must recognize a driver’s license issued by any other state.

At this juncture, a word about an International Driver’s License is in order. The ones that you buy on the Internet are worthless and afford you no legal protection.

These should be distinguished from the International Driver’s License that the Illinois Secretary of State will issue to a driver from another country who provides proof that they hold a valid foreign license. In reality, what the Secretary of State does is issue the foreign national a temporary Illinois driver’s license that is backed up by a valid license from another country, which is what distinguishes it from the Internet junk.

Back to the matter at hand, let’s suppose you do not have a valid license, either because you never obtained one or the one you had has expired or been canceled for some reason. If you are caught driving, you are guilty of the offense of driving without a valid license.

While somewhat serious, a conviction for this offense will probably not land you in jail. Most prosecutors will in fact dismiss the ticket if you are able to obtain a valid license for court. And even absent that, you are likely to receive court supervision, at least for a first or second offense.

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According to the Illinois DUI law, anyone who is arrested for Driving Under the Influence could face a driver’s license suspension for a period of between six months and three years. (625 ILCS 5/6-208.1) Unless challenged by first filing a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension (SSS) and then succeeding at a hearing, the suspension is automatic if a driver is asked to take a chemical test and either refuses to do so or does so and registers a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or higher.

A “chemical test” is either a blood test taken at a medical facility at the request of the arresting officer or a breath test administered with the use of a certified device, typically located at a police station. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2) A preliminary breath test is a less sophisticated device that is not certified for accuracy and the results cannot be used as direct evidence in a DUI prosecution.

The SSS will begin on the 46th day following the arresting officer’s service on the defendant of a Law Enforcement Sworn Report. This is a paper by which the officer documents the fact the suspect was read warnings about the consequences of either taking the test and registering at least .08 or of refusing the test, as well as the outcome of the results of that warning (either a BAL reading or a refusal).

The accused has 90 days to file a petition to rescind the SSS and the state must set the petition for hearing within 30 days after the petition is filed. A judge, not a jury, decides whether or not to rescind the suspension.

While the SSS is in effect, the driver may be entitled to a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) that allows driving wherever, whenever and why ever the driver wishes. In order to receive these unlimited driving privileges, the driver must wait out the first thirty days of the SSS and then agree to use an Interlock device that, by requiring the driver to blow into a tube attached to the Interlock device, detects breath alcohol if any is present.

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