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Driver’s license hearings formal versus informal

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.

No hearing is required to obtain an MDDP. However, this permit is only available to drivers that have not been arrested for DUI in the five years before the current arrest. Anyone who has been arrested for DUI during the previous five years is ineligible to drive even on a restricted basis.

A person who is issued an MDDP but is convicted of the underlying DUI while the MDDP was in effect will receive an MDDP cancellation and will be required to have a formal hearing even if there is only one DUI. If a driver with a DUI in the last five years is convicted of the new DUI, that person may request a hearing for a restricted driver’s license but only after the SSS period has run out. In most situations, a formal hearing will be required.

Related posts:

Under what DUI situations is the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required in Illinois? February 1, 2003, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg
Some question reliability of the Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) May 19, 2010, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg.

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